July 14, 2023

NATO Summit

Sweden’s membership of NATO took a big step forward on Monday after Turkey agreed to remove one of the last major roadblocks in return for help in reviving Turkey’s own chances of joining the European Union… Earlier Monday, Erdogan had warned that he would block Sweden’s attempt to become the 32nd NATO ally unless European members of the military organization ‘pave the way’ for Turkey to join the world’s biggest trading bloc.” AP News

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed fresh pledges of weapons and ammunition to fight Russia’s invasion along with longer-term security commitments from the West on Wednesday even as he expressed disappointment over the lack of a clear path for his country to join NATO as the alliance wrapped up its annual summit… On Tuesday, the leaders said in their communique summarizing the summit’s conclusions that Ukraine can join ‘when allies agree and conditions are met.’” AP News

Both sides support Sweden joining NATO:

“Sweden is a democracy that possesses capable combat forces. And while Stockholm must move faster to reach NATO's 2%-of-GDP minimum defense spending target, it is on a better trajectory to do so than many other existing member states… The alliance's looming 32nd member will strengthen both NATO's deterrent and combat capability…

“That said, the price Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan has extracted for approving Sweden's NATO membership is a ridiculous one. Namely, Swedish support for Turkey's enduring effort to join the European Union… The treatment of Turkish opposition figures, independent journalists, activists, academics, and ethnic minorities makes clear that Erdogan's regime has no regard for basic democratic norms. The idea that Turkey presently deserves to be admitted into the EU is thus a laughable one.”

Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

“Only four years ago, on the eve of another summit, the organization looked to be in low water; in the words of President Emmanuel Macron of France, it was undergoing nothing short of ‘brain death.’ Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the situation has been transformed

“As NATO plans to welcome Sweden into its ranks — Finland became a full-fledged member in April — and dispatch troops to reinforce its eastern flank, European Union allies are finally making good on long-deferred promises to increase military spending. Public opinion has followed suit. If Russia sought to divide Europe, President Biden could plausibly declare last spring that it had instead fully ‘NATO-ized’ the continent… The most successful alliance in history, gathering in celebration of itself, need not wait for its 75th anniversary next year to uncork the champagne.”

Grey Anderson and Thomas Meaney, New York TimesOther opinions below.

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From the Right

From the Left

“For over 100 years, U.S. aims in Europe have been counterhegemonic: in World War I, World War II, and again in the Cold War, the United States bore high costs to prevent one country from dominating the continent. Today, however, even a Russia that somehow defeated Kyiv would not be poised to control Europe… Ukraine’s resistance to Russian bellicosity is noble, but noble actions and even effective self‐​defense do not themselves justify taking on the high risks of an open‐​ended security commitment…

“For much of the post–Cold War period, the United States could expand its international commitments at relatively low cost and risk. Those circumstances no longer exist. With fiscal pressures at home, a grave challenge to its position in Asia, and the prospect of escalation and an erosion of credibility vis‐​à‐​vis Moscow, keeping Ukraine out of NATO simply reflects U.S. interests.”

Justin Logan and Joshua Shifrinson, Cato Institute

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