Now, with the new application by the two countries, however, NATO has called it as deepening cooperation with Finland and Sweden and expressed its satisfaction, but Russian authorities have publicly interpreted the measure as making enemy with Russia. In a situation as such, the question crossed into one’s mind that basically what is the reason for raising such an application by Sweden and Finland? And what will be the strategic consequences of their application to join NATO?
To reply the first question, it must be said that although international media try to introduce Russian invasion of Ukraine as the only source of concern to these two Northern European countries and their decision to join NATO, and indeed, it represents a part of real puzzle too; but it is not definitely the whole truth. If we see the stage of major powers’ strategic games from a rather broader perspective, then we will realize that after the change of the U.S. national security strategy within the recent years, and the country’s change of approach as well as its twist of attention from the Middle East and the Persian Gulf to China and Russia, the effort to strengthen NATO and make Europe unified against Russia in order to weaken one of the two competitors, i.e. Russia, has been a top issue on the U.S. strategic programs.
Therefore, attention must be paid to the point that expression of willingness of the two Scandinavian countries to join NATO as members was not a merely an internal decision based on their security requirements but a decision that has been taken under the U.S. guidance and support. Signing a new contract by Finland to buy 64 F-35 fighters from the U.S. in February 2021 is a solid evidence to substantiate it. Based on this, if Sweden and Finland join NATO, the European Union will place itself against Russia more than ever, and a kind of overall pressure will be exerted on Russia as an agenda, and this is what the U.S. authorities are looking for; weakening Russia at the cost borne by its Alliances. Therefore, with NATO expansion and strengthening the military power of NATO’s European section, Europeans partnership to contain Russia will be increased and the U.S. can contain China with an upper hand.
To reply the second question; on the upcoming strategic consequences of joining Sweden and Finland to NATO. It must be said that this will lead to further expansion and strengthening of NATO, and thus tightening the siege of Russia, and consequently, security ambiance as well as tension levels will be boosted in the Northern Europe region for sure. Although Finland and Sweden do not have large population and big military budgets, but they enjoy having modern armies as well as optimized military industrial – technological infrastructure. However, due to their concerns about Russian threat, they have increased their military budget during the recent years. Finland increased its military budget from three to five billion dollar, and Sweden increased it from five to seven billion dollar after the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Therefore, the membership of the two countries will increase NATO power and its further comprehensive.
Russians have openly acknowledged the joining of Sweden and Finland to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a serious danger to them. Thus, in case the two countries become NATO members, in not a far future, we will witness a military and political confrontation between Russia and the West. Based on this, deployment of missiles capable of carrying nuclear warhead along the Russian border with Finland and other European countries by Kremlin, invading other Micronesia European countries that have common borders with Russia, halting the export or making energy carriers expensive as a leverage against European countries and of course, Kremlin’s effort to align and probably setting up a counterpart military pact are among some mechanisms that Moscow may proceed with in reaction to the decision made by the two countries.
Therefore, NATO expansion with new members will not maintain security and stability for European countries, instead, it will make them confront with Russia and turn Europe into an instrument to cater the U.S. objectives and interests, distort the political and economic development of the Green Continent, and ultimately turn Eastern and Northern Europe regions to a new hotspot in the global geopolitical map.