In total, there were 18 people who said no to Sweden's and Finland's in the American House of Representatives. All of these are Republicans and staunch Trump supporters. Many have support from the Freedom Caucus, which consists of ultra-nationalist members and the tea party movement, which tries to get politics to move to the right, and they are often united around various wedge issues, i.e. issues that divide the population. Within these issues, it is also possible to get a lot of campaign money from lobby groups and votes.
Den politiska uppfattningen kommer från den rysk-infiltrerade MAGA-rörelsen med Putins knähund Donald Trump. ”You must understand that if Europe is under attack, we will never come to your aid and support” sa Trump redan 2020 till Europeiska kommissionens ordförande Ursula von der Leyen , enligt franska EU-kommissionären Thierry Breton, som också var närvarade vid ett möte vid World Economic Forum i Davos. Källa Politico
What characterizes these politicians?
Sweden has a very positive reputation in the US and is often a model for democrats who want a welfare society, and thus Sweden is also a red flag for many republicans. Therefore, it is not so strange that the Republicans and CPAC often see Hungary as their closest ally and that they vote against Sweden's security interests. When you look at how these Republicans vote on other issues, here are some examples of what they have on their agenda.
- Climate denial is common in the US and is supported by oil, petroleum, gas and coal companies
- Anti LBTQ issues – supported by the evangelical church and The saving arm
- Laws against gun control - supported by powerful NRA (National Rifle Association)
- Laws against free abortions
- Against Dr. Fauci and his measures against Covid-19.
- Laws against sex trafficking and laws protecting children who have been exposed to pedophilia
- Against international organizations such as NATO, the EU and the UN
- Politicization and change of government as new proposals for the president to be able to fire government officials without reason presented at an America First Luncheon by Republican and former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich
- Against welfare and welfare projects like Obamacare
- Often they refer to themselves as nationalist Christians, which is almost reminiscent of the Taliban, that the church is above legislation and scientific thought
- Many of them do not take an active position against Russia, which they see as an ally
To a large extent, Republican politicians try to attract campaign money from mega donors such as Ken Griffin of Citadel Investment Group, Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone Group, Patrick Ryan of Ryan Specialty Group and Paul Singer. Koch Brothers and Miriam Adelson, as well as Super Pack which Senate Leadership Fund where Rupert Murdoch owner of FoxNews has donated money. At the same time, it is not particularly surprising that the Russians have succeeded infiltrate organizations like the NRA (National Rifle Association).
It has gone so far that Russian propaganda TV has people from this group and from FoxNews with Tucker Carlson to claim that Americans are tired of supporting Ukraine.
In Austria showed a survey that the vaccinated blame the Ukraine war on Russia to a greater extent, while the unvaccinated tend to blame the USA, NATO, Ukraine and the EU. One explanation is that Russian trolls in social media sent anti-vaccine messages to the target group and now they instead promote anti-Ukraine messages. It is not improbable that the same methods are used against the American population on various issues in the same way as was done during Trump campaign 2016.
Sweden has long been a model country for progressive democrats, while ultra-conservatives see us as a cesspool that is often wrongly accused of being socialist and liberal. In a crisis situation, Sweden cannot therefore count on this political branch which apparently sympathizes with Putin's fascist values which they see as conservative - rather than with traditionally Swedish and European liberal values.
Andy Biggs (AriZona's 5th congressional district) and chairman of the Freedom Caucus and is one of the most pro-Russian politicians in the United States. Biggs is one of 8 people who do not want sanctions against Russia or Belarus. Biggs voted against a law re sex trafficking. He was also involved in January 6th storming of Washington on January 6th. He was also one of those who voted against the police receiving the "Congressional Gold Medals" after the riots. Biggs is one of 6 Republicans who voted against investigating war crimes by Russia and that the information should not be transferred to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague (ICC). He voted against the Child Survivors Act, a law that helps victims of child sexual abuse and their families. In the US Congress, he has also said that he was not an idiot. He receives donations from the House Freedom Fund.
Matt Gaetz (Florida) one of Trump's most loyal supporters and member of the Freedom Caucus probably the second craziest in Congress. He has received $547,150 in donations from a Rockefeller heir who had contact with a Russian agent according to Florida Politics. Other quotes from Matt are: “How is it that the women who are least likely to get pregnant are the ones most worried about having an abortion? Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb."As well as about the Ukraine war"I'd much rather go to war over the monarch butterfly than decipher a guy in a tracksuit…” When Zelensky addressed the US Congress in December 2022, he sat down in protest.
