The Western powers are now more united with the Baltic nations than ever before. After months of diplomatic delays, Sweden can now join NATO—a genuine triumph for the Biden administration. This development has enormous geostrategic implications for the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

While European leaders are starting to realize that the Russian bear’s teeth and claws are not as sharp as they once feared, it would be a mistake to believe that the Russians can no longer wreak vast harm across Europe, even without resorting to nuclear weapons. Now is the time for realism about Russia, not over-confidence.

Ahmed Charai, 2023

Ahmed Charai is a Moroccan publisher and an Atlantic Council Board Director. He is also an international counselor of the Center for a Strategic and International Studies, a board of trustees member of International Crisis Group, and a member of the Advisory Board of The Center for the National Interest in Washington and Global Board of Advisors at The Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security in Jerusalem.