At first glance, it was the military crash in Ukraine between Russia and Ukraine the last straw that breaks the camel's back for Sweden and Finland to finally decide to join the Nato. Russia's "special military operation" in Ukraine, which started on 24th February of this year, has of its serious and far-reaching consequences for Nato and these two Scandinavian states, for Russia and Europe's security.
In reality, Sweden and Finland have taken the unique chance and occasion given to them to finish the journey they started a long time ago first to approach the Nato and then to become members of this military alliance and to justify the abandonment of their policy of neutrality. Despite Turkey's seemingly resolute opposition, Nato will surely soon wrap up its new - and another - round of extension.
The confrontation between Nato and Russia in Europe will reach new heights. Nato's extension was and has still been an always very sensitive issue for Russia and is perceived by Russia as an immensely dangerous security threat. Preventing Ukraine from joining Nato was one reason for Russia to unleash its military operation in Ukraine. For years, maybe even for decades to come, significant or remarkable improvements in the relationship between Nato and Russia would be impossible. No mutual trust and confidence anymore at present and it would be very hard and take a long time for both to build and enhance enough mutual trust and confidence so that both could regain the level of bilateral cooperation they had before 2014.
Nato considers Sweden's and Finland's bid to join Nato as a significant defeat for Russia and overwhelmingly enjoys their move. Sweden and Finland might firmly believe to gain better security. But they all will face Russia's reactions and retaliation as well as life with permanent profound security concerns. They will have to pay very expensive prices on many aspects of dealing with Russia in the time to come too. Nato is now playing not only one game with Russia in Ukraine through Ukraine but also another one directly with Russia in Europe.
And this game will define both the outcome of the now ongoing battle in Ukraine, the future of Russia and Ukraine as well as Europe's security. The accession of Sweden and Finland to Nato will finish the ultimate destruction of all existent multilateral security structures and arrangements with Russia's participation in Europe. Their replacements are now not insight. It does not look good for Europe's common security.
Disclaimer: The views expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are of his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Hanoi Times.