Finland state

Hawley says he will vote ‘no’ to allow Sweden and Finland to join NATO

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) announced on Monday that he would vote against Finland and Sweden’s campaigns to join NATO, saying the United States should refocus its military efforts on China, not on Europe and Russia.

“Finland and Sweden want to join the Atlantic Alliance to avoid further Russian aggression in Europe. This is completely understandable given their location and security needs,” Hawley wrote for the national interest.

Earlier this year, the heads of state of the two Nordic countries announced their intention to join the 27-member military alliance. And last month Turkey, a key NATO member, announced it had received guarantees from Sweden and Finland and suggested it would block their offers.

“America’s greatest foreign adversary does not hover over Europe. It is looming in Asia. I am of course talking about the People’s Republic of China,” Hawley wrote. “And when it comes to Chinese imperialism, the American people should know the truth: the United States is not prepared to stand up to it. Expanding US security commitments in Europe now would only make this problem worse and America less secure.

Several NATO members, including the United States, have yet to vote on whether to ratify the two countries’ membership in the military bloc. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) said he wants senators to vote on the issue before lawmakers leave Washington DC for a recess scheduled Aug. 8.

“We have to choose”

A number of Republicans have publicly backed both nations’ bids to join NATO. In May, Hawley was among 11 GOP senators to vote against a $40 billion Ukraine aid package that eventually passed Congress and signed into law.

In his op-ed, the Missouri Republican said the United States lacks the capacity to take on Russia and China at the same time. His announcement comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) traveled to Taiwan on Tuesday amid threats from the Chinese Communist Party as well as Chinese military positions in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.

“As the 2018 and 2022 United States National Defense Strategies recognize, the United States cannot defeat China and Russia in two major wars at the same time. And we are not where we need to be in Asia,” Hawley wrote, adding, “Faced with this harsh reality, we must choose. We need to do less in Europe (and elsewhere) to prioritize China and Asia.

Echoing former President Donald Trump’s statements years ago, Hawley further argued that some NATO member states should take more responsibility for the defense of the continent by providing more funding to their armies and by not relying on the United States.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a symbolic resolution in support of Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO bids, which Russia opposes. At the end of June, Russian officials issued a new warning to the Nordic countries about the “serious military consequences” that could arise if they joined.

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Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.