Eyes on the Atlantic Alliance

Moscow has already begun to cut off Finland’s access to electricity. Such was the Kremlin’s first retaliatory reaction to that country’s determination to join NATO. But Moscow promises much more.

There is nothing new in the desire of these two Nordic countries, Finland and Sweden, to be members of NATO. Since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, both began to strengthen their military arsenals, as evidenced by purchases of F-35 combat aircraft from the U.S., in seeking greater military compatibility with the Alliance countries.

It stands to reason that the protective solidarity these countries would achieve by joining would be augmented by nuclear capability, since within the NATO alliance, three nations are already nuclear powers.

Another element that should legitimately give Vladimir Putin heartburn is that, with the entry of these two countries into NATO, the Baltic Sea, with the exception of Russia, would be surrounded by Western military forces, a strategic inconvenience for forces commanded by the Moscow generals.

It is impossible to know whether Russia sincerely considers the mere expression of desire by Sweden and Finland to be a threat to its security, or if Moscow’s opposition to its entry is part of a radical political stance when confronted with Western military strength and solidarity on its borders. But it must be recognized that the stance taken by Russian politicians and strategists has been unyielding on this issue.

Russia has rejected the advances of the United States, leader of the Atlantic Alliance, for years, because it is undeniable that — rightly or wrongly — Russia has been surrounded by Western nations. A few weeks ago, I wrote: “NATO’s approach to the East began with Bill Clinton. In 1999 the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined; then in 2004, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Albania and Croatia followed suit in 2009.” The addition of Sweden and Finland would add fuel to the fire, but it must be acknowledged that Russian discomfort has been a reality for some time.

The issue on the table today is not only whether Russia considers Finland and Sweden a threat, but whether these two countries feel secure after having witnessed the spectacle of Russia’s insane intrusion into Ukrainian soil. Finland well remembers the invasion of its territory by Russian forces in 1939 and the ceding of 9% of its geography to the invaders.

The European press and analysts of international events — in all the languages of the EU — offer the assurance that the desire to join the Alliance by Finland and Sweden, the two Nordic countries that are not yet members, will represent significant change for them, as well as for NATO.

The truth is that NATO had been viewed skeptically for some time because of its uselessness and poor results. The entire purpose of the organization is to avoid conflagration.

It is also clear that, in these times, a redefinition of its tools, goals and objectives is a priority, over and above rejuvenation of the organization, after more than 70 years of existence and significant changes in the approach to security on the planet.

Russia’s conflict with Europe has highlighted as imperative the need for a strong alliance, capable of defending each of its members from aggression by third parties, with unwavering commitment to joint action in the face of threats — and with formulas of deterrence that really work.

About this publication

About Patricia Simoni 188 Articles
I began contributing to Watching America in 2009 and continue to enjoy working with its dedicated translators and editors. Latin America, where I lived and worked for over four years, is of special interest to me. Presently a retiree, I live in Morgantown, West Virginia, where I enjoy the beauty of this rural state and traditional Appalachian fiddling with friends. Working toward the mission of WA, to help those in the U.S. see ourselves as others see us, gives me a sense of purpose.

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