17 May 2022

It’s Africa’s Century—for Better or Worse

Adam Tooze

In the coming decades, we face a revolutionary shift in the balance of world affairs—and it is likely not the one you are thinking of.

Since the 1990s, the idea that we might be entering an “Asian century” has preoccupied and disorientated the West. However, once we take in view the long sweep of history, the return of China and India to the center stage of world affairs is less a revolution than a restoration.

For most of the last 2,000 years, the great Chinese and Indian empires were the center of world trade and home to the most sophisticated civilizations. Their growing influence in the world today is the rectification of the anomaly that arose in the 1700s as a result of the yawning divergence in per capita income between “the West” and “the rest.” Successive industrial revolutions and waves of colonial conquest created a world in which economic and military power was radically misaligned with population.

Ukraine War: The Limits of Traditional Naval Power and the Rise of Collective and Civilian Seapower

Basil Germond

The illegal invasion of the sovereign state of Ukraine by the Russian Federation has been met with an unprecedented level of coordinated sanctions imposed on Russian assets and individuals, as well as with arms transfers to Ukraine. This was not unexpected though. As President
Biden said, ‘we prepared extensively and carefully. We spent months building coalitions of other freedom-loving nations […] to confront Putin’. Ukraine’s resilience and resistance has also been underestimated by Russia. The strongest political and material support to Ukraine has come from Western countries. However, these countries can also be defined in terms of their strong connection to the global maritime order (from the US to the UK, and from Japan to Australia) and their dominance thereof. Whereas this has not translated into an effective use of naval power in support of Ukraine’s defence, I argue that seapower and its collective leverage in this war shall be understood more comprehensively, which requires to account for its civilian dimension.

Opinion – The Impact of the Russia-Ukraine War on European Nationalism

David Pimenta

On 24 February 2022, Europe saw the re-emergence of mass ethnic conflict, fuelled by nationalism, when Vladimir Putin´s Russia invaded Ukraine, accusing Volodymyr Zelensky’s government of attacking ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. On that day, Europe had a wake-up call. About thirty years ago the Soviet Union collapsed and Francis Fukuyama announced the definitive triumph of liberal democracy over other ideologies and the establishment of a kind of Kantian perpetual peace, managed by the West. However, the subsequent events in Europe and around the world in the following years demonstrated that nationalism is not dead and the present conflict in Ukraine is a piece of unquestionable evidence.

Considering Anthony Smith’s ethnosymbolic approach, my observation and reflection of the nationalism phenomenon regard the ideology and nationalist political movements as predominantly modern while acknowledging that nations occur in every period of history; limiting the analysis of nations and the nationalism phenomenon to a static moment of history (e.g. Industrial Age) is insufficient. If it is clear that nationalism has been very present in Eastern European countries in recent decades, it is also unrealistic to think that nationalism disappeared from the Western major nations of Europe and North America.

Semiconductor Investments Won’t Pay Off If Congress Doesn’t Fix the Talent Bottleneck

Jeremy Neufeld

In the coming weeks, a conference committee will begin to hash out the differences between the House and Senate versions of major legislation to compete with China: the Senate’s United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) and the House’s America Competes Act. Both bills appropriate $52 billion to fund the Chips for America Act and reshore the semiconductor industry, but only the House bill includes critical provisions to provide the talent necessary to make sure these federal investments actually pay off.

If these provisions are not included in the final bill, newly funded fabs will not be able to fill all of the necessary advanced STEM jobs in the face of persistent shortages of U.S. workers with the necessary expertise. In Arizona, where the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is building a new $12 billion dollar fab, progress has already been delayed by months because the company is having difficulty filling engineering jobs. Fortunately, both House and Senate versions of the legislation include investments in domestic STEM education, but this is a long-term strategy that will not yield dividends within the quick timeline that new plants need to be up and running.

Europe’s Quest to Replace Russian Gas Faces Plenty of Hurdles

Clifford Krauss

HOUSTON — Russia’s natural-gas supplies have become a tool of leverage in its conflict with Europe over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And the stakes are high for Europe, which relies on Russia for 40 percent of the gas that warms and lights its homes and businesses.

The confrontation also poses a challenge for the world gas market, which has generally endured less price volatility and political manipulation than oil in times of crisis.

