September 29, 2022

Analysis: Finland is on the verge of asking to join NATO. Here’s why that’s bad news for Putin

5 min read

The Nordic nation is expected to declare its interest. NATO membership Later this week, its foreign affairs committee drafted a response to the government’s security report – including the option to join the coalition. Finland’s parliament will then hold an extraordinary debate on whether to approve the security report’s recommendations.

At the moment, NATO is likely to invite the country to join the alliance.

It is widely believed that this will happen soon, as Finland already meets most of the standards, and it is highly unlikely that any NATO member will object.

Numerous recent opinion polls have shown that at least 60% of the arts are now in favor of NATO membership, far more than the jump of almost 30% in recent years.

If this is to be expected, the country, with a population of less than 6 million, has mapped out European security in a way that was previously incomprehensible and could have dire consequences for Russia.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a joint press conference following a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Sweden and Finland at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on January 24, 2022.

Prior to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, he had made it clear that NATO was close to Russia and that it should withdraw from its borders in the 1990s, before some countries that were Russia’s neighbors Or former Soviet states join the military alliance.

According to the coalition, Russia currently shares about 755 miles of land border with five NATO members. Finland’s accession would mean that a nation with which Russia has an 800-mile border would formally join the United States militarily.

Not only would this be bad news for the Kremlin, but it would also be a great honor for NATO to have Finland join. Despite its relatively small population, Finland is a serious military power that has been unofficially associated with the West for decades. Its military has for decades used equipment purchased from the United States that is compatible with NATO allies, meaning it could easily join a NATO mission if it chooses to do so.

‘Survival’ theory

Many believe that the only reason Finland did not join the alliance before the Ukraine crisis was simple pragmatism.

Former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb told CNN: “Finland’s security has always been based on two concepts: first geography and history; second, idealism and realism.”

“In an ideal world, we want to cooperate with Russia, which we cannot avoid being our geographical neighbor. But we also know from history that the biggest realistic threat to our national security is Russia. As time goes on, the reality that Russia is ready to create. More chaos in our region has become clearer, so joining NATO has become a viable option, “he said.

Historically, Finland has navigated these competitive realities by simultaneously incorporating Russia’s security concerns, albeit unreasonable, while maintaining high defense spending and maintaining a permanent army that is compatible with Western allies. Holds

Charlie Salonius Pasternak, a leading global security researcher at the Finnish Institute, said: We have tried to alleviate these concerns by cooperating with the sectors. ” Of international affairs.

However, he adds that at the top of policies such as recruitment – all Finnish men being called up for military service – and higher defense spending, Finnish politicians have consistently sold out the idea that art Land’s ideal lifestyle must be maintained at all costs.

Swedish Army armored vehicles and tanks

“Finland’s preconceived notion of survival has been one of survival. In the last 100 years, we have become a strong, independent country with a high standard of living. We have had to sacrifice our land to maintain peace.” Sloanes Pasternak said. “Therefore, it is very important that our way of life be maintained, whether through practical diplomacy or taking a strong stand against our greatest threat.”

There is no doubt that Finland’s accession to NATO would be a major blow to Putin. Not only would this mean an additional 800 miles of the border with the coalition, but it would also symbolically go further in uniting the anti-Putin coalition that has emerged since the invasion of Ukraine. Countries that were once neutral are now providing funds and weapons to Ukraine, and Putin is an international ally whose allies are dwindling by the day.

This would extend NATO’s influence in Northern Europe to the Arctic, a region that is becoming increasingly geopolitically important due to its natural resources, strategic location and numerous territorial claims – including Russia. Finland and the United States.

Sweden, which is Finland’s neighbor to the west, is also considering joining the alliance – and Finland’s accession will make it more likely, since the two countries have been on the same page since the start of the Ukraine crisis. Are traveling

Russian reaction

Of course, there are concerns about Russia’s response to Finland’s desire to join NATO.

Marty Kari, a former Finnish assistant chief of defense intelligence, told CNN that Russia was already launching a “misinformation campaign” against him. “The real issue is that Finland is a Nazi country, because we fought against it. [the] The Soviet Union sided with Nazi Germany in World War II, “he said.

It predicts that Russia could violate Finland’s airspace and disrupt its activities at sea, including shipping, as well as increase its intelligence operations against the country.

Hakon Londe Saksi, an associate professor at Norwegian Defense University College, believes that any move towards Finland’s NATO membership would result in “perhaps the formation of a Russian army along NATO’s new border with Russia, which It will not benefit Finnish or Finnish in itself. European security. “

The Prime Minister of Finland Sana Marin is addressing a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Schulz before the talks at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany on March 16, 2022.

However, he believes that the benefits far outweigh the “potential negative consequences” of a somewhat large Russian military footprint along the Finnish border.

And despite concerns about what will happen in the interim, where Finland will not be protected from NATO membership but will be in negotiations, several officials have told CNN that they are members of the alliance, especially Britain and the United States. Is expected to guarantee the security of Finland. Through this process.

Of course, nothing is certain until Finland takes the first step in announcing its intention. But with public approval, political support, and Russia providing every reason for its other neighbors to join its hateful rivals, there is no doubt that Putin is trying to reduce NATO’s influence in Europe. The trick has been wonderfully reversed.

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