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Finland, Sweden further strengthen NATO

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By Arthur I. Cyr

On Aug. 3, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved Finland and Sweden joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The vote was 95 to 1, far more than the two-thirds required for approval. This decision supports expansion in the strategically vital Arctic, which will significantly extend Russia's borders with NATO members.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an occasional collaborator with Russia, initially opposed the admission of Finland and Sweden. His concerns included the presence in Scandinavia of the Kurdistan Workers' Party and the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units. The Erdogan administration strongly opposes such separatist groups.

At the end of June, the three nations' leaders signed an accord on the matter. Turkey has a very large and effective military. Expanding NATO to the north while not losing Turkey in the south represents a major strategic victory.

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© The Korea Times

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