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Turkey withdraws its NATO veto on Sweden and Finland

Erdogan, Turkey, Sweden, Finland and NATO

The NATO summit will be historic for several reasons: first, because Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decided to lift his veto on Sweden and Finland joining the transatlantic alliance; second, because the 30 member countries are showing a decisive and surprising unity; and third, because it opens a new military era in the world, a new rearmament with more military spending to buy better weaponry and equipment equipped with new technologies and Artificial Intelligence; and fourth, because if at the Lisbon Summit in 2010, NATO assured that Russia was its main threat, at the Madrid Summit, with its Strategic Concept, China is added to its list of sensitive challenges and Russia's role as an enemy is endorsed.

Alliance members led by Norway's Jens Stoltenberg will agree on the need to reinforce NATO's eastern flank in Europe by expanding the presence of troops and military equipment; and they will locate these same needs in the south, to the satisfaction of Spain, which is experiencing a growing threat not only in migration used by mafias from Africa, but also in the expansion of jihadism in the region.

The roadmap outlines a path of more military spending (2% of GDP), thus crystallising what was signed at the Wales Summit in 2014, but which, for one reason or another, especially because Europe was not fully out of the long economic crisis, most member states had not been able to comply with.

The Madrid Strategic Concept will reinforce all of NATO's vulnerabilities. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has marked an Alliance exante and expost. Europeans' fear of another major world war has forced the Transatlantic Organisation to show muscle, unity, courage and support for Ukraine, a country that has been atrociously invaded and its sovereignty violated. 

Because behind this invasion there is a war of values, of conceptions of the past versus the future; of two models of society: one that defends democracy and the other, tyranny.

The United States is returning to its supremacist role in a world that has ceased to be unipolar since the attacks of 11 September 2001, with a country like China that, just three months after the terrorist events in the United States, joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and has continued to expand considerably at the global level in the areas of trade, finance, investment and with its New Silk Road.

This historic conclave of the Alliance in Madrid gives the United States wings to regain ground lost to China in the area of strategic influence: in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Because US President Joe Biden has returned to Europe as its commander-in-chief to demand a greater US military presence; and to talk about joint cooperation to regain those areas of influence lost after years of focusing only on geopolitical and geo-economic expansion and challenges with China.

At this summit, the United States is back in Europe as an area of influence. With Spain, with President Pedro Sánchez, in that meeting held at the Moncloa, the White House tenant has been very clear in laying the foundations for cooperation in exchange for more military vessels to strengthen its missile defence shield at its military base in Rota, in southern Spain. If there are currently four ships, he wants two more.

Just as he will most likely announce that there will be an increased presence of US soldiers, not only on the southern flank, but also to provide greater security for Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. 

On the subject 

More economic support and weapons for Ukraine. A few days ago, the idea that the Ukrainian president, Volodymir Zelenski, would come to Madrid to participate in person in the NATO meeting caused quite a stir. In the end, he will do so by streaming... unless there is a surprise like the one announced yesterday: Erdogan stops blocking Sweden and Finland from joining the Alliance, after accusing both countries of harbouring Kurdish terrorists. 

What seemed to take months to settle between Sweden, Finland and Turkey has taken several sessions of diplomacy involving Stoltenberg.

The memorandum signed between the Turkish leader, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto allows these countries to obtain the status of "invited to join NATO".

The Turkish president has asked Sweden and Finland for a tougher line on terrorist organisations, a request to which they would agree to yield through legislative changes. But Erdogan also has in mind pushing for the US to lift the punishment on Turkish F-16 jets - which cannot be sold - in retaliation for Ankara's purchase of the S-400 air defence system from Russia.

In the end, it's all about getting the price tag right. However, the accession process for Sweden and Finland, however short it may be, could take at least until the end of the year. NATO is jubilant, the air of concord among its leaders has been brought about by Putin's invasion. No one is talking about peace, everyone is talking about more weapons, in a global village full of tensions, with friction here and there. Let's hope the Allies are right, time will give us the answers...