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How Putin’s Hopes to Weaken NATO Did the Opposite

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If Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was supposed to weaken NATO and stop its eastward expansion -- one rationalization offered by President Vladimir Putin -- it seems to have backfired. Rather than exploit tensions within the 30-nation alliance, Russia’s war seemingly strengthened it, with Finland and Sweden, two close neighbors of Russia, seeking to join.

Founded in 1949 to protect Europe against Soviet attack during the Cold War, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has come to represent a fundamental partnership between North America and Europe based on shared political and economic values. The pledge of collective defense spelled out in Article 5 of the NATO treaty establishes that an attack against one NATO member is considered an attack against all. Membership has grown to 30 nations from 12.