NATO expansion ‘not a threat’ – Biden
President Joe Biden on Thursday gave his “strong support” to the NATO membership applications of Finland and Sweden. He insisted that the alliance’s continued expansion “is not a threat to any nation,” a point that Russia disputes.
Speaking alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson at the White House, Biden announced that he would submit a report to Congress urging lawmakers to give the green light to including the two Nordic nations in the NATO alliance. Sweden and Finland formally requested admission to the US-led military bloc on Wednesday.
“Sweden and Finland are already among our closest partners on a range of issues,” Biden declared. "Today I am proud to assure them they have the full, total complete backing of the United States of America"
Praising both countries’ democratic governments and modern militaries, Biden said that their inclusion would “make NATO stronger.”
Biden added that “new members joining NATO is not a threat to any nation,” and that the alliance's “purpose is to defend against aggression.”
“We reject the bloody creed that might makes right,” he stated, saying in conclusion that “NATO’s door remains open” for other prospective members.
Russia sees things differently. The Kremlin views NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe – which Western leaders initially promised Moscow would never happen – as a threat to its national security. Furthermore, Ukraine’s insistence on joining the alliance, and the assistance Kiev received from NATO in recent years, has been cited by Russia as a key factor behind its decision to attack Ukraine in February.
In the West, analysts and top policy officials have warned for decades that NATO expansion would eventually lead to a war in Europe. Among these was George Kennan, a US diplomat and architect of Washington’s hardline anti-communist policies of the Cold War. Expanding NATO, he wrote in 1997, “would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era.”
Regarding Sweden and Finland’s entry into the alliance, Moscow called the move a “serious mistake with long-lasting ramifications.” Still, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated this week that Russia views the two countries’ NATO aspirations as less concerning than those of Ukraine, where potential territorial disputes “would have carried huge risks for the entire continent.”