When Europe holds its breath in the face of the escalation of the conflict between Kyiv and Moscow by the Ukrainian East, at war since 2014, the plans of Vladimir Putin they may end up rescuing, paradoxically, the enemy that it wants to distance at all costs from what it considers “the Russian sphere of influence”: the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Created in 1949 and in permanent crisis since the fall of the wall, the images of the evacuation of Kabul not only broke with a stroke of the pen the honeymoon with the electorate of the US president, Joe Biden, after his victory over Trump (who threatened to withdraw Washington if the capitals did not comply with the objective of 2% of spending on GDP in Defense) but dealt a new blow to the credibility and usefulness of NATO for the security of the West.
Half a year after taking Afghanistan by the Taliban, in Europe and on the other side of the Atlantic there is already talk of the ‘Putin effect’ and how the crisis between Ukraine and Russia can even strengthen the Alliance with the integration of Sweden -which in recent years has increased its military spending and re-established compulsory military service-, and Finland -which shares a border and decades of difficult relations with Russia-.
Despite their historical neutrality, since their entry into the EU (1995) and especially in the last decade, Finland and Sweden have reinforced their cooperation with the Alliance -allowing their troops to cross their territory in times of crisis or for military maneuvers- without breaking with Moscow. However, Russia’s “military build-up” along its border with Ukraine and hostile rhetoric from Moscow may spell the end of the delicate balance between these two Nordic countries.
Accompanied by the Foreign Ministers of Finland and Sweden, Pekka Haavisto y Ann Linde, respectively, the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenbergyesterday highlighted the importance and closeness of its Nordic partners: «The worsening of the situation in Europe makes NATO’s cooperation and dialogue with Finland and Sweden even more important» .
A few days ago, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blink, who advocated reinforcing the defensive role of the Alliance, stressed that one of the things that most caught his attention is that “Russia’s actions have precipitated exactly what President Putin says he wants to avoid.”
The Swedish minister was “very concerned” about Russia’s intentions towards Ukraine and its “aggressive rhetoric” when highlighting the importance of its joint meeting with Finland and NATO.
As highlighted by the
british daily FT, the debate revolves not only around what the entry of Sweden and Finland could mean for NATO’s health, but about what they can contribute to the military alliance.
The annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 and the advances of the Kremlin’s agenda seem to force NATO to modernize in record time or die of inaction after the end of the Cold War.