This article was originally published in Spanish by El Heraldo de Mexico. An English translation of the article is included below.
As the war in Ukraine enters its second year and the cold war between the United States and China intensifies, it is interesting to see how other countries begin to adjust their security policies.
There are relative changes, often imperceptible when they occur in isolation, however, in concert and with context, these changes say a lot about the rearrangement of world geopolitics.
On April 4, Finland officially became the 31st member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is expected that the integration of the Finnish military forces into the NATO command and control system will be easy, thanks to the fact that Finland was part of the “Partnership Interoperability Initiative.”
That program establishes deep connections between NATO and non-member countries that allows them to establish systems and processes that facilitate cooperation. Countries like Australia, Georgia, Jordan, Ukraine, and Sweden are also members of that initiative.
Finland’s accession doubles Russia’s land border with NATO, but the military alliance not only gains territory from which to reinforce the alliance’s northeastern flank (and the Baltics), it also gains an ally with a significant military force, technologically advanced and with a historic grudge against Moscow.
Let’s remember that Finland was invaded by the Soviet Union in November 1939. At that time, Moscow feared that Finland would be used by Germany to attack the city of Leningrad (today Saint Petersburg).
At that time Finland was not a member of any alliance, but still managed to hold off the Soviet forces for months, in what was called the Winter War. In March 1940 Finland signed the Treaty of Moscow in which it ceded 11 percent of its territory to the USSR.
Together with Finland, Sweden applied to join NATO in May 2022, but remains waiting for Turkey to accept it. Under NATO rules, all member countries must approve the entry of new allies. Turkey requires Sweden to implement reforms to go after the funding networks of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed separatist movement branded as terrorist organization.
NATO’s Secretary General is confident that Sweden can be formally admitted to the alliance in July. This confidence emanates from the polls that put the main political rival of Turkish President Erdoğan, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (KK), 12 points ahead in the upcoming elections on May 14. KK announced that, if he wins the presidency of his country, he will lift the political veto on Sweden to join NATO.
On the other side of the world, in North America, Mexico, Canada and the United States carried out the NAMSI PACEX 2023 naval exercise off the coast of Manzanillo at the end of March. Fortunately, despite the current political rhetoric, the Secretary of the Navy (SEMAR) maintains a bond of cooperation with its partners, both of which are NATO members.
The spirit of these exercises serves to facilitate cooperation and interoperability between naval forces. It would be worthwhile for the Mexican armed forces to explore additional options to increase their interoperability capacity, so that when political resistance fades, Mexico has the option of formally and relatively easily integrate into the geopolitical camp of free democratic countries.
The Transatlantic Security Initiative, in the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, shapes and influences the debate on the greatest security challenges facing the North Atlantic Alliance and its key partners.