Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International studies

Committee Director

Richard Maass

Committee Member

Regina Karp

Committee Member

Aaron Karp


Following the reemergence of Russia as an aggressive power to the east and the invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, Sweden and Finland have decided to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). With the additions of Sweden and Finland, the security dynamic of the Baltic will change. The United States (US) has been the backbone of NATO since the Soviet Union, fell and as such, NATO has continued to be a major part of US foreign policy (USFP). If Finland and Sweden join NATO, then one of three scenarios will occur within USFP: (1) USFP in the Baltic becomes less involved because of the cohesive military presence created by NATO in the Baltic Sea becoming a sufficient deterrent to outside aggression; (2) USFP in the Baltic becomes more involved because NATO, while supplemented by Finnish and Swedish forces, is still not a strong enough deterrent to outside aggression; (3) the security dynamic remains the same, and the level of US involvement in the Baltic does not change as outside actors still pose a general threat to the border nations. This research outlines and evaluates these three scenarios through the use of alliance theory, current and past events, and comparative analysis. With the use of five variables based in alliance theory, this research ascertains that scenario (1) is the direction USFP will go as Finland and Sweden aid in crafting a cohesive deterring force allowing USFP resources to be focused elsewhere while still providing the Article 5 security guarantee.


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