The Senate voted on Wednesday to admit Sweden and Finland into NATO.
The Senate voted to ratify Finland and Sweden’s applications to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The two northern European countries sought to join the defensive treaty organization after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Each country must ratify Sweden and Finland’s application to be admitted to NATO.
The Senate overwhelmingly approved the application for both countries 95-1. Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly approved of the measure, while Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) voted no, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) voted present.
The Senate voted before the ratification vote on an amendment proposed by Paul that would stipulate that Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty would not supersede Congress’s sole authority to declare war. The Senate rejected the motion, 10-87.
Not at all Republicans supported the ratification of Sweden and Finland’s application.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) earned the ire of his Republican colleagues when he announced on Monday that he would oppose admitting Sweden and Finland into NATO.
In his op-ed for the National Interest, Hawley wrote that the expansion of NATO would obligate the United States to defend more countries at a time when America needs to realign its posture towards curbing an expansionist China. He also contended that many European NATO members do not meet their NATO obligations to spend two percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defense.
Hawley said in a Senate floor speech ahead of the vote that America needs to focus on China rather than European defense:
Today’s vote to expand NATO presents a simple choice: either we do more in Europe – more troops, more resources, more spending – or we focus on our #1 adversary, China. We can’t prioritize both
Today’s vote to expand NATO presents a simple choice: either we do more in Europe – more troops, more resources, more spending – or we focus on our #1 adversary, China. We can’t prioritize both pic.twitter.com/DJdU0uU8Br
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) August 3, 2022
The NATO vote represents the latest divergence between Senate Republicans who prefer the more traditional Republican hawkish view on foreign policy, and those who prefer a less interventionist foreign policy.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said ahead of the vote, “If any senator finds a defensible excuse to vote no, I wish them good luck.”
Other Senate Republicans have been critical of Hawley’s stance against NATO expansion.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) found it “curious” that Hawley would be against admitting Finland and Sweden into NATO while approving of North Macedonia and Montenegro into the organization.
“I think it’s mistaken. We don’t beat China by retreating from the rest of the world. We beat China by standing with our allies against our enemies,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) wrote in an op-ed, “A stronger NATO allows America to focus on the threat of Communist China.
Hawley and ten other Senate Republicans voted against granting Ukraine $40 billion in aid.
Hawley has remained steadfast in his support of realigning America’s foreign policy.
“American security. Protecting American workers. Defending American jobs. Securing American prosperity. And I fear that some in this town have lost sight of that,” Hawley said on the floor.
.@HawleyMO: American foreign policy must be about “American security. Protecting American workers. Defending American jobs. Securing American prosperity.
And I fear that some in this town have lost sight of that.” pic.twitter.com/6aZwLGjSCS
— Abigail Marone 🇺🇸 (@abigailmarone) August 3, 2022