Finland Officially Joins NATO, Ukraine Expected to Make Membership Push Next
As my colleague Streiff mentioned yesterday, today marks the day Finland officially joins NATO. The multi-national alliance is 74 years old as of today, and the addition of Finland, as well as a possible addition of Sweden soon, significantly expands the borders of the alliance in eastern Europe, posing a threat to Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s expansion efforts.
As Streiff noted in his analysis on Monday:
Finland’s path to NATO membership was cleared on Friday when Hungary’s parliament voted in favor. Many of Putin’s friends had counted on Hungarian President Viktor Orban to block Finland because of his supposed subservience to Putin (Hungary’s Viktor Orban Clears the Way for Finland to Join NATO in a Matter of Months). Instead, the 182-6 vote clearly demonstrated the breadth of support for Finland’s accession. The Russians hoped that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would prevent the last domino from falling. But hope is not a method, and on Friday, he gave his blessing to a 276-0 vote by the National Assembly. Erdogan had vetoed the joint accession of Sweden and Finland over Sweden’s refusal to extradite political enemies of Erdogan to Turkey (Finland and Sweden Prepare to Join NATO as Turkey’s Erdogan Withdraws His Veto).
The invasion of Ukraine has opened the eyes of several European nations neighboring Russia to the fact that Putin has been acting rashly and aggressively of late, and has driven the normally neutral nations of Finland and Sweden to want to joint the alliance for their own safety.
In other words, Putin did this to himself, as you can see here.
LOL, dumbass. LMAO: pic.twitter.com/2lKnXVIS7T
— NeverTweet (@LOLNeverTweet) April 4, 2023
But this move also opens up another opportunity for Ukraine to push aggressively to join NATO. The Wall Street Journal noted this morning that Ukraine is going to be launching a new offensive against Russia in the coming weeks and that will coincide with increased pressure from Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. At this time, however, it looks like NATO will continue to resist such a move.
Ukraine’s push to join the alliance is likely to gain intensity if Kyiv achieves gains against Russian forces in an offensive that is expected in the coming weeks. Kyiv’s military is alone among modern European armed forces not just in facing a large-scale Russian assault but also in inflicting grave damage on Moscow’s troops. Ukrainians say this earns them the right to a seat at NATO’s table.
With Ukrainian membership off NATO’s agenda, leaders are debating what sort of consolation prize to offer that displays support and encouragement without promising too much or handing Russia some kind of propaganda victory. Whatever package emerges at the summit in Vilnius will form the basis for NATO’s relations with Kyiv for months or years to come.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may ultimately be successful, but until then, it has exposed its weakness in a variety of areas – not least of which is their military, which has been unable to secure many major wins during its war. Instead, it has struggled against a country most assumed Russia would roll over.
But NATO doesn’t necessarily need Ukraine as much as Ukraine needs NATO, and any multi-national alliance that swears by mutual defense would risk immediate conflict if it voted to sign a member currently engaged in a conflict with a non-member nation.
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