Another International Win

It’s only Monday afternoon and I’m already writing Wednesday’s article. Today’s topic wasn’t quite a stop the presses moment, but it was close.

Hungary’s parliament voted to approve Sweden’s application for NATO membership. With that action the last roadblock to Sweden becoming the 32nd member of NATO was removed. That might not seem to be much to those not watching the global events of the past few years but to those of us who have it is huge. Hungary is led by its Prime Minister Viktor Orban who is not exactly the most liberal leaning European leader. In fact, he is closely aligned with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. Orban had been blocking Sweden’s admission to the treaty organization in what looked to be a favor to Putin.

Putin invaded the Ukrainian province of Crimea in 2014. In 2022, with Ukraine inching closer to the West and NATO membership, Putin invaded the rest of the country. Put wants to weaken the West knowing that Russia is at best (as Barack Obama famously described it) “A gas station with nukes” compared to NATO, the U.S, and the EU. Putin desperately didn’t want an expanded NATO’s presence on his border. In the interim – and you know that Joe Biden was a big part of it – Finland and now Sweden (it’s all but a done deal) joined the alliance increasing NATO’s border with Russia by 833 miles and deepening it with Finland and Sweden linking with Norway.

Not counting Crimea, Ukraine has just entered its third year of war with Russia. When Russia launched phase two of its invasion of Ukraine in 2022 most people, admittedly myself included, expected them to take over the country in a matter of days; at the very least forcing Zelenskyy’s government to operate in exile. Today it is still in Kiev and Zelenskyy frequently travels to other countries to rally support for his nation and in the process democracy.

While I’m ecstatic with the result I have a few questions. What, if anything, did Orban get in a “side deal”. Was there one? Will the Putin supporting by being Trump following Republicans in the American Congress find a way to weaken Ukraine enough that Putin will still win that war? Did Orban simply back down? Did Orban decide that he wanted to be on the side of what he feels will be the eventual winner? Was Orban just running a delay game for Putin as part of a multipronged plan buying time for the West’s support for Ukraine to dry up? Was/is Orban trying to play both sides? That’s a lot of unanswered questions but they are valid.

I am still stricken by the words of French President Emmanuel Macron when, at his first post-inaugural international meeting Joe Biden declared “America’s back” to which Macron replied “For how long?”. The international community of democratic nations trusts Joe Biden but they wonder if the American electorate will leave him in control or reelect Putin’s lackey, Donald Trump.

Sweden joining NATO is another case of what’s good for America is good for Joe. In November American voters have a chance to make something good for Joe good for America and with that democracy. This was another international win for America because of the leadership of Joe Biden. Remember that when you vote this fall. Putin wants Trump to win for a reason(s).

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