The United States House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution that supports Finland and Sweden joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) — but there were some notable “no” votes.
The Nordic countries, which have a long history of neutrality when it comes to global alliances, applied to be part of NATO in May, a few months after Russia invaded Ukraine. Finland has a land border with Russia, which NATO has called a “direct threat.”
The bipartisan resolution passed in the House in a 394-18 vote on Monday, with only Republican members voting “no.” Nineteen other congressional members did not submit a vote, including two Democrats and 17 Republicans.
The GOP representatives who voted against it include:
So why would they vote against this? Well, along with supporting Finland and Sweden joining NATO, the House resolution also “opposes any attempt by the Russian Federation to act in an adverse way in response to Finland and Sweden’s sovereign and historic decision to join NATO.” And it asked other NATO countries to ratify the protocols of accession for Finland and Sweden “swiftly.”
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And many of these lawmakers opposing the two potential new NATO members have also voted against other measures related to Russia and its invasion of Ukraine. Kentucky Rep. Massie tweeted on Monday that “America can’t afford to subsidize socialist Europe’s defense.”
Arizona Rep. Biggs also tweeted that the US “should not expand alliances that will further require us to serve as the military for the world.”
The vote led “Finland and Sweden,” “NATO” and “18 Republicans” to trend on Twitter throughout the day on Tuesday.
The House vote was mostly a symbolic gesture, as it’s the Senate that actually approves new NATO members on behalf of the United States. All 30 NATO members must unanimously approve new member states before they’re allowed in. Here’s how it works.
Read more: Finland and Sweden want to join NATO. How does that work, and are there obstacles?
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“This is a good day at a critical moment for our security,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said when the applications were submitted in May. “Every nation has the right to choose its own path.”
As noted above, Finland and Sweden’s move to join NATO follows neighboring Russia invading Ukraine in February. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN in July that he hopes the war will be over by the end of 2022. “We can achieve a lot of things before the end of the year and we can stop this war,” he said.
Credit: www.marketwatch.com /