After many months of deliberations from Sweden and Finland and initial opposition from Turkey, NATO has officially invited the two countries to join the largest military alliances in the world. This marks an enormous shift in European security prompted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

All of NATO’s members formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance during the NATO summit in Madrid after discussing several security threats of today’s time. One of the threats was Russia and its primarily aggressive expansionist rhetoric in Europe. The organization, founded in 1949, was created to defend against the Soviet Union. However, this threat has now gone online as it waged war on Ukraine last February 24 based on pretenses of Ukrainians being “neo-Nazis” and that there was a need to “de-Nazify” the country.

It is widely understood that Russia invaded Ukraine as it opposed Kyiv’s leaning toward the West, specifically about joining the European Union and NATO. In a classic example of a backfire, Russia has forced Sweden and Finland, historically neutral countries, to rescind their neutrality in favor of joining NATO. In simple terms, because of their fears that NATO would expand in admitting Ukraine as a member, their plan backfired as NATO now invites two countries to join their alliance.

Historical Background

Many of our casual readers are probably wondering why the move is significant. For some historical context, Sweden was initially proclaimed neutral by King Gustav XIV in 1834, maintaining this neural status throughout the military conflicts until today. In World War II, they preserved being neutral by allowing the Germans to pass through Swedish territory. In the same light, they also took in refugees that the Nazis persecuted. They would also trade with the Allies and Nazi Germany during this time.