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27th February 2024 (9 Topics)

Sweden to join NATO


Sweden is set to join NATO after Hungary's parliament ratified its bid.

Brief Background

  • Hungary's decision comes two years after both Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO in May 2022 following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
  • Why Hungary’s approval was required? All members of NATO must give their approval before another country is able to join.

Why is Sweden joining a big deal? (A larger perspective)


After Finland joined last year, Sweden's membership means all the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea, except Russia, will be part of the US-led military alliance. 

  • Break from neutrality: Sweden has not been involved in a war since 1814and has “pursued a policy of non-alignment in peacetime and neutrality in wartime, basing its security on a strong national defense. Sweden’s entry into NATO move signals a break from a history of neutrality for both countries. 
  • Reducing the vulnerability: Sweden's NATO membership strengthens alliance in Baltic Sea region.
  • Sense of security: At the time that Russia’s invasion threatened Europe’s security order and made Sweden’s need for guaranteed securitygranted through NATO membership apparent.
  • Reinforcing the Baltic states: Three countries breathing a particular sigh of relief over the entry of Sweden - and Finland - are NATO's Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, long seen as an Achilles heel for the alliance.
  • Kaliningrad threat: Beyond its long Baltic coastline, Sweden brings with it the island of Gotland which would play a central role in helping NATO impose its will. But just across the water, Russia has its vital outpost -- the exclave of Kaliningrad.
    • Wedged between Poland and Lithuania, Moscow has in recent years turned the region into one of the most militarised in Europe, with nuclear-capable missiles stationed there. 

Sweden's entry makes it easier for NATO to exert control and reinforce its vulnerable Baltic states, Russia can still menace the region from heavily-armed exclave Kaliningrad and threaten undersea infrastructure.

What is NATO?

  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military alliance established by the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) of April 4, 1949, sought to create a counterweight to Soviet armies stationed in central and eastern Europe after World War II.
  • It was the US’s first peacetime military alliance outside the western hemisphere.
  • Objectives of NATO:
    • Political objectives: NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.
    • Military Objectives: NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operations.

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