Europe is turning to the United States to make up part of the shortfall, but fossil fuel expansion faces resistance over climate concerns and investor reluctance. Gas producers in North Africa are contending with regional political turbulence. And hopes for new gas from the eastern Mediterranean have been complicated by regional disputes and competition from Asia.

North Korea Cybercrimes Undermine Sanctions and Threaten America

Bruce Klingner


Cybercrimes are more efficient, cost-effective, and lucrative than Pyongyang’s past illicit activities.

Addressing North Korea’s cyber threat should be a U.S. national priority that requires a comprehensive whole-of-government response.

North Korea is a direct threat to the security of the United States, its allies, and the international financial system.

What’s the Endgame in Ukraine?

Emma Ashford and Matthew Kroenig

Emma Ashford: Greetings from the Most Magical Place on Earth™, Matt! I may be a little distracted during today’s debate, as I’ll be simultaneously enjoying Disney World with my family. But it should be fine—after all, it’s a small world.

Matthew Kroenig: Ha. But you can’t avoid politics anywhere—not even at Disney—these days. Did Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis make you pay higher taxes for your entrance tickets?

EA: At these prices, who can tell?

MK: Fortunately, we don’t debate domestic politics in this column, and there is plenty going on in the less magical places on Earth. Should we start with the ongoing war in Ukraine?

Four Lessons that Should Upend the Pentagon’s Five-Year Strategy

Though many of today’s national-security discussions are focused on the war in Ukraine or congressional action on the 2023 budget, a far more important, strategic, and bureaucratic battle is taking place inside the Pentagon over the 2024 program build.

For those who are unfamiliar with Pentagon jargon and timelines: from January to July, the services build their five-year budget proposals, called “the Program.” Since the 2023 budget now lies with Congress, the armed services are currently building the 2024-29 Program, which will be submitted to the Office of the Secretary of Defense in July. The services build their program based upon the Defense Planning Guidance, detailed instructions and resource levels given to them by OSD. From August to November, the services defend these programs to the OSD staff, much in the same way a doctoral candidate defends their thesis. In December, the President’s Office of Management and Budget provides final topline financial guidance and in January, the budget goes to the printer to be submitted to Congress in February. (Of course, this schedule is in an ideal world.)

Out-of-bounds investments: How some American investors are helping the Chinese military

Hello and happy Thursday! On this date in 1958, the United States and Canada agreed on the creation of the North American Air Defense Command, eventually becoming the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Interesting fact: NORAD’s alternate command center is built into Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado, and includes 15 buildings inside the mountain—one mile from the facility entrance and 2,000 feet below the mountain’s peak.

Interestingly, it was in a similar facility where Steve Hayes provided my first indoctrination “lesson” after joining The Dispatch. Between sessions of being waterboarded with Spanish wine while he yelled, “WE DON’T DRINK MERLOT,” Steve also explained that a big part of what we want to do at The Dispatch is to introduce and explain topics that are important, but perhaps not familiar. This newsletter discusses one such topic—the national security risks of some American foreign direct investment (FDI), also called “outbound investment.”

Russia Is Right: The US Is Waging a Proxy War in Ukraine


The war in Ukraine isn’t just a conflict between Moscow and Kyiv, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently declared. It is a “proxy war” in which the world’s most powerful military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is using Ukraine as a battering ram against the Russian state.

Lavrov is one of the most reliable mouthpieces for President Vladimir Putin’s baseless propaganda, but in this case he’s not wrong. Russia is the target of one of the most ruthlessly effectively proxy wars in modern history. And the less U.S. officials say about it, the better.

Proxy wars are longstanding tools of great-power rivalry because they allow one side to bleed the other without a direct clash of arms. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union bled the U.S. by supporting communist proxies in Korea and Vietnam.

Leveraging Machine Learning for Operation Assessment

Daniel Egel, Ryan Andrew Brown, Linda Robinson

The authors describe an approach for leveraging machine learning to support assessment of military operations. They demonstrate how machine learning can be used to rapidly and systematically extract assessment-relevant insights from unstructured text available in intelligence reporting, operational reporting, and traditional and social media. These data, already collected by operational-level headquarters, are often the best available source of information about the local population and enemy and partner forces but are rarely included in assessment because they are not structured in a way that is easily amenable to analysis. The machine learning approach described in this report helps overcome this challenge.

