NATO will not defend Finland, but may deter potential adversaries from aggression
Finland is not a member of NATO. But, nevertheless, it is indicated in the message, cooperation with the alliance to a certain extent can nevertheless serve as a factor restraining Moscow from aggressive actions.
The national broadcasting company of Finland, Yle (Yleisradio Oy) on February 26 posted on its Internet portal that in the event of a Russian attack on Suomi, NATO does not intend to defend Helsinki at all.
The fact is, Yle notes that Finland is not a member of the bloc. But, nevertheless, it is indicated in the message, cooperation with the alliance to a certain extent can nevertheless serve as a factor restraining Moscow from aggressive actions.
For almost three years, Finland and Sweden have been part of the Joint Expeditionary Force (ECO), led by the United Kingdom. Stockholm and Helsinki joined the ECO in mid-2017. These forces, created in 2014, are not a permanent formation. In addition to Britain, Sweden and Finland, they include such NATO member states as Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Netherlands.
ECOs are a quick reaction group to which their member countries send units of their troops in case of crisis situations. The official goal of the ECO, designed to accelerate and simplify cooperation in crisis situations, is to conduct joint exercises and provide assistance in case of attack on the participating countries, or when it becomes necessary to carry out humanitarian actions.
However, as Yle points out, if Russia attacks Finland, then we will already be talking about a larger conflict, in which NATO will direct its resources to where they will be needed most. “The logic is that NATO primarily protects its members, while Finland is not one of them,” said Martin Hurt, researcher at the International Center for Defense and Security in Tallinn, but added that the same logic is likely will also apply to ECO members.
“Of course, this will be a political decision made by countries that have made their choice in support of NATO. Finland decided not to join the alliance. Countries that are not members of the bloc do not have equal rights with them,” said the scientist. To the question of whether NATO intends to defend Finland in the event that a major conflict breaks out in the world, Hurt answered unequivocally. “There are no plans for this. But, if there is political will to protect Finland, then military resources will be found for the actual fulfillment of this task,” he said.
Finnish politicians and military made it clear that NATO made no promises to defend their country. Nevertheless, cooperation within the framework of the OECL presupposes the existence of certain deterrence factors.
“We showed that we can fight together. Now only a political decision is required, which can be taken in just one hour,” said Charlie Salonius-Pasternak, an expert at the Finnish Foreign Policy Institute. “This leads to the fact that a potential adversary in a crisis situation is forced to think about whether he will meet only with Finnish aviation? Or with Finnish and Swedish aviation? Or will the aviation of Finland, Sweden, and also the entire aviation of the United Expeditionary Force rise into the air? ” – asked a specialist.
He explained that Finland has no political obligations to the ECO, except for the fact that Helsinki is participating in exercises and debates.
However, the question arises, writes Yle, how things will be with the help of America in the event that Russia suddenly hits Finland. The answer to this question depends on what kind of political winds will walk in Washington, and also on what resources the Americans decide to use in Europe, Martin Hurt believes.
“Of course, the United States is the strongest military power in the world, but the United States does not have the resources to help all European countries at the same time,” the expert notes. As for the opinion that Finland can have as close relations with NATO as possible without joining the bloc, much depends on the point of view here. “The decisions are made by members of the defense bloc.
And before those who do not enter it, the door will be closed if they decide not to invite. At the same time, neither Sweden nor Finland have the right to vote when making decisions,” Hurt said in conclusion of his reasoning. [end]