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NATOization of Finland

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Photo: Finland and the NATO won directly. Source: Collage the Gaze
Photo: Finland and the NATO won directly. Source: Collage the Gaze

From February, 24 2022, after the start of the second wave of Russian aggression against Ukraine, the European security system began to undergo historic changes. There were many of them. In this article, we will specifically talk about how the entire era that existed for 75 years after the end of World War II ended, because for that many years Finland was a neutral state with an officially recognized status enshrined in an international treaty.

Finland received this status in 1948, when the Soviet Union and Finland concluded the agreement, according to which Finland undertook to avoid conflict policy against the USSR and avoid participation in blocs and contradictions of the great powers, and the Soviet Union guaranteed, from its part, territorial integrity, respect for the sovereignty and independence of this state. It was like that for 75 years.

What Made Finland to Give It a Thought

In fact, when we talk about the war of Russia against Ukraine, we sometimes forget the main goal and the root of the problem that the Russian Federation tried to solve. We must recollect the end of December 2021, when Russian authorities issued an ultimatum to the United States, which stated that NATO should return to the borders of 1997. In fact, this meant the collapse of NATO infrastructure in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

In other words, the Russian Federation is fighting not only against Ukraine. It is also fighting against the current European security system, namely NATO. That is, it is Russia's war against Ukraine and the collective West. In view of the terrible events that began on 24 February last year, the question appeared in the political discourse of Finland whether the country is under threat to face a tragic future, which the Ukrainian state is going through today.

It is clear that there were no guarantees in Finland. After all, if we recall how many international treaties or documents that are mandatory from the point of view of international law, were violated by the Russian Federation in relation to Georgia since the beginning of the 90s, in relation to Ukraine since 2014, it is clear that Finland needed to change its foreign policy fundamentally and doctrinally. NATO membership is the only remaining guarantee. And they joined the Alliance.

That is, is not the borders of NATO in 1997, but rather the expansion of NATO-2023 is one of the consequences of the second wave of aggression against Ukraine launched by Russia. In addition to that, Sweden will soon become a member of the Alliance, and Ukraine also received assurances at the Vilnius summit that it will also become a member of NATO after the end of the war with the Russian Federation. Even the MAP procedure for Ukraine's accession to NATO was withdrawn.

Who Benefited from the NATOization of Finland

It is clear that Finland and the Alliance itself won directly. They became even closer to the state, which is recognized as one of the main threats to NATO according to the security strategy. This is yet another proof that the aggressive policy of the "Russian Empire" will lose in a strategic sense. Russia has not received and will not receive any of the dividends it dreamed of when starting a war against Ukraine for the second time.

However, we should understand that the story does not end with Finland's membership in NATO. This political and historical change that occurred in the European security system will continue. Since spring of 2023, they started to make official statements that Finland wanted to start negotiations with the United States regarding the placement of the US troops on its territory. This will be, conditionally speaking, the second additional guarantee, in addition to Finland's membership in NATO, that the Russian Federation will not start a war against this state.

Given the doctrinal basis of the security strategy of the Biden administration, the general thesis, publicly disseminated by the official representatives of Finland that they seek to start negotiations on the deployment of the US troops, requires a broader understanding. After all, during the period of Biden's presidency, the United States positions itself as a leader that has returned to the world arena and occupies the first roles together with its allies rather than alone.

Therefore, the beginning of negotiations with the United States on the deployment of military troops may become an impulse for a more general discussion with all NATO member states. Finland, having started negotiations on such a format of military cooperation with the United States, will receive the support of Washington, which will gather a circle of allied states ready to send their forces within the framework of a single broad NATO contingent to deploy adequate forces on the territory of Finland that could defend this state both within the framework of the implementation of the Washington Treaty and within the framework of serving a more strategic goal: to prevent the Russian Federation from increasing its influence on the European security system.

Over time, we will see what those troops will be, since discussions are only at the initial stage. So far, the parties exchange public statements, conduct some consultations in order to start focused work on this. However, even a year and a half ago it was very difficult to imagine that neutral Finland would become a member of NATO.

***

All the strategic goals that Russia set before 24 February 2022 regarding the collective West failed. That is, the Russian Federation received NATO expansion instead of reduction. Moreover, all its strategic goals regarding Ukraine also failed. Ukraine is integrating into the EU and NATO. Ukraine persevered, it is conducting a counteroffensive and will beat the enemy.

The case of Finland demonstrated that NATO could really be the only guarantee for security and preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries in Europe at a time when Russia threat looms over all of Europe.

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