Should Sweden and Finland join NATO? The war in Ukraine has upended the two Nordic states’ long-standing policy of formal—if not always de facto—neutrality and tilted public opinion sharply in favor of joining the Western Alliance. Pro-NATO sentiment is especially strong among the pundit class, where support for this new course of action has become almost unanimous.

There has been a temptation to interpret the broad upsurge in pro-NATO sentiment across Europe as an unalloyed good for the West. No less a figure than Francis Fukuyama has expressed the hope that the war will be a clarion call, drawing the Western world out of its stagnation and slow-rolling crises, toward renewed moral purpose.

But is this true? Are we to take Finland and Sweden abandoning neutrality as a sign that European unity is on the wax, rather than the wane?

Watching this debate unfold as a native Swede, I’m skeptical. The swift acceptance of the idea of NATO accession, at least in Sweden, reminds me of nothing so much as the strange, sudden embrace of open borders in 2015. You wake up one day, and everyone suddenly thinks alike; people can no longer remember having any other opinion than the current one. And they are very much inclined to a certain level of helpful forgetfulness, because holding another view now carries significant social and financial risk; those who wish to dissent do so in private messages or out of earshot of others.

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