NATO seems to have set acting as a global police force as its objective, going above UN mandates in the midst of growing global opposition to Washington’s attempts to impose its dominance.
With the induction of Finland and Sweden into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the expansion poses new challenges to the region and the world.
One of the first casualties of the growth of the Atlantic alliance on this occasion is the very concept of neutrality.
Finland adopted neutrality from 1948, in an effort to avoid any further confrontation, especially with the Soviet Union.
For Helsinki, neutral status meant decades of guaranteed peace, while Sweden made it almost a badge of honour for the world since the 19th century, allowing the country to stay out of many of the complications of World War II and Nazi fascism.
However, the concepts of pacifism that guided these two Nordic nations seemed to have been forgotten in recent years, yielding to drives imposed from outside the region, especially from the United States.
This, among other causes, led the Finnish government to increase military spending to 2% of its Gross Domestic Product, something that several European countries with more powerful economies did not do in the past, as in the case of Germany.
Sweden and Finland were frequent guests at large NATO military manoeuvres, with the participation, on occasions, of up to 30,000 soldiers from the military pact created in 1949.
In recent years, NATO countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Denmark have carried out provocations using fighter planes and warships in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the Black Sea, all along the Russian border.
But it is one thing to participate sporadically and another to assume the commitment of being part of NATO, with the challenge of hosting in their respective territories the troops and means of warfare of that alliance, which would now be made up of 30 countries, analysts consider.
Finland and Sweden could face dilemmas with their non-nuclear status, in case the allies of the military pact decide to place weapons of mass destruction with them as part of the growing siege that forms around Russia, estimate experts quoted by the Russian daily Izvestia. The internal controversy within the aforementioned countries, which have a long history of anti-war movements, could be one of the causes that led their governments to avoid a referendum on joining NATO and replace it with a mere parliamentary vote, suggests the newspaper.
The entry of Finland and Sweden, who made their decision in the midst of a military operation in Ukraine launched last February by Russia, would increase the border to be shared by NATO with the Eurasian giant from the current 1,215 kilometres to 2,600 km, more than double what it was.
The challenge would not only be for Moscow, which has already announced the need to create units to reinforce its northern border in the event of entry by its Nordic neighbours, but also for NATO itself, which will assume new areas at risk of confrontation (including nuclear) with Russia.
On the other hand, the path to the induction of the aforementioned nations will not be straightforward, considering Turkey’s position of making prior demands before giving its consent for them to join.
Ankara considers that Sweden and Finland are havens for the refuge of Kurdish leaders and members of their armed formations, which are considered terrorists by the Eurasian country, although this does not precisely coincide with the opinions of the rest of the world.
In 2019, Helsinki and Stockholm joined the arms embargo on Turkey in retaliation for the Turkish army’s attacks on Kurdish armed groups in northern Syria, although in that case few made reference to the need to respect Syria’s own territorial integrity. The Turkish case joins the already existing rivalries and differences between NATO members. Greece recently protested the Turkish military presence in an area that Athens considers to be part of its zone of economic responsibility in the Mediterranean Sea.
For its part, the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey for its decision to acquire Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems. (PL)
(Translated by Hannah Phelvin) – Photos: Pixabay