While Russia appears to be ready to nab the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics from the rest of Ukraine, Western elites are looking for ways to bolster the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
One way they’re attempting to expand NATO’s reach is by adding Finland and Sweden into its fold. According to reports from media outlets based in Finland and Sweden earlier this week, both of the Scandinavian countries have agreed to apply for NATO membership in May.
Per a report by the Finnish newspaper Iltalehti on April 25, 2022, Sweden hinted that the two Nordic countries have indicated “their willingness” to become NATO members on the same day. Finland also agreed to join NATO “as long as the Swedish government has made its decision.”
Dave DeCamp of Antiwar.com noted that “The Swedish newspaper Expressen later cited Swedish government sources who confirmed the Iltalehti report.” Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson plan on meeting during the week of May 16 where they are expected to announce their respective countries’ application for NATO membership in that time frame.
DeCamp observed that earlier in April Marin and Andersson met up in Stockholm to float the idea of NATO membership, an idea that has grown stronger since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Following this meeting, Marin revealed that Finland would mull the concept of NATO membership and decide on it in “weeks, not months.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg believes that all 30 member states of NATO would be delighted to have Sweden and Finland within their ranks. “If they decide to apply, I expect that all allies will welcome them,” Stoltenberg stated in early April. “We know that they can easily join this alliance if they decide to apply.”
In addition, on April 25, the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet revealed that the US and UK had promised Sweden an increased military footprint in the Nordic region and “strong political support” from NATO member states throughout the application process.
Undoubtedly, Sweden and Finland becoming NATO members would heighten tensions with Russia given how Finland shares an 800-mile border with it.
Dmitry Medvedev, the former President of Russia and the current chairman of Russia’s Security Council, suggested that Russia could install nuclear and hypersonic missiles in response to this new tranche of NATO expansion.
Curiously, Finland and Sweden have been known for their relatively neutral foreign policy stances. In international relations circles, Finland has been touted as an example of how countries can operate as neutral actors when they have a great power as their neighbor.
The Soviet Union achieved a Pyrrhic victory during the Winter War (1939-1940), which prompted Finnish policymakers to re-assess their foreign policy grand strategy. During the Cold War, the Finns and the Soviets came to an agreement where the former would not join any coalition (NATO) against the latter, while the latter allowed the former to maintain its sovereignty and run its internal affairs without much external interference. In addition, Finland would maintain a strong military force (The Finnish Defence Forces) to deter potential aggression.
This process would be known as “Finlandization” and would form the bedrock of Finnish neutrality up until the present.
For its part, Sweden has been largely neutral throughout the 20th century. It did not participate in World War 1, World War 2 nor did it join NATO to balance against the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War. From the mid-1940s to the early 1970s, Sweden was developing a nuclear weapons program — a move that would have further enhanced the Scandinavian country’s security independence. However, it opted to not follow through with this program. Sweden and Finland now seem ready to formally become a part of the Collective West’s defense infrastructure.
Should the two Nordic countries join NATO, tensions will only rise between it and Russia. If Russia ends up winning in Ukraine, NATO will try to add the two Nordic countries as a consolation prize. On top of that, the Arctic has become a new potential geopolitical conflict theater, which makes it useful for NATO to have Sweden and Finland on its side in hypothetical conflicts with Russia in the polar regions.
Undoubtedly, Sweden’s and Finland’s integration into NATO will further crystallize a new Cold War that will be marked with massive defense spending and increased security competition. As a result of these new priorities, many Western nations will pay heavy social costs as their governments pursue massive guns at the expense of butter, thus leading to reduced living standards for the working classes in these nations.
That’s the zeitgeist of the present-day West, where Western elites are willing to pursue fantastical geopolitical campaigns to the socio-economic detriment of the people they supposedly represent.