WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) spoke from the floor of the Senate this afternoon in advance of today’s 95-1 vote on the accession of the Republic of Finland and Kingdom of Sweden to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Senator Cardin called for the expeditious ratification of Treaty Document 117-3, confirming U.S. support for Finland and Sweden’s inclusion in the treaty, and highlighted the major contributions they would bring to NATO.
Excerpts of Senator Cardin’s remarks follow. Video can be viewed here.
“NATO will be stronger with Finland and Sweden added. They add value – militarily and economically – to this alliance. The geostrategic location of these two countries is critically important to our national security. Just think for a moment about the threats to the Baltic nations that we’ve seen by Russia against Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Think about where Poland has been threatened because of Russia’s ago activity in Ukraine. Adding Sweden and Finland will provide the security we need. Both of these countries are already committed to interoperability with the NATO alliance. They already are familiar with NATO’s processes and procedures. So we have two countries that are ready from day one to be active participants in the alliance.
“With Finland and Sweden, we have two countries that have been victimized by the misinformation campaigns of Russia. Sweden has a psychological defense agency created in 2016 that’s going to be important for us. As Mr. Putin uses every weapon in his arsenal, including misinformation, in order to bring down democratic states. We know, in Sweden’s case, they are taking decisive action to counter the misinformation. Finland has an anti-fake news initiative, which is absolutely fascinating. They recognize Russia is trying to invade their country through misinformation and they have an active way of defending against it. As I said earlier, we have two countries that will add value to the alliance.
“The timing here could not be better. We have stood up international resolve to support Ukraine in the invasion by Russia. Expanding NATO at this moment is a clear message to Mr. Putin that we stand with the democratic countries of Europe and we are prepared to expand our NATO alliance to guarantee their protection.
“These two stalwart democratic nations – Finland and Sweden – have been robust partners to the United States and Europe on countless fronts. They have provided humanitarian aid to many countries in need, including Ukraine during the unprovoked invasion by Russia. Combined, Finland and Sweden have provided over $120 million in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine between February and June 2022.
“We have two of the leading democratic states, Finland and Sweden, who have proven time and time against that they have the defense capabilities and commitment to democracy in Europe to make them essential NATO allies. Finland and Sweden have proven time and time again that they have the defense capabilities and commitment to democracy in Europe that make them essential NATO allies. The Senate must act now to bolster global peace and security by voting in favor of Finland and Sweden’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty.”