NATO entry of Finland, Sweden will lead to security dilemma, loss of autonomy for Europe
Published: May 16, 2022 11:29 PM
Nato expansion. Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

Nato expansion. Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

Finland and Sweden are set to apply for membership in NATO, their prime ministers said on Sunday. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a news conference on Sunday that he is "confident" that NATO will accept Finland and Sweden's applications to join the alliance despite Turkey's reservations over their membership. NATO's deputy secretary general said on Sunday he was confident Turkey's concerns could be addressed.

"It is a high probability that Finland and Sweden will gain membership in the near future. This is because within this US-led military organization, Washington plays a decisive role. The views of other member states such as Turkey are secondary," Wang Shuo, a Beijing Foreign Studies University professor, told the Global Times.

The purpose of Finland and Sweden to join NATO is to ensure their security. But there will be a gap between their expectations and results. Joining the bloc, Finland will become the newest border country between NATO and Russia. The 1,300-kilometer-long frontier between Russia and Finland means that this Nordic country will be pushed to the forefront if a direct conflict with Russia breaks out. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that Finland's bid to join the bloc was a hostile move that "definitely" posed a threat to its security. Moscow warned on the same day that Russia will respond to Finland joining NATO with "military-technical" retaliatory measures.  Western countries tend to anticipate that Russia, a country still caught in the Ukraine crisis, may not have the spare capacity to take concrete actions against Finland and Sweden, however, it cannot rule out the possibility of Russia's specific military measures against the two Nordic countries. In that case, they lose more than gain.

It can be concluded that NATO entry will drag the two countries into a security dilemma. They want to pursue a safer environment, but in the end, it will turn more insecure.

Furthermore, NATO membership will trigger Finland and Sweden, especially the former, to lose their autonomy in their relations with Russia. After joining NATO, can the country continue to determine its Russia policy out of its own national interests? When Finland and Sweden become official members of the bloc, they will have to manage their relations with Russia passively according to the US rather than actively based on their own interests.

Europe will pay the price as well. With two more European countries joining the military bloc, efforts of European defense integration will be undermined, which is detrimental to the continent's pursuit of strategic autonomy.

In terms of why Finland and Sweden, two Nordic countries discarded their neutral stance, apart from their lack of confidence in their own as well as the EU's security capabilities and historical reasons, Washington has played a big role. "Since the Ukraine crisis, the US has repeatedly hyped Russia's menace. Washington seems to have turned joining NATO into a political correctness through hype. The US is trying to drag the whole Europe into the Ukraine crisis," Wang noted.

Washington is exploiting the Ukraine crisis to serve its own interests. The country has benefited a lot from the crisis, politically and economically. One of them is to bring Europe back under US control and subject to US' global interests. When more European countries tie closely with the US for security interests, as an exchange, the continent will tend to compromise with the US on other fields, despite their reluctance. This is the result Washington wants to see and it only uses Europe as a pawn to serve its hegemonic strategy.