NATO was a target for other countries that were interested in joining after the Russian invasion. Sweden and Finland were key players.
The U.S. Senate voted 95-1 to approve the admission of both Scandinavian nations to NATO’s list. This is the largest expansion of NATO in almost 20 years. There are still about half a dozen countries that need to be approved by the U.S. after this approval.
Officials from NATO approved the efforts of the two countries to join the alliance last week. They are now in the final phase of NATO membership, which requires approval from all member countries’ legislatures.
According to NATO’s website, more than 20 countries have approved Sweden and Finland joining NATO. Just over half a dozen countries are left after the U.S. approval.
The addition of Sweden and Finland to NATO enjoys broad bipartisan support from the U.S. Congress. This Congress has been eager to rebuke Russia since the start of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal war against Ukraine. In recent months, Congress approved numerous military aid packages for Ukraine.
Republican U.S. Senator Josh from Missouri was the only dissenting vote. Rand Paul, Kentucky senator, voted “present.” Hawley, who argued that the U.S. should focus on China and not European affairs, voted against the resolution. He explains why he believes it encourages the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
To stop further Russian aggression in Europe, Sweden and Finland want to join NATO. This is understandable considering their security needs and location. America’s greatest foreign foe doesn’t hover over Europe. It is in Asia. This is the People’s Republic of China. The truth is that the United States cannot resist Chinese imperialism when it comes down to it. The American expansion of its security commitments to Europe would only make the problem worse and America less secure.
It is important to be clear that America should not abandon NATO. It’s time for Europe’s allies to do more. They must also take greater responsibility for Europe’s conventional defense by investing in their militaries. In 2006, NATO members pledged to spend 2 percent of their GDP on national defense. It should be much higher. The United States spends much more on defense than it does for its citizens. Yet, many NATO members have yet to meet even this minimum commitment.
However, Republican colleagues Mitch McConnell & Tom Cotton mocked Hawley’s vote.
The U.S. has contributed a substantial amount to the war effort against Ukraine and more are expected. Although Hawley and many other conservatives have criticized U.S. spending in Ukraine, most Republicans supported NATO’s inclusion of the two new members.