Spirited Reasoners are too sharp to miss important historical milestones. One of those was encountered earlier this week when Finland—which “enjoys” an 832-mile border with Russia—was flashed the final green light in its quest to join NATO. See, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/31/finland-to-formally-join-nato-within-days-nato-announces
Much has been made among military experts about the egregious nature of Putin’s foreign policy blunders leading up to this achievement. On the other hand, almost nothing has been mentioned about the brilliance of President Biden and his diplomatic team’s behind-the-scenes maneuverings that paved the way for Finland’s success. Hence today’s blog post.
In May of last year, President Biden met with the leaders of Finland and Sweden. At that time, he offered the full support of the United States for their respective applications for NATO membership. Immediately thereafter, Jake Sullivan, his National Security Advisor, expressed his belief that Turkish concerns about those applications would be resolved. See, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/biden-meet-leaders-finland-sweden-nato-expansion-2022-05-19/
We may never know exactly what diplomatic efforts were involved in convincing Türkiye’s President, Tayyip Erdogan, and its Parliament to lift any final objections to Finnish membership. (I’ve decided to go with Türkiye’s new official name here. See, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/03/turkey-changes-name-to-turkiye-as-other-name-is-for-the-birds ). We must assume, however, that the diplomatic efforts of President Biden’s team were substantial, given the leading role of the United States in the NATO alliance.
The fact that almost nothing has been said about our President’s efforts may speak more to the nature of successful international diplomacy rather than any efforts at humility on his part. Boasting prematurely about this success could serve to damage Sweden’s chances to follow Finland into the pack. It might also serve to damage future relations with Türkiye by giving the impression that it was the United States, and not Türkiye, that paved the way for Finland’s admission.
Spirited Reasoners will note the stark contrast here between the manner in which the Biden Administration conducts foreign policy and the manner which former President Trump always operated. Instead of perching himself atop the henhouse in order to crow about how great he is personally, President Biden has been content to facilitate this momentous decision in hopes of furthering not only American interests but also world peace.