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Finland and Sweden protect each other


Entry into the Atlantic Alliance requested by the two Scandinavian countries adds 1,300 kilometers of border to Russia with NATO

The war against Ukraine has set off all the alarms, both in the EU and in the countries bordering Russia.

Putin's invasion of Crimea in 2014 was the first serious warning of the Kremlin autocrat's expansionist drive, but it also revealed the vulnerability of its bordering countries.

It is true that the situations of Finland and Sweden with respect to Ukraine are not comparable, neither due to historical tradition nor as a potential or plausible political-military objective of Putin.

A Russian attack on Finland would lack even the propagandistic rhetorical justification that Putin has adduced to legitimize the annexation of Crimea and the invasion of Donbas before his population.

Three months after the start of the war, Putin has achieved an effect contrary to what he was surely looking for.

He has encouraged Finland decisively and Sweden less quickly to apply for NATO membership and thus break the neutrality they have maintained since the Cold War.

If the process of joining NATO is completed, both countries would be protected by article 5 of the Treaty, which guarantees mutual defense in the event of an external attack.

Russia will thus double its direct border with NATO by adding the 1,300 kilometers shared with Finland.

For now, the Kremlin has cut off its electricity exports to Finland, while Putin insisted this Saturday – in conversation with the Finnish president, Sauli Niinistö – that abandoning neutrality is a mistake because there are no risks to Finland's security.

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The risks of NATO enlargement under the leadership of the United States, legitimately sought by both Finland and Sweden, as well as Ukraine itself, will also be harvested by Russian expansionism.

It will have secondary effects that accentuate international polarization and break the channels of commercial and political communication between two increasingly distant blocs.

The retrogression that it could imply towards past times or even the reactivation of a new cold war does not make a world any safer if it loses the protective network generated by multilateral exchanges and interdependencies.

Ukraine's defense against Putin's aggression and the EU's proactive defense of the invaded country must be consistent with a Western future that is more resistant to conflicts, better able to prevent and defuse them,

instead of increasing its brittleness with extreme polarization.

The rantings of autocrats will continue to be unpredictable and must be combated wholeheartedly, as the EU has done, but this war will intensify the protectionist tendencies that were already under way, which will not necessarily lead to a safer world.

If the goal is to promote peace and security on the European continent, the petrification of two political blocs again is no guarantee of future peaceful stability for the West or for anyone else.

Source: elparis

All news articles on 2022-05-15

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