NATO invites new Nordic members to NATO

NATO invites new Nordic members to NATO

LONDON - Permanent American forces stationed in Poland, hundreds of thousands of troops on high alert and a formal invitation for two new Nordic members: When Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in part to ward off NATO, Wednesday made clear that his war had achieved the opposite.

NATO has now invited Finland and Sweden to join the alliance, a sign of how dramatically the Kremlin's war has upended the previous military landscape in Europe.

President Joe Biden announced earlier in the day that there would be increased U.S. military presence in Europe, boosted by the first permanent American forces on NATO's eastern flank and more rotating troops in the Baltic states.

The Western alliance has called Russia its most significant and direct threat in a joint statement, a departure from its ten-year-old description of Moscow as a strategic partner a decade ago.

Jonathan Eyal, an associate director at the Royal United Services Institute, said these developments were prompted by a sense of alarm in Europe at the Kremlin's attack on a sovereign democracy.

Now that the Russians have shown they are perfectly willing to invade a country and use force, the West cannot rely on the old system that said countries who were attacked would be helped later on, he said, referring to NATO's central Article 5 clause, which assumes allies will defend any member that has been attacked.

It is an acknowledgement of how the security in Europe has changed. Biden said that NATO was sending an unmistakable message that the alliance is strong, united, and that the steps we are taking during this summit are going to increase our collective strength. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday that the Madrid summit would chart a blueprint for the alliance in a more dangerous and unpredictable world. The blueprint seems to be designed around projecting greater strength in order to stand against Russia.