Gaetz is suspected of raping a teenager in Florida along with 7 other men after giving them drugs, fake IDs and transporting them across the state line. His friend Joel Greenberg has confessed. The feds have his indictment along with videos, photos and payments and an agreement they sent to Roger Stone.
Gaetz consistently votes against anti-trafficking bills and has himself been accused of paying minors as sugar daddies.
He was one of those who voted against the police getting the "Congressional Gold Medals" after the riots in Washington. Wikipedia
Marjorie "Traitor" Taylor Greene (Georgia) is one of the most extreme in Congress and describes himself as Christian nationalist who have a violent view of the outside world that is somewhat reminiscent of the KuKluxKlan. Marjorie is one of 6 Republicans who voted against investigating war crimes by Russia Some even believe that she will campaign with Donald Trump as a proposal for a new vice president in the next presidential election. She implies that there is a divine reason for pregnancies resulting from a gruesome rape or something. She wants a nationwide abortion ban with no exceptions for rape. She was also involved in the January 6 storming and has more or less attacked other congressmen like AOC. Marjorie voted against a law re sex trafficking and in 2022 she voted against the Child Survivors Act, a law helping victims of child sexual abuse and their families. She receives support from the House Freedom Fund, which provides money from the Freedom Caucus. Wikipedia
Lauren Boebert (Colorado) strong ally of Donald Trump and the far right and considered crazy by many. Pro-gun advocate and born-again Christian. She likened the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the truck protests in Canada and that they also had neighbors who need freedom. Other quotes from Boebert are: “The church should rule the government, not the other way around. The church must influence the government .. The Bible says that the government rests on God's shoulders". She was one of those who voted against the police getting the "Congressional Gold Medals" after the riots. Boebert himself has been accused of working as an escort and voted against a law on sex trafficking. In 2022, she voted against the Child Survivors Act, a law that helps victims of child sexual abuse and their families. In 2020 she only got 51% of the votes so politically she is vulnerable and has stopped debating. When Zelensky spoke to the US Congress, she sat down in protest.
She is a member of the Freedom Caucus and receives money from the House Freedom fund. Wikipedia
Dan Bishop (North Carolina) known for bills such as the bathroom bill that bans transgender people from using public restrooms and has come up with a resolution that equates critical race theory with Marxism and that it is a threat to the United States. He is involved in Homeland security but wants less money for defense. He voted against the Child Survivors Act, a law that helps victims of child sexual abuse and their families. Member of the Freedom Caucus. Wikipedia
Madison “Mad Cow” Cawthorne (North Carolina) describes himself as Christian and climate denier and against gun control. Member of the Freedom Caucus Wikipedia
Ben Cline (Virginia) and one of the 147 Republicans who voted against the election results surrounding Biden as president. West Virgina is a state that receives major support from the Fed. Member of the Freedom Caucus Wikipedia
Michael Cloud (Texas). Was one of those who voted against the police receiving the "Congressional Gold Medals" after the riots in Washington on January 6th. During Zelensky's speech to the US Congress in December 2022, he sat down and shook his head in disapproval. Member of the Freedom Caucus Wikipedia
Warren Davidson (OH) member of the Freedom Caucus. Warren is one of 6 Republicans who voted against investigating war crimes by Russia. When Zelensky spoke to the US Congress, he sat down in protest. Wikipedia
Bob Good (Virginia) from the extreme right who are against LBQQT rights and that the pandemic was "phony". He has been seen in militant groups. Member of the Freedom Caucus. Wikipedia
Thomas Massie (Kentucky) conservative. Massie voted against a law re sex trafficking. He was one of those who voted against the police getting the "Congressional Gold Medals" after the riots in Washington. Massie is one of 6 Republicans who voted against investigating war crimes by Russia. When Zelensky spoke to the US Congress, he probably did not appear in protest. He voted against the Child Survivors Act, a law that helps victims of child sexual abuse and their families.
