Should NATO offer membership to Finland and Sweden?
A risk vs. reward proposition
In my most recent op-ed on Geopoliticalmonitor.com, “War and Peace,” I outlined several ways for the United States and NATO to counter Russian forward-projection worldwide, one of the boldest of which would be to immediately induct Finland and Sweden into NATO to provide those two countries with Article V umbrella protection now that Russia has proven willing to invade neutral neighbors that the Kremlin deems a threat to Russian security, or wishes to retain in its geopolitical sphere of influence.
Of course, this should happen only with a thorough and clear-eyed risk-analysis assessing potential Kremlin reaction. How true are the stories about President Putin having gone mad? Or “’roid-raging” due to cancer treatment, as one “sources say” leak from “British intelligence” claims. Hmm… I wonder. The so-called “rambling” speech that he made prior to the invasion—flawed and disconcerting content-wise though it was—was no more all over the place (and was actually shorter) than most US presidents’ State of the Union speeches. It was merely comprehensive, and quite coherent at that. He outlined his reasoning to the Russian people in deep detail within the context of Russian history from a very Russian perspective. Doesn’t make him right. But it is what it is. And he was neither ranting nor raving. His tone and demeanor were as coldly flat-lined as ever. The only thing I noticed was a deep exhalation with every pause between paragraphs that came off like a nervous tick or health issue. Or perhaps a product of fatigue. Who knows?
Right now, with what we have to go on, it seems that Mr. Putin has overplayed his hand based on flawed intelligence—as our leaders have done on just a couple of misguided overseas entanglements over the last several years (Iraq, Libya…)—but seems to be still acting from a “rational” baseline, though perhaps one flawed calculus within his self-imposed echo chamber that is gumming up the works.
Either way, with the din of war drums growing ever louder, we must become more agile and elegant in how we engage our adversaries around the world, moving in more “on the prowl” rather than “going in strong,” as the cops and robbers in the movie Heat say, taking down “cowboy score liquor-store holdups with a ‘born to lose’ tattoo” on our chests. No more bull in a global china shop.