Interview: Finland, Sweden's accession will weaken NATO, says Greek scholar

(Xinhua) 09:01, June 30, 2022

ATHENS, June 29 (Xinhua) -- The accession of Finland and Sweden to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will be a negative development for the west, as it will eventually weaken the alliance, a Greek scholar told Xinhua here on Wednesday.

"Although the concerns of Finland and Sweden about Russia can be explained, these do not prove that their accession to NATO is in NATO's interest," said Pelagia Karpathiotaki, an international relations scholar and researcher at the Beijing-based University of International Business and Economics.

"These two countries will be considered by Russia aggressive bridgeheads, which at the same time are too weak for the west to defend," Karpathiotaki said while commenting on the results of the ongoing NATO summit in Madrid.

Turkey has dropped its objections to the two countries' NATO accession, but many questions remain regarding the alliance's enlargement plans before and after the start of the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

In Finland and Sweden's case, once the accession process is completed, a space of instability will be created in the European security system, Karpathiotaki argued.

The tiny military forces of these countries would add little to the overall military strength of the alliance, but their joining NATO would create ample problems, she said.

"The alliance's interest is to avoid being trapped in areas that it could hardly defend, while a large increase in its membership would make it difficult to take decisions," Karpathiotaki noted.

"Also, countries with strong anti-Russian elements will lure the alliance into unwanted tensions with Moscow," the scholar stressed.

This view has also been expressed by several political and military analysts, who are clearly not pro-Russian, she added.

Under normal circumstances, NATO should consider whether the candidates can contribute to the alliance's collective defense, Karpathiotaki noted.

However, today the expansion of NATO is based on ideological narratives rather than on criteria of power, she said.

The west "had to" expand to countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union or were under the Soviet sphere of influence in order to impose "western values" and "democracy," according to the narrative.

As a result, countries with minimal to negative contribution to the collective power of the alliance join in, and problems emerge in a structure where decisions have to be taken unanimously, the expert noted.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the allied countries today have very different geopolitical identities and agendas compared to the old "solid" NATO of the Cold War, she explained.

For Karpathiotaki, the argument that "after we go to a new Cold War, then we must be as many as possible against Russia" is not valid either.

The issue is not how many states are in the NATO structure but what power they have, she said. 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Liang Jun)


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