The Senate has voted to approve Finland and Sweden's requests to be part of in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Both northern European countries had hoped to join the defense treaty organisation following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
Each country must approve Sweden and Finland's request to be accepted into NATO.
The Senate unanimously approved the application in both nations 95-1. Democrats as well as Republicans were unanimously in favor of the proposal, but senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) did not vote in favor and senator Rand Paul (R-KY) voted present.
The Senate voted prior to the vote on ratification on an amendment suggested by Paul who wanted to state the fact that Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty will not take precedence over the authority of Congress alone in declaring war. The Senate opposed the motion 10-87.
Not all Republicans were in favor of ratifying Sweden and Finland's applications.
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) angered his Republican colleagues after he declared this morning that he would not support the admission of Sweden and Finland to NATO.
In his opinion piece to the National Interest, Hawley wrote that expanding NATO could compel the United States to defend more nationsat a time when America needs to rethink its policy towards stopping an expanding China. He also claimed that many European NATO members fail to adhere to the NATO obligations to use 2 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) for defense.
Hawley made a Senate floor speech prior to the vote stating that America should be focusing on China instead of European defense:
“Today’s vote to expand NATO presents a simple choice: either we do more in Europe – more troops, more resources, more spending—or we focus on our #1 adversary, China. We can’t prioritize both.”
The NATO vote is the most recent split in the political spectrum between Senate Republicans who favor a traditional Republican approach to foreign policy and those who favor a less intrusive foreign policy.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said prior to the vote, “If any senator finds a defensible excuse to vote no, I wish them good luck.”
Other Senate Republicans have disagreed with Hawley's stand against NATO expansion.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) felt it was “curious” that Hawley would oppose accepting Finland and Sweden to NATO while also approving North Macedonia and Montenegro into the NATO organization.
“I think it’s mistaken. We don’t beat China by retreating from the rest of the world. We beat China by standing with our allies against our enemies,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) declared.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) wrote in an op-ed “A stronger NATO allows America to focus on the threat of Communist China.”
Hawley and ten other Senate Republicans voted against granting Ukraine 40 billion dollars in assistance.
Hawley has been unwavering in his support for realigning America’s foreign policy.
“American security. Protecting American workers. Defending American jobs. Securing American prosperity. And I fear that some in this town have lost sight of that,” Hawley said during his speech.