High North, lrb.co.uk

Tom Stevenson

On 18 May, Finland and Sweden applied to join Nato. There are very few countries in the world that can plausibly claim to have tried to conduct a principled form of foreign policy. Two of them are now seeking to join a military alliance composed of states with long histories of aggression and war crimes. If completed, the Nordic expansion of Nato would leave only three states of any size – Ireland, Austria and Switzerland – to keep up the tradition of European neutrality. […]

Should Finland and Sweden join Nato, there will be more purchases of American military equipment, larger military budgets and probably less social spending. This has already started. In December, Biden praised Finland’s decision to buy 64 F-35 fighter jets and said the $11 billion deal would pave the way for closer US-Finnish ties.

In the Baltic Sea, formal alliances with Finland and Sweden might be useful to American power. A 2019 RAND Corporation report commissioned by the Department of Defense noted ‘the potential to entice Russia into costly investments’ in the Baltic. Finnish and Swedish corvettes and fast-attack craft outnumber Russia’s small Baltic surface fleet. They also have more submarines there. For its part, the UK would welcome more enthusiastic partners in what British security planners refer to as ‘high north’. At Nato’s summit in Madrid on 15 May, Liz Truss spoke of the alliance taking ‘a global outlook protecting Indo-Pacific as well as Euro-Atlantic security’. Läs artikel