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How Russia Has Revived NATO

These are great times for NATO, as an organization and an alliance. After the fall of Communism in the 1990s, NATO lost its raison d’etre. It never fully revived as a military alliance - until now. This is exactly why Putin is suddenly downplaying a NATO expansion, while simultaneously threatening Finland and Sweden, even if vaguely. The new message is that Russia does not fear a NATO expansion, despite the fact that from the beginning, the war on Ukraine was about precisely that - along with securing more authoritarian power for Putin at home through the use of a big external ‘threat’. More specifically, Putin’s message is this: NATO (not unlike the EU) is not such a unified force. 

Nor will Finland and Sweden’s NATO accession go smoothly. Turkey has already demanded concession from the two countries, threatening to veto the move if they don't comply. Turkey doesn’t outright oppose Finland and Sweden joining the military alliance; rather, Ankara is trying to use this to get some concessions - the big one being their support of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and affiliated groups, with whom Turkey is at war. 

The relatively unhinged Croatian president, Zoran Milanovic, is also opposed to Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership bid - but again, it’s not opposition as much as it is an attempt to gain concessions in Bosnia. For Croatia’s “vote”, Milanovic wants electoral reform in Bosnia that would favor Bosnian Croats. It’s another stirring up of ethno-nationalist…

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