Ukraine War, May 12, 2022: Finland and Sweden likely to seek NATO membership very soon

Developing. We are publishing this article as it is being written. Please check back for updates.

To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.

Dispatches

1) Carlos Torralba (Enviado Especial, en Helsinki), “Finlandia apoya el ingreso en la OTAN “cuanto antes” pese a las amenazas de Putin; El presidente y la primera ministra del país nórdico señalan que la adhesión a la Alianza es urgente. El Parlamento debatirá el lunes este paso, que cuenta con el apoyo de la mayoría de las formaciones y de la población,” El País, el 12 de mayo 2022 (03:16, actualizado alas 15:25 EDT);

2) Carlos Torralba (Enviado Especial, en Visby, Suecia), “Suecia blinda la isla de Gotland mientras acelera el debate sobre el ingreso en la OTAN; Las Fuerzas Armadas refuerzan su capacidad militar en este territorio del mar Báltico especialmente vulnerable a la amenaza rusa. El Partido Socialdemócrata anunciará el domingo si finalmente apoya la adhesión a la Alianza,” El País, el 11 de mayo 2022 (23:40 EDT);

UPDATE

3) Steven Erlanger, “After 200 Years of Neutrality, Sweden Weighs Joining NATO,” New York Times, May 13, 2022.

Commentary

It appears that Vladimir Putin will soon achieve what Finnish and Swedish proponents were unable to accomplish since 1949: Finnish and Swedish membership in NATO.

The decision to apply for NATO membership seems certain in Finland, and highly likely in Sweden, which has a 200-year record of neutrality.

It will be interesting to see one day what future Russian military strategists will make of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and its strategic consequences.

This development reminds one of how grateful Winston Churchill was that German military strategy was being led by “Corporal Schickengruber” (aka Adolf Hitler). Churchill is quoted as follows:

As Churchill said when Hitler escaped his bomb in July 1944: “…certainly it would be most unfortunate if the Allies were to be deprived, in the closing phases of the struggle, of that form of warlike genius by which Corporal Schicklgruber has so notably contributed to our victory.”

In Finland, which fought a war to repel Russian aggression in 1939-40, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a dramatic wake-up call, which produced a huge shift in opinion toward favoring NATO accession.

In Sweden, a similar swing in opinion has occurred, though not of the same magnitude. Sweden, once a great military power on the continent of Europe, has a much longer tradition of neutrality than Finland, going back some 200 years. This weekend the long-ruling Social Democratic Party will hold meetings at which it will be decided whether or not to seek NATO admission. The opposition parties strongly favor accession, and it certainly appears that the Social Democrats will also endorse NATO membership.

Several weeks ago the outcome was all but fortold, when the governments of Finland and Sweden reached agreement to jointly apply for NATO membership by the end of May.

Carlos Torralba, Special Correspondent of El País, provides insights into the swings in opinion and government decision making in separate dispatches from each of the two countries.

The Trenchant Observer

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