Sen. Hawley Says US Must Reject Sweden, Finland NATO Accession to Focus on China Threat

© AP Photo / EVELYN HOCKSTEINU.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) attends a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on voting rights on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2021.
U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) attends a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on voting rights on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.08.2022
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States must put aside European issues such as the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO in order to focus on increasing competition with China in the Indo-Pacific region, Sen. Josh Hawley said on Monday in an op-ed for The National Interest.
"As the 2018 and 2022 US National Defense Strategies both acknowledge, the United States cannot defeat China and Russia in two major wars at the same time. And we are not where we need to be in Asia. The US is currently not prepared to fend off Chinese military aggression in the Pacific," Hawley said. "In the face of this stark reality, we must choose. We must do less in Europe (and elsewhere) in order to prioritize China and Asia."
Expanding US security commitments in Europe would worsen the Pentagon’s ability to resist Chinese ambitions in the Indo-Pacific and make the country "less safe," Hawley also said.
In this image provided by the U.S. Navy, a Saildrone Explorer, front to rear, a Devil Ray T-38 crewless vessel, a littoral combat ship, and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter sail in the Arabian Gulf, on June 26, 2022. The Navy is expediting development of drone ships aimed at expanding the reach of offensive firepower while keeping sailors on traditional warships farther from harm's way. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Roland A. Franklin via AP) - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.08.2022
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As such, Hawley intends to vote against Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO when the matter is soon brought before the US Senate, the Republican lawmaker said.
The US should not abandon the NATO alliance entirely, Hawley said. However, European allies must take primary responsibility for the conventional defense of Europe by increasing investments in their own militaries, according to Hawley.
Neither Sweden nor Finland currently meet policy commitments appropriate to their geostrategic positions, Hawley said. Sweden does not yet spend 2% of its gross domestic product on defense and Finland has not made clear whether they intend to sustain current defense funding levels following a one-time spending boost, Hawley noted.
The geopolitical landscape has transformed since NATO was established as a bulwark against the Soviet Union, Hawley also said. China poses a greater threat than Russia, and as such, a strategic US foreign policy must embrace that reality and prepare for it, according to Hawley.
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