Friday, 9 May 2014

Finland's military officers ready to join NATO

The overwhelming majority of Finland's military officers are in favour of Finland joining NATO:

Finnish military officers are concerned about Russia’s intentions, according to a survey published in the leading newspaper Helsingin Sanomat on Saturday. Four out of five officers who responded to a poll by the daily believe that the military threat from Russia has increased.
A majority of those interviewed said that Russia’s foreign policy has become more aggressive since Vladimir Putin was re-elected as president in 2012.
Helsingin Sanomat and the Finnish Officers’ Union carried out a joint, anonymous survey of union members’ views on security policy around Eastertime. Of the union’s 6,000 members, 2084 responded to the poll. Two thirds of them are on active duty.
More than 40 percent of those who replied said that Finland’s political leadership should have acted more firmly in regard to the Ukrainian crisis. The results also indicate an increase in support for NATO membership, with nearly two in three saying this would be the best security option for Finland.

Finland's real security experts have made their position clear. Unfortunately, the country's laeading politicians, including president Sauli Niinistö, are far less clear. They still appear to be caught in the legacy of Finlandization.


Tero said...

There are three points IMO that go against Nato membership of Finland.

1) When a crisis of such magnitude emerges that Russia is ready to declare a war against the EU, it will be so widescale that the rest of the Nato countries have much bigger issues to worry about than an isolated, far-away, hard-to-support country with little defensive strategical value to the west.

Looking from the east Finland is part of a continent. Attacker's supply lines are relatively robust. Looking from the west we are an island. Even more so when Sweden again does what it always does and prevents it's land being used to bring military support for Finand in a fear of becoming part of the war.

Only way to support Finland is by air (with possible heavy casualties because of Russian fighters and AA-missiles) or by sea (with possible heavy casualties because of cruise missiles and sea mines).

If I were a Nato general, I wouldn't waste my resources defending such an undefendable piece of land.

2) I do however understand why Nato would want Finland to join Nato. There is a great offensive potential for Nato from finnish bases. Such potential makes it less likely Russia will start a war against Nato and will give Nato much leverage over Russia.

But it also means that in the event of military conflict between Nato and Russia, Russia's first priority is to capture Finland to prevent it being used to launch attack on it's flank.

Currently any offensive action against Finland would be calculated based on cost benefit analysis and capturing a pile of radioactive rubble would not be enough to justify a possibly very costly invasion. This is not so if Finland was a part of Nato. Destroying everything only to prevent it being used against Russia would be a perfectly valid strategy.

3) Massive battles with depleted uranium rounds are effective enough to make large areas of the battlefield unfit for habitation for a very long time. Even if we'd manage to be on the winning side of such a war, future generations would keep paying for it for a very long time.

No, I wouldn't be for a Nato membership. It's never a good idea to be the battleground on where two military superpowers make war. I'd rather just lay low and see what's up when the war is over. It worked well for us in WWI...

And anyway we have already lost most of our sovereignty to the EU. Our overwhelming and ever expanding bureaucracy is strangling our economy. We are up to our ears in debt and the debt is increaring for about 2000€/person/year with no end in sight. 60% of our GDP is projected to come from the public sector in 2016, making us pretty much de facto sosialist country.

The "climate law" they are now going to pass this summer obligates Finland to cut down CO2 emissions 80% by 2050. And since we're unlike more rational countries but instead being ruled by a bunch of neurotic bureaucrats, they are going to enforce that law, even when it destroys this country.

So it's not like there is a very much to defend regarding the government and a political system. Russian rule might be worse, but worse enough to die for...? I'm not so sure about that.

I do understand why military officers would like to join Nato. Being member of Nato would open up a great career possibilities for them. Instead of being confined on a small neutral and militarily pretty boring country in the far north, they would be able to play with the Big Boys.

NNoN said...


Thank you for your comment, even if I do not agree with you on the main question concerning Finland's NATO membership.

And your opinion about the reason for Finnish officers' interest in NATO membership is insulting to this group of highly professional soldiers.

Tero said...

Like most finnish men, I have been in the army. And like most finnish men, I do not regard finnish military officers to be highly professional.

In fact alcoholism is a very big problem among those that have chosen that career path. While I was in the army in the 90's, my ensign froze to death after passing out in the snow. I do not recall a single ... missing a word here... "Forest camp? Not-sleeping-in-the-barracks-but-in-the-woods-playing-for-war -camp?" where officers weren't completely out-of-their-minds -drunk at 22:00 every night.

The few good men that actually manage to avoid that condition and have a career at the UN are indeed among the finest that the UN peacekeepers have to offer, but most of those that have nothing to do with the UN are just... sad.

And it's no wonder. The salary is ridiculously low (wayyyy less than the median wage) and working conditions are poor. Since even an academic education is free in Finland, the only reason for anyone to have a profession in the military is a low intellect which rules out most other jobs, satisfaction gained from bossing people around, or the retirement age of 45. There is not much more going for it. This doesn't summon the best and the brightest.

And I challenge any finn reading this blog to disagree with me.

NNoN said...

To Tero:

I happened to know quite a lot about Finnish officers, and I also know that you description of them is untrue and insulting. I will not accept any such comments in the future.