Tom McClintock member of the Freedom Caucus (California). McClintock voted against a law on sex trafficking. He voted against the Child Survivors Act, a law that helps victims of child sexual abuse and their families. Wikipedia
Ralph Norman (South Carolina) member of the Freedom Caucus. He was one of those who voted against the police getting the "Congressional Gold Medals" after the riots in Washington. He voted against the Child Survivors Act, a law that helps victims of child sexual abuse and their families. Wikipedia
Matthew M. Rosendale Sr. (Montana) member of the Freedom Caucus. He was one of those who voted against the police getting the "Congressional Gold Medals" after the riots in Washington. The state of Montana receives a lot of financial support from the Fed and also has a "secede movement" to get out of the Union. He voted against the Child Survivors Act, a law that helps victims of child sexual abuse and their families. Wikipedia
Chip Roy (Texas). Chip voted against a law re sex trafficking. He was one of those who voted against the police getting the "Congressional Gold Medals" after the riots in Washington. He voted against the Child Survivors Act, a law that helps victims of child sexual abuse and their families. The House Freedom Fund (affiliated with Freedom Caucus) gave $143,000 to his campaign Wikipedia
Jefferson VanDrew (New Jersey) was formerly a Democrat but switched to Republicans after a meeting with Trump and also supported Trump during the Mueller report. He voted against the Child Survivors Act, a law that helps victims of child sexual abuse and their families. Wikipedia
Another Putin supporter is former presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard who has said that the Ukraine war could have easily been avoided if the Biden Admin/NATO had simply recognized Russia's legitimate security concerns regarding Ukraine's joining NATO, which would mean US/NATO forces right at Russia's border. She has said that Russia poses no threat to Sweden or Finland and her biggest donor is Sharon Tennison who is Putin supporters and is suspected of being a foreign agent. Tulsi is no longer in Congress but often appears on FoxNews with crazy stories which in turn are shown on the Russian state TV channels. Tulsi and Tucker Carlson on FoxNews are among the figures that appear most often.
The US Senate approved Sweden's application
In the Senate, one of the questions from Republican Senator Bill Hagerty Tennessee was when Sweden and Finland reach the goal of spending 2% of the budget on defense. Where the answer was that Finland reaches the goal with 2.2 for 2022 and Sweden has said that it should be done as soon as possible and by 2028 at the latest. They also want to strengthen Battle groups on the eastern side, i.e. the Baltics.
The US Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee has supported Finland's and Sweden's accession to NATO. The 22-member panel approved the expansion by voice vote, with only one member — Republican Sen. Rand Paul — asking to be listed as "present."
The full 100-member US Senate approved Finland's and Sweden's membership by 95 votes to one, significantly more than the required two-thirds majority.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) called the vote "a signal to Russia: that they cannot intimidate America or Europe."
Among the Russian-friendly senators is the Republican Rand Paul from Kentucky, who is an odd bird in the Senate because he is not usually quite extreme in, for example, his criticism of how the country handled Covid. Rand Paul has also managed to block the 99 senators who wanted to create a resolution that Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism and has written this blog post about Sweden's NATO application.
As for Sweden and Finland, we still need a serious, rational and objective debate about the costs and benefits of recognizing two historically neutral nations that have such a strategic geographic position in relation to Russia. Before the Russian invasion, I would have said no. However, given Russia's actions, I have shifted from being against their entry into NATO to neutral on the issue, and as a consequence will vote "present".
The Senate rejected Paul's efforts to attach an amendment to the ratification that would have expressly stated that the United States' Article 5 obligations would not override Congress's constitutional right to authorize the use of military force.
Another who will say no is the populist and theocrat Josh Hawley of Missouri who became famous as the guy who ran for the Senate during the January 6th storming and tried to have the election of President Biden annulled. Hawley is a Trumpist and i National interest Josh justifies his decision by saying that America's European allies need to spend more on their national defense and that the US needs to prioritize China.
Mike Lee the Utah Republican abstained. He is famous for likening Donald Trump to Captain Moroni a hero from the Book of Mormon and tried to have the presidential election rejected.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (Democrat from Virginia) has also said that he believed the world had not yet seen Russia's "full cyber power," and he warned at the Aspen Security Conference (an event supported by the Koch brothers) that Sweden and Finland's entry into NATO could be tempting targets for future Russian cyberattacks.
Republicans like DeSantis and Trump are inspired by Viktor Orbán
Donald Trump has been quiet about Sweden and Finland in NATO, but he has long been a NATO skeptic. Regarding the war in Ukraine, he thought that Ukraine should "give up" territory in Crimea and give commitments not to join NATO and he thought that would be enough for Russia not to invade the country!
There are currently few clear challengers to Trump, but Ron DeSantis will probably be a strong Republican presidential candidate whose politics are influenced by Hungary's Viktor Orbán who is perhaps one of Putin's main advocates and has been very quiet about his criticism of Russia.
