The U.S. Senate voted nearly unanimously to allow Sweden and Finland to join the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) on Wednesday. Josh Hawley voted no, and Rand Paul voted present, but an overwhelmingly bipartisan Senate agreed to strengthen and expand NATO amid Russia’s assault on Ukraine.
All 30 members of NATO must approve the addition of the two countries. Twenty-two countries have already done so, with President Erdogan of Turkey threatening a block that would delay the process.
“Expanding NATO does not make America safer. That’s the bottom line,” Hawley said Wednesday night. “Our priorities now should be to defend against China abroad and our own border at home.”
Hawley faced backlash from bipartisan sources, including various Republican Senators.
- Ted Cruz: “We don’t beat China by retreating from the rest of the world,” Cruz said. “We beat China by standing with our allies against our enemies.”
- Marco Rubio: “A strong and unified NATO is a powerful asset in the contest with Beijing,” Rubio wrote. “When Finland and Sweden join the alliance’s ranks and the free peoples of Europe become stronger than ever, more US resources will be available to focus on countering Communist China. If we do not rise to the challenge, it will be too late, and Americans will be held hostage by a totalitarian regime half a world away.”
- Tom Cotton:
And two of Putin’s puppets discussed the matter together, where Hawley defended his vote again.