World

Nato is no longer 'brain dead'

29 June 2022

9:12 PM

29 June 2022

9:12 PM

Finland and Sweden will be formally invited to join Nato today. Them joining the alliance will bolster Nato’s presence in the Baltic and make it easier to defend Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Turkey had objected to the two countries joining, regarding them as too soft on Kurdish separatists, whom President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sees as ‘terrorists’ threatening his country. But having received some concessions on that front, Erdogan has dropped his objections. There’s also speculation that the US will sell F-16 fighter aircraft to Turkey in exchange for its cooperation on this matter.


It is remarkable that Sweden, a country which has so valued its neutrality in the past, now wants to join Nato; and a sign of how Russian revanchism is changing the continent. Finland and Sweden joining will more than double Nato’s border with Russia, and both countries have modern, well-equipped militaries.

This summit will also see Nato move away from the idea of ‘tripwire’ – deliberately small – forces on its eastern front to a larger presence there. Previously, the aim had been to ensure that any Russian attack would bring it into contact with Nato forces, ensuring that Article 5 would be triggered. But now the aim is to have a strong enough military presence there to actually halt a Russian attack.

It was only a few years ago that President Emmanuel Macron was decrying Nato as ‘brain dead’. But the alliance now has a clear, strategic purpose again. Yet, ultimately it will need its European members to spend more on defence and bear more of the burden. This is the best way to ensure that the US, with its nuclear umbrella, remains committed to the alliance.

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