Orbán has been speaker at CPAC when the event was in Hungary and will be a speaker at CPAC Texas which is considered the most important Republican conference and is apparently seen as inspiration by the ultra-right phalanx of the Republicans. Orbán claims it is not our war and blames the war on the West for not accepting Russia's security demands. His long-time adviser Zsuzsa Hegedus has resigned because she found his speeches on racial mixing and anti-immigration too reminiscent of the Nazis, according to a article in the Guardian.
DeSantis has been clear that the US should not defend countries that do not meet the goal of spending 2% of their GDP on defense costs.
What is happening to America First and the MAGA movement?
The MAGA (Make America Great Again) movement originally came from the tea party movement with ultra conservative politicians. Since then, the movement has developed into a grouping with several militant elements and militias such as:
- Proud Boys is a neo-fascist organization. They were involved in the attack on the Capitol.
- Oathkeepers is a right-wing radical militia and anti-authorities. They were involved in the attack on the Capitol.
- 3%ers is a right-wing extremist militia found in the United States and Canada with a libertarian orientation and against the government. They were involved in the attack on the Capitol.
- QAnon is movement that believes in conspiracies and is supported by 15% of the US population
- The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association is a political organization and militia consisting of Richard Mack and his renegade CSPOA local police officers who claim to be 400 strong
Often their propaganda is spread through FoxNews, Infowars but the militia also has radio stations like Why-U LP. Just FoxNews is very common on the American military bases, which is very strange because it risks radicalizing the military troops. I personally have an acquaintance in the military who has radical ideas certainly inspired by FoxNews.
There are also controversial figures such as Mikael Flynn, Roger Stone and Steve Bannon who spread undemocratic ideas, often with connections to Russia. Mikael Flynn was Trump's security adviser the table of honor next to Putin back in 2015. In recent years he has been involved in what is called the Dominionist movement which is an important part of Trump's base and they are trying to tear down the wall between church and state and try to make the USA a theocracy. The Dominionist movement mainly contains these groups groups.
- Christian Reconstructionists which is a fundamentalist branch that is libertarian and wants the death penalty for homosexuals and blasphemers
- Christian Nationalists a church that wants the United States to be a Christian nation and is supported by the Christian Liberty Party. In Russia, Vladmir Putin has been described as the leader of this church!
- New Apostolic Reformationists (NAR) and Bethel Church. They believe that Jews must convert to Christianity to hasten the end times.
- Prosperity Gospel which believes that prayer can make you rich and has its roots in the occult. Many of the evangelical leaders have supported Trump.
- Neo-Confederates who thought the American South during the American Civil War was good and believed in a limited power of the state
- Independent Network Christianity
- Hillsong which is a global megachurch also large in Brazil but marred by scandals and connections with controversial organizations
- Quiverful - a church that sees large families as a blessing from God and thinks you should refrain from contraception
- Vineyard – an evangelical global church
- QAnon - they believe in conspiracy theories
When Pew research examined the Republican voters, they found four conservative groups in their data after the election, so even if there are 18 people who vote no to Sweden, it is a minority in the Republican Party.
- Faith and Flag Conservatives is the oldest group, they strongly support former President Donald Trump and mistakenly believe he won the 2020 election (10 percent of adults).
- Committed Conservatives are the conservative group with the highest levels of education and are less likely to support another Trump presidential campaign than other solid conservative groups (7 percent of adults).
- Populist Right are working-class conservatives who strongly support Trump and want him to run again (11 percent of adults).
- Ambivalent Right are younger and more diverse than other conservative groups and are the least supportive of Trump (12 percent of adults).
If you add all of this together, it becomes 40 percent of the country's adult population.
Sweden needs to strengthen its defense
Republicans and Trump profited from working actively with Russian intelligence already from the 2016 presidential election onwards. The Russians support the ideology of the ultra-right and want to split the transatlantic connection through various wedge issues that divide populations. Europe cannot count on American support, especially if America First and the ultra-nationalist Republicans with their pro-Russian policies come to power again.
In addition to defence, Europe needs to think about its intelligence activities. The Americans exercise active intelligence against companies and politicians in Europe and Swedish companies such as SAAB. At the same time, the Russians carry out cyber and covert operations against the United States and democracies. This means that dark forces gain advantages over liberal Europe. Europe needs an intelligence service that helps support democratic values in the US and other countries.