How Vladimir Putin Saved NATO
The wit and wisdom of Samuel Johnson offers a broad explanation of why Sweden will soon follow Finland into the Alliance: “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” At the same time, NATO was never as sclerotic as even some Western leaders claimed in recent years.
HAMBURG – When Finland cleared the last hurdle for NATO membership last week, major Western newspapers buried the story. Yet Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto justly celebrated “these historic days” – the end of 75 years of neutrality. As of this week, Finland is formally in, and Sweden, another eternal neutral, will soon follow, once Turkey stops blocking its membership.
Why would these two countries throng into an alliance that French President Emmanuel Macron diagnosed as being “brain dead” only four years ago, and which former US President Donald Trump saw as “obsolete” in 2017? The wisdom of the eighteenth-century British wit Samuel Johnson offers a broad answer here: “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”
But there is an even pithier answer to this question: Vladimir Putin. The man who would be King of Europe has given NATO a new brain and a new lease on life.