The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, commonly known by its acronym “NATO,” has been in existence for nearly three-quarters of a century. Embracing the notion that day-to-day security is key, NATO’s stated purpose is “to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.”
Putin enjoyed the Trump years because the puppet he installed in the White House didn’t seem to like NATO any more than he did. At the 2017 summit in Brussels, Donald Trump infamously refused to express a firm commitment to the Article 5 principle of mutual defense. For good measure, Trump also shoved Dusko Marković in a rush to jump to the front for pictures. It’s no coincidence that Marković happened to be the Prime Minister of Montenegro, NATO’s brand-new member.
Now that President Joe Biden is in office, Trump is no longer able to help Putin destabilize NATO. In addition, not only is NATO standing strong in solidarity against Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, but Putin’s own actions are undermining his failing anti-NATO campaign.
Only 12 nations were NATO members when the alliance was formed in 1949. The count stands at 30 today, and that number may soon be rising. At a Thursday press conference, Finland President Sauli Niinistö “strongly” condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine, calling it a “shock to everyone.” Prime Minister Sanna Marin echoed his words before going a step further to announce that it is “now clear” that the debate on NATO membership will change.
Finland currently has only 80 citizens in Ukraine and doesn’t face an “immediate military threat,” according to Marin. However, Putin’s unprovoked aggression has changed Finland’s relationship with Russia. Although Finland’s decision to apply for NATO membership would require very broad support from both the government and the public, the months-long debate has quickly reached a turning point.
Whether Finland ultimately applies for NATO membership will be determined by that nation’s politics. But, as Niinistö proclaimed, “Let it be stated once again: Finland’s room to maneuver and freedom of choice also includes the possibility of military alignment and of applying for NATO membership, should we ourselves so decide.” This is one shining example of the many ways in which the world is not hesitating to stand up to Putin’s increasingly tyrannical rule. Putin and his puppet have failed.