For decades, Sweden and Finland have held back from joining other Western countries in the NATO military alliance. For Sweden, this would have compromised its long-standing neutrality. For Finland, it was a more practical matter of not opposing Russia, with which it shares an 810-mile border and against which it fought the brutal wars of the 20th century.
but as John Henley says Michael Safdie, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (another non-NATO European country) changed everything. This week the two countries formally submitted their applications to join the military alliance. It is a move that has faced hostility and threats by Russia, but it is a move that infuses new life into a coalition that appears to be faltering. With defense budget cuts across Europe, Donald Trump’s unpredictable presidency and a drifting sense of purpose, the future of NATO was being openly questioned. Not any more.
So with the rejuvenation of NATO, is Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine wrong not only in terms of his short-term military objectives, but also a wider strategic catastrophe?
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