The Senate supported Finland and Sweden’s addition to NATO in a 95-1 vote on Wednesday, in an effort to unite against Russia following its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
“Our NATO alliance is the bedrock that has guaranteed democracy in the western world since the end of World War II,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said ahead of the vote. “This strengthens NATO even further and is particularly needed in light of recent Russian aggression.”
“If any senator is looking for a defensible excuse to vote no, I wish them good luck,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) added during his time on the floor. “This is a slam dunk for national security that deserves unanimous bipartisan support.”
President Joe Biden praised the Senate for voting to ratify the NATO accession protocols for the two countries.
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“We will continue working to remain vigilant against any threats to our shared security, and to deter and confront aggression or the threat of aggression,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to signing the accession protocols and welcoming Sweden and Finland, two strong democracies with highly capable militaries, into the greatest defensive alliance in history.”
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) was the lone senator to vote against the addition of Finland and Sweden.
“Finland and Sweden want to join the Atlantic Alliance to head off further Russian aggression in Europe,” he wrote in a recent op-ed in The National Interest explaining why he felt he could not vote in support of the countries’ intent to join NATO. “That is entirely understandable given their location and security needs. But America’s greatest foreign adversary doesn’t loom over Europe. It looms in Asia. I am talking of course about the People’s Republic of China. And when it comes to Chinese imperialism, the American people should know the truth: the United States is not ready to resist it. Expanding American security commitments in Europe now would only make that problem worse—and America, less safe.”
McConnell responded to Hawley’s position, saying that he believed becoming closer with Finland and Sweden would actually aid the U.S. in sending a stronger message to China and at the same time would make “America more secure.”
Out of the 30 countries that are a part of NATO, the U.S. is set to become the twentieth to support Finland and Sweden’s entry.
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