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Thread: Finland, Sweden Mull NATO Option

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    Default Finland, Sweden Mull NATO Option

    http://www.defensenews.com/article/2...sectionstories


    [*******#2C2C2C][FONT=Helvetica]In Niinistö’s view, while Finland should keep the door open to NATO membership, the preferred solution is to build a stronger national defense capability outside of any military alliance.[/FONT][/COLOR][*******#2C2C2C][FONT=Helvetica]“There are some who believe that NATO membership can replace a strong national defense capability. We must as a nation be able to look after ourselves, whether or not we are in an alliance,” Niinistö said at a news conference here. “It is a fundamental asset to have a strong national defense.”[/FONT][/COLOR][*******#2C2C2C][FONT=Helvetica]Niinistö’s position reflects Defense Ministry thinking, which favors retaining the country’s non-aligned status while building closer military relations with both NATO and Russia.[/FONT][/COLOR][*******#2C2C2C][FONT=Helvetica]
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    [*******#2C2C2C][FONT=Helvetica]The report, “Sweden, Defense Readiness,” was criticized by Mikael Oscarsson, the Christian Democrats’ spokesman on defense, for underestimating the potential threat from Russia.[/FONT][/COLOR][*******#2C2C2C][FONT=Helvetica]“We believe that we should no longer get a free ride from NATO. We need to join,” Oscarsson said. “We are as good as members already. It would contribute to increased security both for our country and our neighboring countries. It would be good to have Finland in there, too, and have all Nordic states in NATO.”[/FONT][/COLOR][*******#2C2C2C][FONT=Helvetica]The view in some quarters in Finland is that Sweden could move toward NATO membership after parliamentary elections in 2014.[/FONT][/COLOR][*******#2C2C2C][FONT=Helvetica]“If this were to happen, then it would change the security policy atmosphere in Finland, and this could add a new sense of urgency to the NATO debate here and whether we would jump with Sweden into the alliance,” said Jussi Niinistö (Finns Party), chairman of Finland’s Parliamentary Defense Committee.[/FONT][/COLOR][*******#2C2C2C][FONT=Helvetica]
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    [*******#2C2C2C][FONT=Helvetica]“There also is the issue of funding,” Beernert said. “NATO membership would require both states to spend much more on defense, at least 2 percent of their GDP [gross domestic product].[/FONT][/COLOR][*******#2C2C2C][FONT=Helvetica]“There is no sign that this will happen in either country,” Beernert said.[/FONT][/COLOR][*******#2C2C2C][FONT=Helvetica]
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    Shouldn't be much of a problem as only the US, UK, France, Estonia, Greece, Turkey currently achieve that. Even if they spent 1.5%, still would be okay. It's up to the public. Perhaps their perception is that the US will lead NATO into another Afghanistan/Iraq mission of which they will not support. Neither countries are neutral anymore. Would be good to have them same as Ireland/Austria.

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    Senior Member Laker1's Avatar
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    They are probably little bit afraid from Putin so they are considering joining NATO..

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    It is not currently being on the fore here in Finland. I think that statement by the president is from a foreign policy themed discussion weekend in mid summer. Mostly the right-wing nationalsocialistic Kokoomus and the swedish party is for Nato and the people are strongly against. Not likely in the near future as those parties with Nato-horniness have dropped much in favor in polls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Piirka View Post
    It is not currently being on the fore here in Finland. I think that statement by the president is from a foreign policy themed discussion weekend in mid summer. Mostly the right-wing nationalsocialistic Kokoomus and the swedish party is for Nato and the people are strongly against. Not likely in the near future as those parties with Nato-horniness have dropped much in favor in polls.
    I wonder why that is exactly. Like what's the opposition to Nato's theme? Is it just people don't want their army to become militaristic internationally or something else?

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    Senior Member Piirka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuaPatetOrbis View Post
    I wonder why that is exactly. Like what's the opposition to Nato's theme? Is it just people don't want their army to become militaristic internationally or something else?
    Since the last ill-fated joint venture with Germany, we've been militarily unallied (after joining EU, arguably no more so). I guess the people have grown accustomed to being neutral and handling our defence ourselves, so we are like the Switzerland of the nordic countries. The price any invader has to pay to overcome the nation in arms is deemed enough deterrent against any would-be-comers. And there might be no wish to become a pawn for a superpower. Also, I think Nato is seen by some as a cold war relic, without any purpose in the modern world. Although the Nato-enthusiasts want to play on russophobia and bring up a ghost of the winter war, when Finland stood alone against the Soviet union, our relations with the Russia are friendly.

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    I think I know everything, but I don't lightfire's Avatar
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    I disagree with you Piirka. The support for NATO in Sweden at least has grown over the last few years. It's not yet close to half, but more than it used to be. Not sure how in Finland. The fact what attracts the supporters of NATO is hardly russophobia alone -- Russia has stepped up it's Cold war bomber/fighter flights over the Baltics, strengthening it's Western military district and Finland reacts in the same fashion. Furthermore, both Finland and Sweden has participated in NATO led Afghan op over the last years and cooperation has grown naturally.

