Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Monday announced he's voting against Finland’s and Sweden’s campaigns to join NATO, saying the United States needs to refocus its military efforts on China—not Europe and Russia.
Earlier this year, the heads of state of both Nordic countries announced their intentions to join the 27-member military alliance. And last month, key NATO member Turkey announced that it received guarantees from Sweden and Finland and suggested it would block their bids.
“America’s greatest foreign adversary doesn’t loom over Europe. It looms in Asia. I am talking of course about the People’s Republic of China," Hawley wrote. "And when it comes to Chinese imperialism, the American people should know the truth: the United States is not ready to resist it. Expanding American security commitments in Europe now would only make that problem worse—and America, less safe.”
'We Must Choose'A number of Republicans have publicly backed the two nations' bids to join NATO. In May, Hawley was among 11 GOP senators to vote against a $40 billion Ukraine aid package that was eventually passed in Congress and signed into law.
In his opinion article, the Missouri Republican said the United States doesn't have the ability to take on Russia and China at the same time. His announcement comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday visited Taiwan amid threats from the Chinese Communist Party as well as Chinese military posturing in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.
“As the 2018 and 2022 U.S. 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,” Hawley wrote, adding, “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.”
Echoing statements from former President Donald Trump years ago, Hawley further argued that some NATO member states should take more responsibility in defending the continent by providing more funding to their militaries and not relying on the United States.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed a symbolic resolution to back Finland's and Sweden's NATO bids, which is opposed by Russia. In late June, Russian officials issued a new warning to the Nordic nations about "serious military consequences" that may occur if they join.