Sweden and Finland are joining NATO because Europeans can’t stay neutral

The Finns and Swedes have recognized that there is no neutrality when it comes to dealing with an aggressor willing to seize and destroy another European country.

By

Columnists

May 19, 2022 - 4:26 PM

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, left, and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin in Stockholm, Sweden, on April 13, 2022. (Paul Wennerholm/TT News Agency/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

Only days ago, Russian foreign ministry officials were warning Finland about “retaliation” if its leaders applied to join NATO. Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev spouted dire nuclear threats, and many Western pundits warned about the danger of further NATO expansion.

Yet on Monday, after top Finnish and Swedish officials announced plans to join NATO — abandoning a long history of military nonalignment — Vladimir Putin did an about-face. He said there was “no immediate threat to Russia” if Finland and Sweden joined the Western military alliance.

This reversal is a perfect illustration of how Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has boomeranged.

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