The approach described in this report, which the authors illustrate using the recently concluded campaign against the Lord's Resistance Army, enables assessment teams to provide commanders with near-real-time insights about a campaign that are objective and statistically relevant. This machine learning approach may be particularly beneficial in campaigns with limited or no assessment-specific data, common in campaigns with limited resources or in denied areas. This application of machine learning should be feasible for most assessment teams and can be implemented with publicly and freely available machine learning tools pre-authorized for use on U.S. Department of Defense systems.

Moldova’s Fragile Defenses: Impaired Neutrality and Deceptive Hopes

Dumitru Minzarari

It is unusual for the Moldovan Ministry of Defense to publicly disavow statements of top officials from the United States. Yet this is exactly what the ministry did on its social media account, implicitly contradicting the words of Avril Haines, the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Speaking during the Tuesday (May 10) hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Haines reportedly suggested that Russia is likely to embark in the next few months on an increasingly “unpredictable” and “potentially escalatory” trajectory that likely includes an attempt to establish a land bridge to Moldova’s Transnistrian region (Newsmaker.md, May 10), which is under the control of the Russian military. The Moldovan defense ministry press service asked the national media to “avoid any speculations” and “not take out of context the statements of […] Avril Haines” in order to prevent “creating a state of anxiety and fear in the society” (Facebook.com/MDAarmy, May 10).

Exploring the Civil-Military Divide over Artificial Intelligence

James Ryseff, Eric Landree, Noah Johnson, Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar

Artificial intelligence (AI) is anticipated to be a key capability for enabling the U.S. military to maintain its military dominance. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)'s engagement with leading high-tech private sector corporations, for which the military is a relatively small percentage of their customer base, provides a valuable conduit to cutting-edge AI-enabled capabilities and access to leading AI software developers and engineers. To assess the views of software engineers and other technical staff in the private sector about potential DoD applications of AI, a research team conducted a survey that presented a variety of scenarios describing how the U.S. military might employ AI and asked respondents to describe their comfort level with using AI in these ways. The scenarios varied several factors, including the degree of distance from the battlefield, the destructiveness of the action, and the degree of human oversight over the AI algorithm. The results from this survey found that most of the U.S. AI experts do not oppose the basic mission of DoD or the use of AI for many military applications.

Early Predictive Indicators of Contractor Performance

Philip S. Anton, William Shelton, James Ryseff

Getting early indication of potential contractor performance risks and contract execution issues is critical for proactive acquisition management. When contractors are in danger of not meeting contractual performance goals, Department of the Air Force (DAF) acquisition management may not be fully aware of the shortfall until, for example, a schedule deadline is missed, government testing indicates poor system's technical performance, or costs exceed expectations.

Concerns continue to be raised about cost and schedule growth in acquisition and experts postulate about a lack of knowledge about the status of acquisition programs. In this report, the authors focus on metrics to identify emerging execution problems earlier than traditional acquisition oversight systems to enable more-proactive risk and performance management. They summarize their findings, which include a taxonomy of contractor relative risks, leading indicators of performance, relevant data sources, risk measures and equations, and a prototype that implements some of these findings using real data sources. This research should be of interest to acquisition professionals and leadership who are searching for ways to improve acquisition performance through early identification of potential relative contractor risks and execution problems to inform active program management and mitigation of risks. The prototype should be of interest to acquisition officials (from program managers to milestone decision authorities) to help them access more data in an easy-to-understand way so they can focus their limited time on areas that require increased management attention. This approach should be useful during any phase of the acquisition process.

Managing Response to Significant Cyber Incidents

Quentin E. Hodgson, Aaron Clark-Ginsberg, Zachary Haldeman

Cyber incident response has evolved based on systems and processes developed for other types of incident response, such as response to natural hazards. Large-scale cyber incidents that would have an impact on the United States' national and homeland security, economic security, and public safety and welfare to date are rare. However, they may have additional complications that make them more complex to plan for, including challenges in distinguishing the early stages of a significant cyber incident from a more quotidian incident, and the diversity of stakeholders involved. In this report, RAND researchers compare and contrast incident response for cyber and other types of hazards, both human-caused and natural, to derive initial insights into their similarities and distinctions. The report suggests some ways to improve preparedness for cyber incident response and propose additional areas requiring further research. Recommendations include developing more rigorous and dynamic joint public-private exercises, conducting further analysis to identify how systems could fail through a cyber attack to inform early warning efforts, and developing decision mechanisms and shared understandings that will facilitate coordinated activation and execution of incident response plans.

