The politics of the Finnish conscription system, I have to admit, is something of a specialist interest of mine. I guess if you're a 17 year old Finnish bloke looking at giving up the next 6 months of your life to the fatherland, its kinda interesting - but less so for the other 99.9% of the world's population. Nevertheless, YLE reports an interesting statement that the President made Monday, opening a National Defence Course - a common venue for making major policy proposals on defence and security related issues. YLE reports:
"[President] Halonen [stated] both international and national defence scenarios had changed sufficiently in nature to allow for a common training period at the start of both military and civilian national service. Following an initial common training period, both forms of service would carry on as before".I have a chapter in my PhD where I argue that the Finnish military conscription system has very little do with the military defence of Finland, and far more to do with reproducing ideas of what it is to be Finnish. It seems that the President agrees, even if she wouldn't put it in those words, as the suggestion seems to be that basic training in the Finnish army now doesn't need to have anything to do with being a soldier because it will be done by conscientious objectors as well who want nothing to do with being a soldier. That's kinda weird isn't it?