Finland Says It Reserves the Right to Join Anti-Russian Alliance
As is Russia's right to react in ways Helsinki won't find pleasant
Finland states it has the right to join NATO any time it damn well pleases:
Both Finland’s president, Sauli Niinisto, and prime minister, Sanna Marin, used new year addresses to underscore that the country reserved the option of seeking Nato membership at any time.
“Let it be stated once again: Finland’s room to manoeuvre and freedom of choice also include the possibility of military alignment and of applying for Nato membership, should we ourselves so decide,” Niinisto said.
Marin added in her separate speech that every country had the right to decide its own security policy, stressing: “We have shown that we have learnt from the past. We will not let go of our room for manoeuvre.”
Has Finland such a right? I would say that it does. But I think that official Helsinki needs to think through the full implications of what it is saying.
Imagine there exist two countries, let’s call them Germany and France. Imagine that they are hostile to each other, locked in a cold war, with repeated war scares. Imagine now that a small country bordering them, let’s call her Belgium, goes from being unaligned to forming a military pact with Germany.
Does Belgium have the right to do that? Of course. Sovereign countries have the right to enter treaties. But the other — more pertinent — question is, if that happens does France also have the right to react to this move? If Belgians opt to bring the German military to the French northern border would France be justified in reacting to this in ways downright unpleasant for Belgium? Facing the prospect of having to contend with the German military in two theaters would France be justified in going as far as to preemptively invade? It is difficult to say that France would be wrong to do so.
The problem is that Finland is obfuscating. Joining or not joining military coalitions isn’t a matter of “rights”. It’s a matter of survival.
NATO isn’t a knitting club or a beekeeping association. It’s a military bloc that finds purpose in A) bombing and dismantling “rogue” states (any weak state that the Empire detests) and B) isolating and posturing against Russia (a state that the Empire detests but is too powerful to bomb and dismantle). There are already 30 nations in NATO. Can Russia allow this number to keep rising and rising? No, not if it can do something about it.
Besides, Russia never told Finland it doesn’t have the right to seek NATO membership. Russia isn’t even talking to Finland. Russia is talking to DC to get the Imperial Capital to stop admitting new members. As Finland has the right to seek a military pact with the US, so the US has the right to deny Finland such an alliance. If Russia is trying to make a deal whereby Washington — as a concession to Moscow — stops adding countries to its anti-Russian coalition then where exactly are the Russians overstepping their bounds? Russia is asking Washington to do something that is within Washington’s rights. To scream that this is somehow encroaching on Finland’s rights implies that America uniquely in the world doesn’t have the right to decline alliance proposals.
Also another thing, Finland can say that NATO membership is only up to her, but 2008 and 2014 teach that Russia has discovered a way to stop potential NATO additions dead in their tracks. NATO founding papers preclude it from adding members with open border disputes. Russia’s demand that NATO gives ups ambition to add Georgia and Ukraine is really just theatrics since Moscow already ensured that can not happen years ago. All Russia needs to do to similarly prevent Finland’s membership is occupy some small chunk (eg 100km2) of its uninhabited northern forests.