Outer Space and the Veil of Ignorance: An Alternative Way to Think About Space Regulation

Douglas C. Ligor and Luke J. Matthews

Outer space continues to get more and more dangerous and more “congested, contested, and competitive” than at any point in history. In 1976, for example, only about 750 satellites (PDF) were in orbit around the earth; as of January 5 this year, there were 12,480, with tens of thousands more expected in the years to come. SpaceX alone has been granted licenses to launch 12,000 more Starlink satellites over the next five years as part of its megaconstellation efforts. Other companies and countries are following suit: Amazon plans to launch over 3,000 satellites, Britain's OneWeb plans to launch nearly 100,000, and China plans to launch nearly 13,000. In 2013, there were approximately 21,000 pieces of debris (PDF) about the diameter of a softball or larger, and about 500,000 pieces at least the size of a marble; in 2022, those numbers have grown to 36,500 and 1 million respectively. Any debris in space can be incredibly dangerous: While a wrench dropped by a sailor sinks harmlessly to the bottom of the ocean, a wrench dropped in space becomes a 7,000 meter per second projectile (PDF) capable of destroying a satellite or space station.

Russian troops are proving that cell phones in war zones are a very bad idea


It’s been a nightmare scenario for U.S. commanders for years: An amphibious readiness group sails stealthily towards its objective, one reckless Marine or sailor goes topside and uses a personal cell phone to check Facebook, revealing the position of the assault ship. The Chinese or Russians quickly detect the cell phone signal in the middle of the ocean and realize they can’t miss. The enemy fires its anti-ship ballistic or cruise missiles at Pfc./Seaman Schmuckatelli as he posts a meme and suddenly the entire ship along with thousands of sailors and Marines are lying on the ocean floor.

To some, this type of scenario may seem as hyperbolic as warnings that wearing white socks in combat could give away your location to the enemy, but Russian troops in Ukraine have shown the perils of using cell phones in modern-day warzones.

J-20: The Ultimate Guide To China’s Own ‘F-35’ Stealth Fighter

Peter Suciu

China’s J-20 stealth fighter has been making the rounds on the internet for years now. How good is this fighter in actual combat operations? Could it say, for example, take on a U.S. stealth fighter like the F-22 or F-35 or something from Russia? The South China Morning Post reported this recently that China’s J-20 stealth aircraft has been “making regular patrols over the East and South China Seas.” It was the first official confirmation that the country’s most advanced warplane was operating over such a wide area.

In addition, the statement from the aircraft’s developer also touted that the fifth-generation fighter is now powered by newly developed, domestically-built engines. That could likely increase the capabilities of the aircraft, which had previously been powered by Russian-made Al-31F engines as well as the indigenously-produced WS-10B. Both those engines were designed for less advanced aircraft.

Must-Read in International Security! “Pier Competitor: China’s Power Position in Global Ports”

Isaac Kardon and Wendy Leutert

China is a leader in the global transportation industry, with an especially significant position in ocean ports. A mapping of every ocean port outside of China reveals that Chinese firms own or operate terminal assets in ninety-six ports in fifty-three countries. An original dataset of Chinese firms’ overseas port holdings documents the geographic distribution, ownership, and operational characteristics of these ports. What are the international security implications of China’s global port expansion? An investigation of Chinese firms’ ties to the Party-state reveals multiple mechanisms by which the Chinese leadership may direct the use of commercial port assets for strategic purposes. International port terminals that Chinese firms own and operate already provide dual-use capabilities to the People’s Liberation Army during peacetime, establishing logistics and intelligence networks that materially enable China to project power into critical regions worldwide. But this form of networked state power is limited in wartime because it depends on commercial facilities in non-allied states. By providing evidence that overseas bases are not the sole index of global power projection capabilities, findings advance research on the identification and measurement of sources of national power. China’s leveraging of PRC firms’ transnational commercial port network constitutes an underappreciated but consequential form of state power projection.

