Vladimir Putin’s mistake got one step closer to another serious repercussion on Wednesday when the United States Senate approved Finland and Sweden joining NATO by a vote of 95-1. The lone nay vote and one of present will loom large in today’s article and are the genesis of the headline.
Republican Josh “Running Man” Hawley of Missouri voted against their admission to the group while fellow Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky voted present. Keep in mind that even Moscow Mitch McConnell voted aye. That should help put this in perspective if the 95-1 vote already didn’t.
Under the rules of the alliance unanimous approval of all member nations is required for admission. As of this writing seven nations: the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Turkiye (a/k/a Turkey) have yet to give their final nod. Turkey appears to have worked out an agreement that placated their initial misgivings and of the other six only Hungary concerns me. You just never know what Viktor Orban, a staunch Putin ally, will do. The odds are the other seven will also give their stamps of approval but premature counting of chickens is a bad practice.
Before I return to the U.S. I want to cover a few of the advantages of having Finland and Sweden in NATO. They are both relatively wealthy and advanced nations with significant militaries. Finland has a land border with Russia of over 800 miles. Admission of the two into NATO would effectively turn the Baltic Sea into NATO controlled water somewhat bottling up the Russian Baltic fleet in the event of hostilities. It would also cut off sea access to Kaliningrad if the need arose. In a nutshell, NATO, and by extension democracy, is much stronger with than without these two countries.
Returning to Capital Hill, Hawley has designs on the presidency. Perhaps he is trying to recruit Putin’s help in a future endeavor; it worked for another prominent Republican who cared more about winning than about America or democracy so why not? Hawley outlined his “reasoning” which I will not repeat here. I try not to give malarkey a platform on this site. That’s what the right wing media is for.
Paul – another Republican who has taken a shot at the presidency and I would not rule out another run – voted present. He basically refused to even take a position. Is that the courage of leadership? As much as I disagree with Hawley, at least he made his position known. Could you count on either as the Commander-in-Chief in a crisis? I couldn’t!
More about today’s title. It’s not difficult to figure out who Putin’s pal is in this situation. As to the remainder there are several words beginning with the letter “p” that describe Paul’s actions but all of them violate my PG rating.
There is not much we can do about Hawley in the short term but Paul is on the ballot this fall. If you live in Kentucky keep that in mind.
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