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Neutral countries are no longer neutral, who will lose the most?

  On July 5, 2022, representatives of 30 NATO member states signed the protocol of the accession of Finland and Sweden to the treaty, officially launching the process of NATO’s northern expansion that brings new challenges to European security.
  Previously, a few countries such as Finland, Sweden and Austria were internationally recognized as “permanent neutral countries”. Finland signed the “Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance” with the Soviet Union after World War II, maintaining the status of a neutral country for more than 70 years; Sweden has maintained a military non-aligned history for more than 200 years since 1814. Although Finland and Sweden have cooperated with NATO for a long time, the people of the two countries are still accustomed to regard the “neutral status” as a “force for good”, and the two countries are still among the “country with the highest happiness index” every year. They are also regarded as “bridge builders”. Today, people can’t help but ask: “What would the world look like if neutral countries were no longer neutral, the ‘happy country’ was no longer calm, the ‘power of good’ gradually diminished, and the ‘bridge of communication’ was cut off?”
Two ‘bridge builders’ give up ‘last bottom line’

  The neutral status of both Finland and Sweden has a special historical background. From the second half of the 12th century, Finland was part of Sweden. After the Russo-Swedish War of 1809, the defeated Swedes were forced to cede Finland to the Russians and began to seek a neutral route. Sweden remained neutral in both world wars. Finland was involved in the war against the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1944 when Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union. In February 1947, Finland, as a defeated country, signed the “Paris Peace Treaty” with the Soviet Union, the United States and other countries, and then signed the “Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance” with the Soviet Union in April 1948. Finland and Sweden have been “requested” to join by NATO many times, but the two countries have never “joined”.
  Finland and Sweden have cooperated with NATO since 1994, when they joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace. When NATO carried out military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the two countries were also involved. A political scientist at the University of Helsinki told Finnish National Radio: “Although cooperation with NATO has long been established, Finland has always been conservative about joining NATO. We are sticking to the ‘last line’ because we are worried about angering the East. Neighbors.”
  For the sake of national interests, Sweden’s foreign security policy was summarized by the country’s media as “non-alignment in peace, neutrality in war”. Maintaining neutrality is just a foreign policy of Sweden that has been going on for many years. Various Swedish governments believe that maintaining neutrality can better ensure Sweden’s security. However, in the 1950s, when NATO had only 15 member states, Sweden also had the term “the 16th NATO country”, and the cooperation between Sweden and NATO in areas such as information sharing was strictly confidential.
  Nonetheless, both Finland and Sweden were seen as “the bridge between the West and Russia” after the Cold War. Russians are disappointed and dissatisfied with the fact that the two countries have now changed their neutral status. Russian political scientist Alexander Assafov believes that Finland’s NATO membership was wrong from a geopolitical point of view. When the good-neighborly, friendly and mutually beneficial relationship is destroyed, apart from the military confrontation, the daily life of the people of the two countries will also be affected.
  They are no longer “calm” about Finland and Sweden, and there are voices of concern and regret within Europe. Willy Wimmer, the former secretary of state of the German Bundestag, believes that under the pressure of the United States, the “bridge of communication” between Finland, Sweden and Russia will be artificially cut off, and the two countries will lose their role as neutral countries, which will lead to the loss of a lot of peace in Europe. Assure.
There are still people in Finland and Sweden who value ‘neutrality’

  As the “happiest country” in the world, Finland shares a 1,300-kilometer border with Russia and has a population of only 5.5 million. Talking about the change in public attitudes, Finnish software engineer Dimo ​​said: “I have always been not interested in joining NATO, but since the escalation of the Ukraine crisis, I do feel threatened. After all, Finland has also been ruled by Russia in its history. ”
  Even those who agree to join NATO worry that Finland’s loss of neutral status will increase tensions between Europe and Russia, and could be dragged into other wars by NATO, or even become a vassal of a great power.
  In Sweden, which ranks at the top of the “Happiness Index”, there are still many people who value the status and role of neutral countries. Sweden’s Climate and Environment Minister and Leader of the Social Democratic Women’s Union Strandhall said: “The Social Democratic Women’s Union has a long history of struggles on issues such as peace, disarmament and military non-alignment. Sweden should adhere to a non-aligned security policy, Stay away from NATO.” Among the eight groups in the Swedish parliament, the Green Party and the Left Party explicitly rejected Sweden’s membership in NATO.
  On Swedish social media, the government’s decision to join NATO has also disappointed some young people. Elena Wallström, a 19-year-old SPD member, said the SPD’s platform made it clear that “military non-alignment is an important part of Sweden’s foreign and security policy” and that it would be a betrayal for the party leadership to violate this principle. What worries her most is that “the young men who will be drafted into the army and risk being sent to the battlefield have no voice in the matter”.
Austria continues to remain ‘positively neutral’

  After Finland and Sweden formally signed the protocol to join NATO, Austria, which is also an EU country, has become the most staunch representative of a neutral country. The Austrian government has stated many times that it fully respects the decisions of the governments of Finland and Sweden to join NATO, but Austria will continue to maintain its neutral status. “We do not belong to any military alliance, and we do not want to join such organizations (NATO).”
  When Austria joined the European Union in 1995, it also deliberately added a new clause to the constitution to ensure that actions within the framework of the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy do not violate Austria’s neutrality. As a “NATO partner country”, Austria has been invited to participate in large-scale cyber military exercises held by NATO.
  The Austrian “Standard” wrote an article analyzing the reasons for Austria’s refusal to join NATO: “According to the relevant EU policy, any EU member state is obliged to provide support in the event of an armed invasion, even if the member state is not a NATO member. Austria, which is located in the middle of Europe, is far away from Russia, and its military threat is not as great as that of Finland and Sweden. In addition, about three-quarters of the Austrian people generally oppose joining NATO, and only about 14% fully support it.” The number of
  neutral countries is reduced, naturally Let the international community worry that intermediate communication channels to defuse global crises and conflicts will be affected. Taking Austria as an example, after determining its neutrality status, the country has been implementing a “positive neutrality policy”, acting as a mediator in disputes, providing a negotiating venue for parties in disagreement, and becoming the host country of international organizations. As early as during the Cold War, Austria, because of its neutral status and geographical location between the two major military organizations of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, has repeatedly become a bridge between the two camps of the East and the West. For example, in June 1961, the meeting between then US President Kennedy and Soviet leader Khrushchev was held at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, the capital of Austria. Austria’s unique international status has not only attracted the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Organization of European Security and some United Nations agencies to settle in Vienna. Today, Austria’s diplomatic tradition of actively serving as a “bridge builder” between the East and the West has not changed.
  It is not difficult to see that, taking advantage of the escalation of the Ukraine crisis, the United States continues to create security panic, strongly instigating and encouraging Finland and Sweden to join NATO, making the strategic security confrontation between European countries and Russia enter a vicious circle, using military bloc confrontation to seek absolute security and coercing the region. Partners taking sides will only exacerbate global uncertainty and turmoil.