Western Sanctions Are ‘Beginning to Bite’ Into Russia’s Military

Jack Detsch and Robbie Gramer

U.S. and British officials believe that damaging international sanctions slapped on Russia over its full-scale invasion of Ukraine are hampering its ability to restock high-tech weapons, such as precision-guided munitions, though Russia still has plenty of conventional ammunition stocks at its disposal to continue to wage war.

The impact of Russia’s sanctions-induced high-tech military shortages have been spotted by Western governments, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered troops into the besieged steel factory in the city of Mariupol, Ukraine, while Russian pilots have rained down “dumb bombs” without advanced precision guidance kits into the city. The Russian military burned through much of its stockpile of advanced weapons in the early days of the war; the United States believes Russia may have fired as many as 12 hypersonic missiles into Ukraine. U.S.-led export controls announced in late February sought to starve Russia of computer chips and semiconductors that could be used in advanced military equipment.

Op-ed | U.S. Antisatellite Test Ban Reveals a New Approach for Security and Sustainability in Space

Brian G. Chow and Brandon W. Kelley

On April 18, Vice President Kamala Harris announced a U.S. commitment to forgo “destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing.” This carefully designed ban has the potential to be the first step in a new approach to security and sustainability in space. If so, the United States will be well-positioned to ensure peace and prosperity in space in the emerging era. However, if the U.S. continues its present course, it is unlikely to counter the range of space threats emerging over this decade and beyond.

To succeed, the new U.S. approach must be characterized by three elements.

First, it must be unilateral and multilateral, synthesizing concerns of both hawks and doves. The U.S. should continue to lead the West in seeking multilateral consensus on norms and agreements, whether voluntary or binding, including with our potential adversaries, particularly China and Russia. At the same time, the U.S. must employ unilateral measures for several purposes: to lead in establishing new rules and norms, to influence other actors’ incentives toward consensus and compliance, and to ensure that deterrence and crisis stability hold even if adversaries refuse to join or subsequently defect from these agreements. Unfettered freedom of action and unilateralism alone are unnecessary and counterproductive, but so is being overly sanguine about the intent of other actors or beholden to slow, consensus-driven international forums — what is needed is a careful synthesis of both unilateral and multilateral measures. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s anemic response provides a stark reminder that we cannot rely solely on agreements nor presume our values are shared.

What the War in Ukraine Means

Kurtis Minder

Amid the largely kinetic activity involving the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, numerous shifts in the cyber landscape are occurring. Leading up to the military invasion, Putin made overtures of cyber recourse to his global opponents. Over the last week, the cyber tables turned against him. In addition to Ukraine’s cyber offensive operations, Russia has been hit by cyber-attacks from vigilante groups like Anonymous and recruits worldwide.

Also, when the banks closed, the ATMs in Ukraine quickly ran out of hard currency. Many Ukrainian citizens then turned to cryptocurrency to pay for their gas and groceries. Suddenly, the concept of decentralized finance made sense in a real-world scenario. Central banks aren’t functioning. So, out of cash, how do we pay for things? Crypto is the answer.

China ‘Deeply Alarmed’ By SpaceX’s Starlink Capabilities That Is Helping US Military Achieve Total Space Dominance

Tanmay Kadam

A recent commentary in the official newspaper of the Chinese armed forces suggested that the international community should be on high alert for the risks associated with the Starlink satellite internet system, as the US military could potentially use it for dominating outer space.

The commentary came one day ahead of SpaceX’s launch of the Falcon 9 rocket that took off on May 6 from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, carrying 53 Starlink internet satellites to the low-earth orbit (LEO).

“SpaceX has decided to increase the number of Starlink satellites from 12,000 to 42,000 – the program’s unchecked expansion and the company’s ambition to use it for military purposes should put the international community on high alert,” said the article on China Military Online, the official news website affiliated with the Central Military Commission (CMC), China’s highest national defense organization headed by President Xi Jinping himself.