    As for what you PM said, I think the headline here is misleading

    “There are some who believe that NATO membership can replace a strong national defense capability. We must as a nation be able to look after ourselves, whether or not we are in an alliance,” Niinistö said at a news conference here. “It is a fundamental asset to have a strong national defense.”
    So in other words he's not saying NO to NATO, just about replacing "strong national defense capability". Well duh, there's nothing wrong to have strong national defense capability within NATO. No one in NATO is obliged to to forcefully take action (article 4 and 5 states quite clearly, that even an attack on NATO member is considered an attack against all others, every member takes action it deems necessary ) and even this 2% of GDP spending is an unwritten rule - desired, but as mentioned before - hardly reached by many

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    lightfire got the gist of what the essential message was, which also could be stated as: nato is not a replacement for a credible national defense.


    i see the statement more as a message to certain anti-nato circles, that are alluding to that there's a conspiracy to drive down national defense, and then run to nato to get membership and protection since no national capabilities remain. niinistö, who is president, not PM, is saying that regardless of whether Finland joins or not, strong national capabilities are needed.

    as to the ravings about nationalsocialistic etc., Kokoomus is a center right party, and one of the two parties openly for a nato membership. the general public in finland are not very knowlegeable on the issue, and especially the older generation was subjected to a decades long "soviet good, nato bad" disinformation propaganda by state television and many newspapers. there is fear on getting entangled into US started wars and the general public does not know about the difference between nato and coalitions of the willing.

    however, the opininion against nato is slowly diminishing.

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    Pining for a custom title PEMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuaPatetOrbis View Post
    “It is a fundamental asset to have a strong national defense.”Niinistö’s position reflects Defense Ministry thinking, which favors retaining the country’s non-aligned status while building closer military relations with both NATO and Russia.
    Funny, I don't think he was against cuts in the military. I think this is nothing more than rhetoric.

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    Us liberals are the only ones really pushing the question, the left is against it as always as are the far right who always seem to side with the left on these issues.
    It won't be an important question in next years election and will most likely only be mentioned by the liberals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QuaPatetOrbis View Post
    I wonder why that is exactly. Like what's the opposition to Nato's theme? Is it just people don't want their army to become militaristic internationally or something else?
    Firstly its questionable what good NATO membership will do.
    There is little information available of any NATO benefits and its a political alliance with zero quarantees of any form of assistance. Vague Swedish promises of humanitarian aid and accepting refugees are less ambiguous and more promising.
    Also there are the geographical challenges for any NATO assistance to actually reach Finland before being sunk, shot down or bombed on roads/railways.

    Not to mention that Finnish-Russian relations are relatively good at the time and domestic forces have previously provided enough deterrence to block any Warsaw Pact / NATO conquests on this sector.
    I don't think Finland will join NATO in the foreseeable future unless Russians do something stupid.

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    I think that joining NATO is not so crucial to Finland because now we have close ties with Americans ( JASSM and LINK-16 in F-18 ) and I think it is much easier to work with one nation than bunch of nations with each of their own goals. If the SHTF with Russia, it will hit in Estonia too, so it is quite easy to think what would happen and which side we are....

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    Quote Originally Posted by QuaPatetOrbis View Post
    Shouldn't be much of a problem as only the US, UK, France, Estonia, Greece, Turkey currently achieve that. Even if they spent 1.5%, still would be okay. It's up to the public. Perhaps their perception is that the US will lead NATO into another Afghanistan/Iraq mission of which they will not support. Neither countries are neutral anymore. Would be good to have them same as Ireland/Austria.
    You forgot Poland... They got it constituted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldschool recce View Post
    You forgot Poland... They got it constituted.
    My apologies. I saw on their wikipedia page the spending was 1.95% back in 2012. I suppose they've reached that by now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gumiman View Post
    Firstly its questionable what good NATO membership will do.
    There is little information available of any NATO benefits and its a political alliance with zero quarantees of any form of assistance. Vague Swedish promises of humanitarian aid and accepting refugees are less ambiguous and more promising.
    Also there are the geographical challenges for any NATO assistance to actually reach Finland before being sunk, shot down or bombed on roads/railways.

    Not to mention that Finnish-Russian relations are relatively good at the time and domestic forces have previously provided enough deterrence to block any Warsaw Pact / NATO conquests on this sector.
    I don't think Finland will join NATO in the foreseeable future unless Russians do something stupid.
    It is not at all questionable what a NATO membership will do; offer a very strong deterrence, backed by 3 of the most potent militaries on this planet (in addtion to loads of others). Zero guarantees of assistance? Where did you get that from? The raison d'etre for NATO is to protect all members from aggresion should the s**t hit the fan. There are some very strong guarantees of assistance. Sweden on the other hand has given some vague statements that they will assist it's neighbors in case something bad would happen, hoping that the neighbors would respond in a similar fashion.

    Tough luck: The Norwegian MoD has made it very clear that Norway can and will only guarantee military assistance to NATO countries. Neither Sweden nor Finland should expect to see any military assistance from Norway unless you become NATO members. Humanitary assistance is another matter of course.

    Of course it's up to Finland to choose her way forward, since WW2 it seems you have done well beign non-aligned. However that does not change the facts about what NATO is and what it provides.

    The question I would be asking myself, had I been from Finland: Although the Finnish military offered a credible deterrence until now, can we expect this also in the future? Consider that defence costs are rising much faster than average inflation; also consider that Russia is a much bigger country, now spending around 4% of GDP on modernizing her militaries. I suspect that some time in the not too distant future the answer will be "no", unless Finland starts to invest much more in modernizing and expanding her defence to keep up with the huge changes happening across the border.

    And before somebody tries to make fun of this; do I really need to remind people about capability versus intent, and the reasons why military planners focus on capability rather than intent when they make long-term plans?

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