In embracing Finland’s, and soon Sweden’s, move to join NATO, U.S. President Joe Biden and his Western allies are doubling down on a bet that Russia has made such a huge strategic mistake over the past three months that now is the time to make President Vladimir Putin pay a major price: enduring the expansion of the very Western alliance he sought to fracture.

But the decision leaves hanging several major questions. Why not allow Ukraine — the flawed, corrupt but also heroic democracy at the heart of the current conflict — to join as well, enshrining the West’s commitment to its security?

And in expanding NATO to 32 members, soon with hundreds of additional miles of border with Russia, is the military alliance helping ensure that Russia could never again mount a vicious, unprovoked invasion? Or is it only solidifying the divide with an isolated, angry, nuclear-armed adversary that is already paranoid about Western "encirclement”?