President Biden on Tuesday signed documents to admit Finland and Sweden into NATO, hailing it as a “watershed moment” for the transatlantic alliance.
Biden, in the East Room of the White House, signed off on the accession protocols for the two European nations, a move precipitated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Where the countries stack up: With Biden’s signature, the United States became the 23rd NATO ally out of 30 to approve Finland and Sweden’s admission to the group. Joining NATO is viewed as a deterrent against potential Russian aggression toward Finland and Sweden.
Finland shares an 800-mile border with Russia. Sweden does not, but it does share a strategic interest with Russia in the Baltic Sea, which gives Russia’s naval fleet access to the Atlantic.
Recapping last week: The Senate last week voted 95-1 to approve the resolution, with every member of the Democratic caucus and most Republicans voting in support.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who argued in a recent op-ed that the United States should focus on containing China instead of expanding NATO, was the only Republican to vote “no.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voted “present” on the resolution.
A ‘watershed’ moment: “It was and is a watershed moment, I believe, in the alliance. And for the greater security stability not only of Europe and the United States, but of the world,” Biden said at an event attended by the ambassadors of Finland and Sweden.
“At a moment when Putin’s Russia has shattered peace and security in Europe, when autocrats are challenging the very foundations of a rule-based order, the strength of a transatlantic alliance and America’s commitment to NATO is more important than it’s ever been,” the president added.
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