Analysis: Finland’s dangerous march to war, incoherence at the Munich Security Conference
by Markku Siira
Markku Siira is a citizen journalist from Finland. Writing about politics in the Finnish online newspaper, Kansalainen (“The Citizen”), with exclusive translations carried on Fort Russ News. His main subjects topics deal with geopolitics, European and Eurasian affairs, Middle East, and the US foreign policy. Among his special interests are Russia, China, and Iran.
From last Friday to Sunday, the political leaders, presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers gathered in Germany to discuss topical foreign and security policy themes at the Munich Security Conference.
The Conference has been organized in Munich since 1963. It gathered together again representatives from both Europe and the US, as well as from Russia and China. This year, also several leaders from African countries were present.
The official discussions of the meeting were followed by thousands of journalists, but the conference also gave opportunities for the leaders of different countries to meet one another behind closed doors. It might also tell something about the atmosphere of the conference that the political science dissertation award named after the bygone American war hawk, Senator John McCain, was given there.
Among this year’s topics were the role of European Union in the world, as well as the transatlantic cooperation between Europe and the United States. The redeveloping competition and the arms race build-up between the great powers, were also talked about. Although US President Trump is openly sour in his relations with his European vassals, still more American representatives came into the conference than in previous years.
Conference’s Chairman, Germany’s former Ambassador to Washington, Wolfgang Ischinger, tried to console the participants by telling that since Trump became the President, US presence in the NATO countries has in fact increased. There are more American soldiers and military gear in Europe than ever before: the foreign policy dictated by the permanent state apparatus and the military-industrial complex is not led by Trump’s tweets and blurts.
Despite all of this, the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, expressed his concern of the state of “transatlantic cooperation”. Especially he mentioned that the wrecking of the “international contract system” can lead us backwards, “badly into history”. Niinistö participated in Saturday’s panel discussing arms control. What kind of meetings he held behind closed doors, was not revealed for the media.
Some may still imagine that President Niinistö is a patriotic man of peace, when he bemoaned the state of diplomacy in the world of power politics. In Munich, however, he was eager to insist that “the European Union should be able to speak with one voice, so that it’s message would be heard”. “Secondly, the world increasingly respects the hard power that Europe lacks”, Niinistö added. Of course, President Niinistö wouldn’t like Europe to become an independent power from the United States. So this “common voice of Europe” he was referring to, should be merely an echo of Washington.
President Niinistö has long and systematically worked for the interests of the United States. He has been instrumental in getting the military alliance NATO into the far north, straight to the borders of Russia. After Finland signed the cooperative agreement with NATO and defense-cooperation agreement with the United States, full members of NATO have held war excercises in Finland; no doubt more projects will follow. It is strange that this sort of clandestine work for the “Americanization” of Finland, doesn’t seem to bother even people who call themselves nationalists. Those who blindly believe in the “Russian threat” can’t be deterred by any arguments to the contrary.
Niinistö himself pretends to be concerned about the fate of the INF treaty, when it has already been violated years ago when the missile defense system at the initiative of George W. Bush was planned because of “Iran’s missile threat” (in truth even at the time the real target was our Eastern neighbour). To keep herself NATO-compatible, Finland also didn’t sign the UN’s treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. After this, all kind of NATO gear has been brought to Finland, and it wouldn’t be surprising if in all silence, Yankee tactical nuclear weapons would have already been stored here as well. Finland has been determinedly taken down the same road as the Baltic countries, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
If the European Union would one day end up with an irreversible conflict with the United States, Finland’s political leadership would swear allegiance to the United States, and not to the Finnish people, or Europe. In spite of Trump, the hawkish agenda continues to exist in the United States, and the new Northern payer of the liberal order, National Coalition Party-led Finland, has also become the last bridgehead against Russia. This is absolutely a problem