When you’re a kid, your mom most likely told you to be nice to everyone, even the people who hate you, or those who picked on you. While she and many others thought that being passive would help keep you safe, it makes you a bigger target. When a bully sees a weakness, they gravitate towards it like sharks chasing blood in the water.
Nordic media are reporting that their applications to NATO could be in as early as the middle of next month. On Monday, the Finnish daily Iltalehti issued a statement claiming the country “suggested the two countries indicate their willingness to join” almost simultaneously. Helsinki agreed to join “as long as the Swedish government has made its decision”. With Finland having an 810-mile border with Russia, they have ample reasons to be concerned about potential Russian action.
News of their potential shift towards NATO has been circulating for some time now. The Kremlin has previously claimed that they would need to bolster their defenses in the Baltic if this took place. Given their belief that NATO is secretly an alliance formed to squeeze Russia out, it isn’t surprising to see them squirming under the idea of another country standing up for itself.
The initial timeline for an application to NATO was expected to be met around May 31st if either country decided to apply. The release of Finland’s papers sped up the process for Sweden, so they now expect to have theirs out there by the 13th. The leak of the Finnish papers left the Swedes a bit perplexed and under a lot of pressure to ensure they followed suit.
Applications to NATO are not always welcomed, and Ukraine is finding itself in that very boat right now. Joining NATO after already being attacked is a strategically poor move. The Russians would rightfully see that as nothing more than a horrific threat to their very existence, and they would be right to view it that way. Naturally, this would end up with other NATO countries involved, as well as China and other Russian allies. All in all, NATO refusing to hear from Ukraine until this is over is a brilliant move.
By contrast, Finland and Sweden taking the approach to act now is a smart decision on their part and could potentially help keep them safe. However, the frequent loud news of their decision could potentially put them at risk as well. With NATO not expected to hear from Finland until mid-May, and Sweden still awaiting a decision, the possibility of Russia making a move before a decision is announced is a very real risk.
There is no precedence for what NATO would do should that happen. Without prior approval, the other nations in the alliance would be left on the sidelines, and there is no telling who might be willing to come to their rescue. While other nations provided Ukraine assistance with asset packages, they didn’t provide boots on the ground. Given the lack of major military assets in Sweden and Finland, they would most certainly need the help.
Much like a duo of baby ducks, these two countries are incapable of properly defending themselves should the need arise. They cannot keep pace with the rest of the globe on national defense, and they are closing in on looking down the barrel of the results of being soft-natured. With any luck, their admittance to NATO will come just in time.