Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week that the US "would be fortunate to have two new treaty allies as impressive and capable as Finland and Sweden." On Monday, one of his Republican colleagues said he won't support the two countries joining NATO, per the Hill. Sen. Josh Hawley said his reason is China. The US isn't prepared to resist "Chinese imperialism," he wrote in an oped in the National Interest. "Expanding American security commitments in Europe now would only make that problem worse—and America, less safe," Hawley wrote.
The membership bids by Finland and Sweden are popular among members of both parties in Congress, and all 30 nations in the organization have endorsed them. Democrats want a Senate vote before their recess starts next week, after the bids cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee easily this month with bipartisan support, per PBS. In May, Hawley was one of 11 no votes on the $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, and he urged the administration to pull its support for Ukraine joining NATO in February. The US can't take on China and Russia "in two major wars at the same time," Hawley wrote Monday, adding, "We must do less in Europe (and elsewhere) in order to prioritize China and Asia." (More Josh Hawley stories.)