By Henrik Holappa
After the Soviet collapse in 1991, Finland felt there was a new start for her membership in an international community. Shortly after the end of the Cold War in Europe, Finland became the member of European Union in January 1995. In the becoming years, the European Union became to be just more than an economic union. The EU established its own currency, Euro, which is being used in Finland and in 15 other European Union countries.
However, something changed in 2001.
After the catastrophic terrorist strikes in New York City and Washington D.C in the USA in September 2001 all the “bad boys” – Osama bin Laden and men linked or connected to him – became the targets of world wide terrorist hunt. The war in Afghanistan – that was started by Bush administration in the following month after the terrorist strikes – created more terror, deaths and horror than it was even expected.
America, however, needed “International community” to back its mission in Afghanistan and the coalition was created. Several European countries have sent their soldiers to support American war efforts and participating in the occupation of Afghanistan. Nevertheless, even Afghanistan was not enough for Bush administration and men behind him, and they wanted Saddam Hussein and Iraq – and its natural sources.
In March 2003, another war started. Once again, America’s war efforts required international community and a coalition was created. The weapons of mass destruction were never found, in fact, Saddam Hussein had stated in his interrogation that it was all bluffing as he expected invasion coming from Iran, not by the Americans. Nevertheless, Hussein was executed so that the truth would be silenced.
What is Finland’s part in all of this?
Finland’s part is not significant right now, but the question is; what will be Finland’s part in the future? In operation in Afghanistan Finland has nearly 120 men stationed there, and so far Finland has not suffered of casualties unlike Denmark or Norway that are NATO members. The fact is that the Afghanistan operation is not led by the United Nations, but it is led by NATO and United States of America.
Repeatedly the Finnish soldiers serving in Afghanistan have been in combats with the local insurgents. The politicians like to explain that Afghanistan’s operation is “very demanding peace-keeping” operation. The ISAF forces are created by the NATO, and therefore soldiers serving in the ISAF troops are not peace-keepers but soldiers of aggressive invasion troops. The Finnish soldiers are in a war zone. The soldiers were sent to Afghanistan during the war, not after the war – which is still active – and therefore the Finnish soldiers are participating in war.
The membership in NATO for Finland has become an important question. Several acts towards the NATO membership have been taken; recently the F-18 (Hornet) fighter planes were equipped with laser-guided bombs making the planes equivalent with NATO standards. According to Major General, commander of the Finnish Air Forces, Jarmo Lindberg, in his interview to MTV3 news-broadcast, he stated that the Finnish Hornet planes, which were meant for air-defense, are now able to make attacks from air to the ground.
The question rises; why? Why this change was necessary if, however, the Finnish Defense Forces are meant to defend the country of Finland, not to invade or participate in an invasion of a sovereign country? And a year earlier Finland had sought membership in NATO Response Force, which of course will require Finland’s association in NATO-led military operations.
Often the politicians in Finland are justifying Finland’s association with NATO with that “because everyone else is involved too”. More interestingly it is being justified with the thought of “terrorism” or with this that in crisis Finland could not ask for help if Finland herself has not participated in operations that “solve crisis”. In fact, operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have failed, and not even Barack Hussein Obama is able to solve the crisis in the Middle-East.
When we have all the evidence front on our eyes, when we can clearly see that foreign occupation in certain countries have actually created terrorism (in Madrid in April 2004, in the following year’s July in London causing in both cases hundreds of deaths and wounded) why – when it is against all logic – it would be important for Finland to participate in a war machine that creates more terrorism? – Terror can not be put down by terror, as it will only create a cycle of terrorism, and despite the failure of Afghanistan and Iraq, Finland is willing step into the sinking ship called the NATO.
Also a study from March of 2007 showed,made by the Officers’ League that 54 % of the Defense Forces officers are in favor of NATO membership. This however does not surprise a lot. While I did my mandatory military service in Sodankylä, Jaeger Brigade, over 6 years ago the common feeling among the non-commissioned officers and officers was the fear of the Russians. Often – when practicing shooting – the instructor asked to shoot at the Russians. Still among the people in Finland Russophopic feelings are general whether due the historical reasons or other matters where the Finns feel Russians can not be trusted.
The coming parliament election in April of 2011 will certainly rise up the NATO question. Every citizen of Finland shall be sure of his representative’s stance on NATO. Once the conservative government, most representatives in favor for Finland’s NATO membership, have the majority of the seats in parliament, like in many other occasions, no national voting for NATO membership might not be organized.
Not only that Finland’s possible NATO membership would increase Finland’s association in World’s crisis and therefore the terrorist threat for Finland would become real, the important relations to Russia would most definitely be endangered. Instead of looking partner from the Cold War time ghost, NATO, Finland should actively look for participation with Russia that would serve our common good in order to protect one of the longest borders in Europe and the citizens of Finland and Russia.
Russia and its leaders, President Medvedev, Prime Minister Putin, and Russian Ministry of Defense as well as Russia’s representatives in Finland shall state it clearly that Finland’s membership in the NATO would endanger everything that Finland and Russia have built together for the future of both countries.
In my article for the American magazine (The Barnes Review) I stated that the most horrific situation for Finland would be if another catastrophic and tragic conflict would take place with Russia. Instead of looking for disassociation from Finland’s neighbor of Russia, the most secured option would be to look for friendship and cooperation with Russia. Currently the politicians and majority of the Armed Forces officers are blinded with the NATO option believing falsely that NATO would bring safety and security for Finland. As the failed operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown – NATO membership does not bring safety and security, but very uncertain times and terrorism.