Thursday, May 08, 2008

Finland and NATO: episode 423

(photo: Minister of Defence Häkämies, via HS) So, it goes like this: the head of the opposition say Finland won't join NATO ever, ever, ever - OK, so not quite never, but at least not in this or the next parliamentary term. So the defence minister does something quite new for a serving Finnish minister and says Finland should join NATO and, just for good measure, so should Sweden. The leader of one of the parties who is in coalition government with the defence minister's party says he was talking crap, but, despite agreeing with the leader of opposition's position, she puts the boot in there as well saying he was being "populist" by publicly stating the position that she also holds. The chair of the defence committee, who is from a party in the governing coalition, but not the same one as either the defence minister or the other party leader mentioned above, says "nothing's changing, we liked things perfectly well as they were in the 70s, will you just go away and leave us alone please". Now the President, who may or may not be in charge of these types of things, says "nothing to see here folks! No electoral advantage for me in wading into this mess. Move along now!" Still following?

Now, just to show how in Finland how the NATO debate get tacked on in utterly weird and irrational ways to completely different issues - have a look at this story. In short: loony, Soviet-nostalgist, Finnish "journalist", upsets the Estonian neighbours by saying they were much better off when they occupied by a totalitarian state. Go figure. But look at the quote from this "journalist" they finish with:
“From the Finnish point of view, the key question is whether Finland is a member of NATO at the time when the Estonian bloodbaths begin”, Hietanen notes.
WTF has NATO got to do with it? Why would it matter if Finland is or isn't a member beyond this nutter wants to get the words 'bloodbath' and 'NATO' into one sentence? I guess why just ride one hobby-horse, when you can ride two? And I'm meant to understand all this stuff for my PhD. I despair, I really do. Finland - you are officially doing my head in.


Kari said...

I quess the "logic" in Hietanen's comment goes like this: Estonia treats the Russian minority so bad that Russia gets angry and attacks Estonia. Once Russia is on the move, it does not care where it attacks, and Finland and Estonia are pretty similar anyway from Russia's point of view, so it might as well try to invade Finland at the same time. And when this happens, Finland should be a member of NATO, in order for all the NATO members to rush in to help (they would be in any case already nearby helping Estonia).

Needless to say, all this lacks, well, a bit of everything. However, I would not worry too much about your Phd: I would definately hesitate using the views of Mrs. Hietanen as a primary source, no matter what your topic is. :)

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

I actually think its the other way around - because Hietanen sees the Soviet Union as the high point of human civilisation and this obviously makes the US the source of all evil. So she thinks that "fascist" Estonia will begin pogroms against the Russian speakers, and Russia will have to come to their aid and defence. If Finland is part of NATO when this most unlikely chain of events takes place, then it gets sucked in defending Estonia against the "humanitarian intervention" of Mother Russia.

From her comments I think we definitely have to see anything right of the DDR-circa 1978 as "evil capitalist pigs", so that's why I think the "logic" runs that way! :-)

Kari said...

Have to agree with you, I did not take into consideration Hietanen's admiration of the Soviet society and state (it comes with the culture, seems difficult to understand that someone actually thinks so :D).

It is not clear though if she feels the same way about the current Russia than about SU, maybe the good old days are gone and capitalist Russia almost as bad as the US... Then again, every story needs at least one good guy as well, and I agree with you that in Hietanen's case it seems to be Russia.

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

The why do old commies love Russia also bothers me. Something I've noticed even more recently is old commies who love China. Its really crazy that people who aren't thick or uneducated see the current Chinese regime as the true heirs of Mao (and even that Mao really was a follower of Marx). I notice when the Finnish govt. were all in a tizz over who was going to which bits of the Olympics, the one person who stood up and said hurrah for the Prime Minister not giving in to the anti-China lobby, was everyone's favourite Taistoist, Jaakko Laakso,