US Senate panel approves NATO expansion — Analysis
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously backs Finland and Sweden’s bids to join the military alliance
It passed the resolution unanimously on Thursday. The move is bipartisan and shows support from both parties.
“A powerful alliance rooted in shared values, Sweden and Finland would only strengthen NATO and revitalize the backbone of our international security architecture in the face of Putin’s aggression,” the committee chairman, Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said following the vote. He said that this was because of the vote. “bipartisan vote of confidence, we signal that we stand ready to take the necessary steps to facilitate their accession.”
“I’ve long said that Sweden’s and Finland’s strong political and military traditions make them a perfect fit for the alliance. I hope the Senate will follow the committee’s lead and move quickly to pass this resolution,” added Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the committee’s ranking member.
The two Nordic countries’ bids enjoy full support of President Joe Biden’s administration and are expected to easily surpass the required two-thirds minimum for a full Senate approval. Biden, on his part demanded that the Senate ratify the measure “as quickly as possible.”
A consensus of all NATO members is required to include a new member. However, the new candidates are being challenged by Turkey. Finland and Sweden were repeatedly attacked. “guesthouses for terrorist organizations,”Ankara presented the group with a set of ten conditions they had to meet in order for them to receive its blessing.
While longtime neutral nations, Finland and Sweden scramble to join NATO during the conflict between Russia-Ukraine. Russia attacked its neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French- and German-brokered protocols were intended to provide special status for the Ukrainian breakaway areas within the Ukrainian state. Since then, the Kremlin demanded Ukraine declare itself neutral and not join NATO.
Regarding Sweden and Finland’s entry into the alliance, Moscow called the move a “serious mistake with long-lasting ramifications.” Still, Kremlin views the two countries’ NATO aspirations as less concerning than those of Ukraine, where potential territorial disputes “would have carried huge risks for the entire continent.”