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Biden Expresses US’ Support for Finland and Sweden in their Bid to Join NATO

Photo: NPR

The United States has offered its full support to Finland and Sweden as they seek entry into NATO, announced by  President Joe Biden. The alliance has been a foundation of Western bulwark since the Cold War. 

Biden, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson held a meeting at the White House Rose Garden. Biden said he is dispatching paperwork to Congress on Thursday for the applications from these two countries to be approved.

“Finland and Sweden make NATO stronger,” said Biden. “And a strong, united NATO is the foundation of America’s security.” 

The move to approve both nations’ appeal for NATO enlistment will be an atypical bipartisan success, with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell giving their backing.

“I think the United States ought to be first in line to ratify the treaty for both these countries to join,” stated McConnell following speaking with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Saturday. 

The two countries sought to join NATO after Russia attacked Ukraine. However, their enlistment is far from certain as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers Kurdish groups terrorist organizations and may dismiss any bid by them due to their backing of the said group. 

“We are following developments concerning Sweden and Finland, but we are not of a favorable opinion,” stated Erdogan last week. 

Biden seemed to agree to those worries when he queried the Senate to ratify the two nations’ application “once the perspectives of all allies are addressed, and NATO adopts the accession protocols.” 

Finish leader Niinisto addressed Turkey’s worries about his nation’s appeal to NATO, stating that Helsinki was “open to discussing all the concerns Turkey may have concerning our membership in an open and constructive manner.” 

He said that the discussions had started and would continue to do so.

Swedish Prime Minister Andersson described Russia’s attack on Ukraine as a “watershed moment for Sweden,” a country that has kept a policy of military impartiality for hundreds of years, even amid the two world wars. 

Andersson stated that she highly regards the bipartisan backing in Washington for her nation’s NATO bid. Like Niinisto stated, her nation discussed with all NATO members, counting Turkey, “on different levels to sort out any issues at hand.”

Biden addressed the concerns that expanding NATO might be fanning already burning flames in neighboring Russia. Putin is against this expansion because he views it as an attack on his country and its borders. 

“New members joining NATO is not a threat to any nation,” Biden stated. “In the face of aggression, NATO has not grown weaker or more divided. It has grown stronger, more united.” 

Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s employee and now the Center for a New American Security senior, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, stated in an interview with NPR that the risks Finland and Sweden may experience from Russia are not as extreme.

“I think that Russia is too bogged down with its war in Ukraine. And I think that’s exactly that calculus that Finland and Sweden have, that they see that Russia is distracted, and it gives them this window to make a move,” said Kendall-Taylor.

Opinions expressed by Portland News contributors are their own.