The cyber war between Ukraine and Russia: An overview

James Pearson and Christopher Bing

May 10 (Reuters) - Ahead of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Western intelligence agencies warned of potential cyberattacks which could spread elsewhere and cause "spillover" damage on global computer networks.

While there has been little evidence of spillover to date, the cyberwar in Ukraine rages on. The following is an overview of how the conflict has unfolded in cyberspace:


In 2021, groups aligned with Russian security services began laying the groundwork for a military incursion, according to Microsoft. read more

Chinese Views of the US and Russia After the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Richard Q. Turcsanyi

Weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Chinese were unapologetically positive about Russia and highly negative about the United States, according to a survey of public opinion conducted online in mainland China with a research sample of 3,039 respondents in March 2022. The recently published report “Chinese views of the world at the time of the Russia-Ukraine war” sums up some of the main findings of the survey and offers a glimpse of the public sentiments in China when it comes to views of the world – and China’s place in it – at the time of the height of Chinese public attention to Russia-Ukraine war.

The survey was conducted by an international team of researchers coordinated by Palacky University Olomouc, Czechia, as part of its research project “Sinophone Borderlands – Interaction at the Edges,” funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Can Russia and the West Survive a Nuclear Crisis in Ukraine?

Barry R. Posen

Thus, even the preparation of a Russian battlefield use of nuclear weapons would likely produce at least some preparations for a strategic nuclear exchange. But the aftermath of nuclear attacks will be even worse. The United States will be grasping for tools with which to punish the Russians. It is unlikely that U.S. military planners will be able to assure the president that this is the last Russian move. Instead, U.S. military leaders may advise additional U.S. nuclear preparations. Even if the United States is quite judicious in what those preparations might be, they will surely elicit additional moves from the Russians.

Interview: Why The 'Failure' Of Russian Spies, Generals Is Leading To 'Apocalyptic' Thinking In The Kremlin

Reid Standish

As frustration over its stalled war in Ukraine and curtailed goals on the ground has grown, it appears the Kremlin may have begun to look for enemies within.

Andrei Soldatov, a Russian investigative journalist who has covered the country’s shadowy security services for decades, reported in April that Colonel General Sergei Beseda, the head of the foreign intelligence branch of the Federal Security Service (FSB), was detained and later sent to Moscow’s Lefortovo prison.

Ankara First: How Turkey Is Balancing Between Russia and Ukraine

Harun Karčić

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, Europe’s security landscape has been rapidly changing. Defense spending is up in many European Union countries, NATO’s essence has been reinvigorated and Russia is now not only one of the most sanctioned states in the world but widely perceived as a pariah.

For many European countries, save Hungary and Serbia, picking a side has been rather easy with no strings attached. However, Turkey is in a much more precarious position. Compounding the complexity is its geographical location and its commercial, energy, and military ties with both Russia and Ukraine.

Ukraine Embraces the ‘Messy Middle’ to Win the Drone War

Bryan Clark Dan Patt

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine catapulted unmanned systems to the front lines of modern warfare. Long considered too slow or unsophisticated to fight well-armed opponents, drones like Ukraine’s Turkish-built Bayraktar TB-2s destroyed Russian tanks and boats and reportedly helped sink Russia’s Black Sea Fleet flagship, the Moskva. And autonomous systems from Switchblade and Phoenix Ghost suicide drones to unmanned surface vessels represent the most advanced technologies being provided to Ukraine by the U.S. military.

Despite more than a decade of combat experience with drones, Russian forces have been substantially less effective at employing their own unmanned aircraft. Many of Russia’s small inventory of Orion drones¾a counterpart to the TB2¾were lost to enemy fire. Smaller surveillance and electronic warfare vehicles like the Orlan-10 proved lethal in guiding Russian attacks against potential ambushes, but ultimately failed to enable the assault on Kyiv.

Will the Ukraine Crisis Spillover into Northern Europe?

Mark Episkopos

Finland’s leaders announced on Thursday that they will seek to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) “without delay,” marking a drastic reversal of the neutrality policy adopted by Helsinki in the aftermath of World War II.

“NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance,” President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in a joint statement. “Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay,” the statement added. “We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.” Sweden, which has formally unlinked its NATO membership process from Finland, is reportedly set to follow in the coming weeks.