Geopolitical Insights

SITREP – Will Finland and Sweden Join NATO

May 13, 2022
What has Happened:
  • Key decision-makers in Finland and Sweden are expected to announce their positions on NATO membership later this week.
  • Sweden and Finland signed a mutual defense treaty with the United Kingdom on Wednesday May 11th, which is likely a pre-cursor to applying for broader membership in NATO.
  • Historically, Sweden has avoided military alliances and Finland declared neutrality after its defeat by the Soviet Union in World War II.
  • However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine (and possible Russian ambitions beyond Ukraine) have changed the mindset of both nations’ leaders.
  • Russia (which shares an 800-mile border with Finland) has warned of “military and political repercussions” if Finland and Sweden join NATO.
  • Possible Russian responses include the movement of nuclear/hypersonic weapons closer to the border with Finland and cyber-attacks as well as economic and humanitarian measures (i.e., directing migration towards the Russia/Finland border).
  • Both countries are already members of the EU and have participated in joint military exercises with NATO in the past, including in Afghanistan and the Balkans.
  • Finland already meets NATO’s 2% of GDP defense spending requirement and Sweden is at 1.3%, but could reach 2% by 2028.
  • If both countries move forward with the application next week, the process could still take several months.
  Why it Matters: General James “Spider” Marks, who is Head of Geopolitical Strategy at Academy Securities, appeared on CNN yesterday morning to discuss the situation, please see the following link for the interview. In addition, please see below for a few comments from Academy GIG members General Mastin Robeson and General Frank Kearney:   “Hard to see how it does not have an impact, though not sure what that impact will be. Could drive Russia further into the cold, could be used by NATO/U.S. as a bargaining tool to get Russia to back down, and/or could exacerbate/escalate the situation (even if that were only the re-positioning of Russian assets/missiles further west). Also depends on whether Finland and Sweden want to be used as a pawn. My guess is that both will come in (to NATO) and that Russia will make threats, re-position assets, and it will certainly result in greater defense spending by NATO countries. Could even result in Turkey pulling out of NATO.”General Mastin Robeson   “I think Mastin is on point. As a consensus organization it will be interesting to see if all current members support membership. The discussion will not be about whether they should come in but on what repercussions will result if they are admitted. Both nations have worked with us in peace operations and in the Balkans as part of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). They are both EU members as well. I could see Turkey bargaining for EU admission as a quid pro quo to support Finland’s and Sweden’s membership in NATO.”General Frank Kearney