Russia’s military special operation against Ukraine, as many world political experts believe, was the result of Nato’s irresponsible policy of expanding to the East. 8 waves of expansion… Will the 9th wave be a tsunami?
A bit of history: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a military–political alliance of European states, the United States and Canada, whose main goal at the time of its creation in April 1949 was to oppose the policy of the USSR. Throughout the history of Nato’s existence it has expanded 8 times. It is noteworthy that during the Soviet period only 3 times and 5 times after the disappearance of the main antagonist in 1991. At the current stage 30 states are active members of Nato: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, USA, Turkey, France, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech Republic and Estonia. After the collapse of the USSR, the Alliance initiated an “open door” policy within the framework of the Partnership for Peace program intensifying cooperation with the countries of the former socialist camp.
The first post-Soviet expansion happened in 1999, a few days before the bombing of Yugoslavia, when Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic joined Nato. For the first time then modern Russia have voiced its position on the unacceptability of expansion to the East, but it was just the 4th wave. The next stage took place in 2004, when the largest expansion in history took place, bringing Nato closer to the borders of Russia. Once again Russia insistently stressed that it considers such an Alliance policy to be erroneous in the wake of ensuring European security. The sixth and seventh stages in 2009 and 2017 respectively were joined by the countries of the Balkan peninsula: Albania, Croatia and Montenegro. In 2019 North Macedonia was annexed, which, according to the Russian side, did not bring any practical value to Nato, on the contrary created “new dividing lines”. And so before the well-known events Ukraine was listed as a partner in an accelerated dialogue with the Alliance. Speaking with declamations about the supposedly neutral status of Ukraine Nato countries regularly sent their instructors and weapons to the country, teaching the Ukrainian army methods of warfare according to their standards. Russia has repeatedly stated its position on the expansion of the bloc and on Ukraine, but has been ignored. Russia’s last attempt to prevent an armed escalation was the demands for security guarantees that were put forward to the leadership of Nato and the United States at the end of 2021, but in response the West let it down. Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg commented on the Russian proposals, stressing that the doors of the Alliance “remain open”.
Who does benefit from Nato expansion? Of course, their main beneficiaries are the United States. The arms export market is expanding exponentially.
As they say keeping this in mind, ask yourself the question: who needs whom more?
In early April of this year Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announced her intention to apply for the country’s accession to Nato during a meeting of the Alliance in Madrid on June 29-30. The day before, Finland’s Minister for European Affairs Tyutti Tuppurainen also said that more than half of Finns are ready to join Nato. There is even a certain competition between the two traditionally neutral Scandinavian states: who will join faster. Finland is ready to give up the neutrality obligations signed in 1949 with the USSR in exchange for guarantees of sovereignty and renewed it in 1992 with Russia. The country is also doing everything possible to reduce dependence on energy imports from Russia. Thus, according to the Finnish government statistics for 2020, Russia accounted for some 54% of Finland`s imports of energy resources (gas, oil, nuclear energy). Now energy independence is Finland’s all-in bet on Nato membership. Finnish officials say that by autumn they plan to replace 85% of Russian oil and abandon nuclear energy, making the transition to “green technologies”. However, we have already seen and continue to observe the difficulties associated with such a transition in Europe and the UK. Unfortunately, green energy isn`t yet able to provide industry.
In response to the statements of Sweden and Finland, the Russian political leadership gave extremely harsh comments. Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev noted that the length of the land borders with the Alliance in this case will double, which, in turn, will entail the need to strengthen them by strengthening the grouping of land forces and air defense, the deployment of significant naval forces in the waters of the Gulf of Finland. The politician also noted that the nuclear-free status of the Baltic will cease to exist: “The balance must be restored,” Dmitry Medvedev said.
Sweden and Finland lose more than they gain. The security situation in Northern Europe can hardly be considered threatening, but the deployment of permanent Nato bases near the Russian borders, especially in the Arctic zone, can greatly change the status quo. Helsinki should provide that as soon as a Nato base appears on its territory, its coordinates will immediately be entered into the control units of Russian missiles. In addition, meetings between the United States and Russia were often held in Finland, a neutral country, and this fact suited everyone. If the Finns join the Alliance, then their function will no longer be interesting, and they themselves will be uninteresting. At the current stage, Sweden and Finland have been a “trademark” of neutrality for 50 years, and they can become “one of the thirty–two” and that’s it.
The political elites of Finland and Sweden are guided by a well-paid strategy for the policy of Americanization, their entry into United does not show deep tactics. Cross-border cooperation between Finland and Russia will obviously disappear. As for Sweden, they puts its well-established military industry at stake: according to NATO standards, it is necessary to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense, of which 40% is for the purchase of weapons of the American (Nato) standard. That is, you will have to buy American weapons, but what to do with weapons being produced in Sweden? The roles in NATO have been spelled out long time ago.
The Ukrainian crisis has shown that when threats become existential, Russia pulls the sword out of its scabbard. The West ignored Russia’s warnings about Ukraine. Nato’s expansion to Sweden and especially to Finland would only create more geopolitical problems for the future.