Finland and Sweden were unanimously approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, paving the way for a speedy Senate vote and demonstrating legislative support for NATO expansion in the face of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.
Members of the committee unanimously agreed on the expansion. Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a vocal opponent of American foreign policy, voted “present” instead of yes or nay.
The Senate might vote on the expansion as soon as next week, thanks to this vote.
‘These are modern forces, militaries that we know well,’ Kirby added, underlining the power that advocates claim the two nations would bring to the military bloc.
In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the 30 members of NATO are debating whether or not to accept the two northern European nations. Allies of the European Union and the United States have tightened their ranks and bolstered their defences in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing attack against a pro-Western Ukrainian government.
In a joint statement with ranking Republican committee member Jim Risch of Idaho, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said after his panel’s endorsement.
To combat aggressiveness, “the solution is not isolation, but increased contact with like-minded countries,” added Menendez.
As a result of Putin’s invasion, Finland and Sweden have abandoned their long-standing policy of military nonalignment and are now seeking to join NATO and its combined conventional and nuclear capabilities.
After urging the move, President Joe Biden hosted officials from China and Russia to the White House in May as a symbol of the United States’ support.
An consensus between Republicans and Democrats on a significant topic now before Congress is unusual, yet it is there in the NATO expansion plan. Kentucky’s Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claimed in May that senators were processing the membership applications more quickly than typical for NATO expansion requests. He predicted that the Senate will pass the bill in its entirety before the end of the month.
Prior to the lengthy August recess, legislators are hurrying to ratify the subject.
Finland and Sweden’s bids for NATO membership were anticipated to be easily accepted by other NATO members as well. An unexpected early statement by NATO member Turkey that it would prevent the two countries’ entry has been withdrawn.
Even if Finland and Sweden do not tighten down on members of outlawed Turkish Kurdish parties in exile abroad, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned this week that Turkey might still act to block the expansion.