Biden is closing out his Europe trip by showcasing new NATO member Finland

by Madison Thomas
NATO expansion

President Joe Biden is concluding his European trip by highlighting the inclusion of Finland as a new member of NATO. The visit to the Finnish capital serves as the final chapter of Biden’s carefully planned tour, aimed at showcasing the strength and influence of NATO in the face of a growing Russia.

During a meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö at the presidential palace in Helsinki, Biden expressed his belief that NATO has never been stronger, emphasizing the alliance’s fortification since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Finland’s recent entry into NATO has effectively doubled the alliance’s border with Russia.

Biden’s arrival in Helsinki followed a successful NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, where allies agreed on measures that would pave the way for Ukraine’s potential membership. Although Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed the summit as a significant security victory, he expressed disappointment that Ukraine did not receive an immediate invitation to join NATO.

Significant conversations took place between Biden’s administration and Ankara, leading Turkey to reverse its objections to Sweden joining NATO. Reflecting on his trip before departing for Finland, Biden expressed satisfaction with the accomplished goals, despite Zelenskyy’s frustrations. Biden’s visit aimed to demonstrate international opposition to Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine.

In contrast to his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, who cast doubt on intelligence reports and disparaged NATO, Biden has embraced multilateralism and stressed the importance of rebuilding international coalitions. With his background in international policy and extensive experience on the world stage, Biden is comfortable participating in summits abroad, emphasizing their significance for the presidency.

In addition to meeting with Finnish President Niinistö, Biden held discussions with leaders from other Nordic nations, including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. Sweden is expected to become NATO’s 32nd member country after pledging increased cooperation with Turkey on counterterrorism and supporting Ankara’s bid to join the European Union.

The talks in Helsinki focused on closer cooperation between the Nordic countries and the United States on security, environment, and technology matters. This joint meeting of U.S. and Nordic leaders marked the third of its kind, with previous summits held in Stockholm in 2013 and in Washington in 2016.

Biden’s visit to Finland holds symbolic significance as the first time a sitting U.S. president has come to honor the country itself rather than as a neutral location for meetings with Russian leaders. In the Cold War era, Finland acted as a neutral buffer between the United States and the Soviet Union, maintaining good relations with both superpowers. However, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland and neighboring Sweden gave up their political neutrality by joining the European Union. Despite previous opposition, public opinion shifted in favor of joining NATO after the invasion.

Biden’s visit to Finland follows U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip in June, during which a cooperation deal between the United States and Finland was signed to advance wireless communications, including research on 6G network technology. This agreement is relevant not only for Finland, home to Nokia Corp., a global leader in wireless technology, but also for the United States, which seeks to counter China’s dominance in the mobile network industry through companies like Huawei.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about NATO expansion

What was the purpose of President Biden’s trip to Europe?

President Biden’s trip to Europe had multiple purposes. One of the main goals was to showcase NATO’s expanding power and influence against Russia, particularly in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The trip also aimed to strengthen international coalitions, rebuild multilateralism after the Trump administration, and promote closer cooperation on security, environment, and technology issues with Nordic countries. Finland’s inclusion as a new NATO member and Sweden’s potential NATO membership were also significant topics of discussion.

What were the outcomes of the NATO summit in Vilnius?

The NATO summit in Vilnius resulted in key developments. Allies agreed on language that would facilitate Ukraine’s potential membership in NATO, which Ukrainian President Zelenskyy considered a significant security victory. However, Ukraine did not receive an immediate invitation to join NATO. Additionally, important conversations took place with Turkey, leading to a reversal of objections to Sweden joining NATO.

What did President Biden hope to achieve with his visit to Finland?

President Biden’s visit to Finland had symbolic and strategic importance. It aimed to highlight Finland’s inclusion as a new NATO member, which effectively doubled NATO’s border with Russia. The visit also served as a testament to international opposition to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Biden aimed to strengthen cooperation with Nordic countries, discuss security, environment, and technology issues, and emphasize the importance of closer ties between the United States and Finland.

How did President Biden’s approach to NATO differ from his predecessor, President Trump?

President Biden’s approach to NATO stood in contrast to that of President Trump. While Trump cast doubt on intelligence reports, disparaged NATO, and threatened to withdraw the United States from the alliance, Biden embraced multilateralism and emphasized the need to rebuild international coalitions. He highlighted the strength of NATO and its importance in countering Russian influence. Biden’s visit aimed to showcase a united front against Russian aggression and promote closer cooperation among NATO member countries.

What was the significance of Finland’s inclusion as a NATO member?

Finland’s inclusion as a NATO member held both symbolic and strategic significance. As a neutral country during the Cold War, Finland acted as a buffer between the United States and the Soviet Union. However, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland and neighboring Sweden gave up their traditional political neutrality and joined the European Union. Finland’s NATO membership effectively doubled the alliance’s border with Russia, reinforcing NATO’s presence in the region and sending a message of deterrence to Russia.

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GlobeTrotter123 July 13, 2023 - 2:30 pm

omg finland in nato now, thats a big deal! they right on russia’s doorstep, sendin a strong message!

GrammarNazi88 July 13, 2023 - 5:17 pm

Some punctuation and spelling errors in this text. It’s important to proofread and use proper grammar for clarity and professionalism.

JohnDoe82 July 13, 2023 - 5:44 pm

biden was so cool showin nato strength in europe, russia aint got nothin on us!

Bookworm25 July 14, 2023 - 2:44 am

lol trumpy would be jealous of biden’s successful trip, he had no clue how to build coalitions.

HistoryBuff99 July 14, 2023 - 5:32 am

Loved the reference to Finland’s role during the Cold War, a neutral buffer between superpowers. Times have changed, and Finland joining NATO shows the shifting dynamics of the region.


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