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Opinion
Emma Ashford

NATO Should Think Twice Before Accepting Finland and Sweden

Neither nation is in fear of a Russian invasion, and they may just free-ride off US security like other Europeans.

One-way to Brussels?

One-way to Brussels?

Photographer: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

One of the ironies of Russia’s war against Ukraine — ostensibly fought to prevent that nation from joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization — has been its impact on two of Europe’s traditionally neutral states, Finland and Sweden. On May 18, just 84 days after the invasion, Swedish and Finnish ambassadors handed over applications to join NATO in a public ceremony at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.

“This is a historic moment which we must seize,” said Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. “You are our closest partners, and your membership in NATO will increase our shared security.” It seems likely that their applications will be swiftly approved, and NATO will soon grow to a 32 member states.