In one respect, the Western world might owe a small debt of gratitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas.
If it wasn't for Putin's fruitless invasion of Ukraine — a war that's on the brink of five months in duration "with no end in sight" — it's safe to presume neither Sweden nor Finland join NATO as the 31st and 32nd members, respectively, Fallon said.
On Wednesday, both countries were formally invited to join NATO, which is headlined by the United States, Germany, Spain, France, Canada, Poland, Italy, Norway, United Kingdom and Czech Republic.
Putin "has to realize that invading Ukraine was a terrible strategic blunder," said Fallon on Newsmax Wednesday night, while appearing on "Rob Schmitt Tonight" with guest host Hogan Gidley.
"To have (Sweden) taking a neutral posture for a century" — and skipping out on World War I and World War II — "and then having Sweden becoming part of NATO, I really can't believe it," said Fallon.
The Texas Republican was similarly surprised by Finland's willingness to join NATO, after essentially mimicking the foreign policy direction of the Soviet Union (now Russia) for decades.
NATO additions aside, Gidley asked Fallon — who's up for reelection this November in Texas' 4th District — if Americans should genuinely care about Ukraine-Russia events, since wartime reports are spotty? He also pointed out that U.S. citizens have enough to worry about at home in terms of food shortages, 40-year highs with inflation, record-high prices at the gas pump and chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Without missing a beat, Fallon answered in the affirmative. He reasoned there may be two large oceans separating the United States and Ukraine/Russia (Pacific and Atlantic), but this isn't the time to preach isolationism in America.
"Ukraine has the fourth-most natural resources" of any country in the world, said Fallon. "We need (Ukraine) to be independent, and we don't want to reward Russia" for starting a war.
Also, "China's watching this all very closely," Fallon said. "They want (control of) Taiwan, and they're never going to be stronger than this decade.
"So, I really fear (China's) going to make a move, and if they see Russia have success (in Ukraine), I think they'll be tempted to try" to invade Taiwan, Fallon said.
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