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The Senate voted yes for Finnish and Swedish NATO membership

The Senate voted yes for Finnish and Swedish NATO membership

The debate and subsequent voting in the Senate began at 19.30 NST. The vote ended in favor of 95 senators and one vote against, according to Reuters.

The question of the extent of US support for Swedish and Finnish accession to NATO is being addressed at the same time that the defensive NATO is trying to strengthen its position against the “Russian bear” in the east. But Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan also reminded Americans that Europe may not be as important a hub as Asia.

The uncertain international situation and the US economy formed the background to the debate in the Senate.

Vote for the changes first

A number of amendments have been proposed to the bill. Republican Senator Rand Paul proposed an amendment that would ensure that NATO’s guarantee of defense of member states would not preempt Congress’ authorization of the use of military force. This amendment was voted on by a large margin.

Another amendment by Republican Senator Dan Sullivan would have included in the ratification of membership that all NATO members should spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense, and that 20% of the defense budget should be spent on research and development. This change has also not been approved. Both amendments highlight well-known objections to NATO in American opposition: on the other hand, an objection to the United States’ ability to go to war without Congress or the Senate being able to prevent it. The second objection relates to the fact that the United States is deeply involved in NATO and spends large sums on defense of member states. During Trump’s presidency, this was an issue he raised with several European leaders.

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Only one vote against

With the proposed amendments, senators will not be able to accomplish more than leave a mark.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has been clear about his position:

Supporting countries will strengthen NATO and increase American security. If any senator is looking for an acceptable excuse to vote “no,” he said, I wish him all the best.

He demanded a simple majority in the decision, but that was not the case. Senator Josh Hawley voted against accepting Finland and Sweden membership. He is known to be one of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters. He believes that the United States should focus on Asia and not on Worapa.

Treatment can take up to a year

On May 18, Finland and Sweden submitted their applications with a desire to be accepted as members of NATO, the North Atlantic Defense Alliance formed in 1949 as a joint defense against the communist Soviet Union.

According to Reuters, processing applications can take up to a year, with applications requiring processing by each of the 30 NATO member states. So far, 21 countries have ratified the application to the two countries.

Norway is a member of NATO since its formation in 1949. Sweden and Finland have so far preferred to remain abroad, and have a more neutral relationship with first the Soviet Union and later Russia.

Turkey makes clear demands

The requests to the two countries, including Norway, Italy and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, have been welcomed by several of them.

On the other hand, Turkey was more resolute in meeting the demand, and made clear demands, especially to Sweden, for its blessing.

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Among other things, Turkey has claimed that Sweden provides political support to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

Erdogan claimed at the end of June that Sweden had promised to hand over 73 “terrorists” to Turkey in order for the country to accept Sweden’s request in NATO.