Remember that crushing victory by the Finns over Russia? Yeah, neither do I. Wikipedia offers this pithy summary:
Finland fought two wars against the Soviet Union during World War II: the Winter War and the Continuation War. The Finns suffered 89,108 dead or missing military personnel during these wars but inflicted severe casualties on the Soviet Union: 126,875–167,976 dead or missing during the Winter War and 250,000–305,000 dead or missing during the Continuation War. Finland ceded 11% of its territory – including the major city Vyborg – to the Soviet Union, but prevented the Soviets from annexing Finland into the USSR. Of all the continental European nations combating, as part of World War II, Helsinki and Moscow were the only capitals not occupied.
Prior to Finland’s decision to court or be courted by NATO, Finland was not a threat to Russia and Russia did not treat it as a threat. Finland is a tiny (population wise), grey country. It is economically unimportant. Here are its top ten exports (and the bulk of these went to Europe):
- Machinery including computers: US$9.7 billion (14.7% of total exports)
- Paper, paper items: $7.3 billion (11.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $5.6 billion (8.5%)
- Vehicles: $5 billion (7.5%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $4.9 billion (7.5%)
- Iron, steel: $4.1 billion (6.2%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $3.3 billion (4.9%)
- Wood: $2.9 billion (4.3%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $2.3 billion (3.5%)
- Woodpulp: $2.2 billion (3.3%)
Come to think of it, with Europe’s decision to cut itself off from Russian oil and gas, that wood from Finland may come in handy for building fires to heat bath water.
In 2020, Finland’s exports were valued at 66 billion dollars. You understand what a relatively paltry figure that is when you consider that the United States is proposing 40 billion dollars to try to prop up the failing Ukrainian military.
Finland’s military–25,000 personnel–is the equivalent of two U.S. military divisions. Just enough soldiers to justify future NATO training exercises and command positions for western officers looking to punch a ticket to get promoted.
From NATO’s perspective, Finland is just another sucker to be enlisted as a buyer of Western military gear. Finland’s role in NATO, if it comes to pass, is simple and stark–create a trip wire on Russia’s border for starting a nuclear world war. If you are comfortable with that I think you are a moron. But on the bright side, your status as a moron qualifies you to serve in NATO’s leadership.
There still another reason for Finland to join. But this reason has nothing to do with Finns, it is rather NATO’s desire to move closer to the long Russo-Finnish border in a vicinity of Russian bases in Murmansk and Severo-Morsk. And possibility of entry into White sea in case of open conflict with Russia.
Larry Johnson says
Yes indeed. Good observation.
No doubt the PM and the President scored themselves a nice fat retirement fund courtesy of the US taxpayers.
The amount Finland would have available to spend on weapons would hardly nudge Raytheon stock price.
Good idea on keeping the wood handy. It gets cold up there.
First question: I can’t believe nuclear war is even a “military” option. If true, what kind of people are the American Politicians? They break the only world consensus that has prevented a WWIII since 1945.
Second question: The recent surge of the Russian Power must be terrifying for Finns. What does mean the “finlandization” ou the “Helsinki Syndrom” today?
It seems that Scandinavian politicians are as short-sighted and idiotic as their European neighbours ..
“According to Statistics Finland, most of energy products were imported from Russia, around 52 per cent of the total value of energy imports. Among energy products, the biggest were imports of crude oil, of which Russia accounted for 80 per cent in 2021.”
I can see why the aggressive NATO / Neo Con leadership want Finland to join. Gives them a PR “victory” in the short term and advances NATO closer to Russia. Think of the options for placing missiles on their territory with options to destroy Russian cities in fewer seconds than currently.
Cannot for the life of me though see why any rational Finn would want this. They enjoyed the benefits of neutrality right through the Cold War, even though they had been a co combatant with Germany in WW2 and were part of the Siege of Leningrad. No evidence of any form that Russia had any intention of upsetting that almost eighty year extant settlement.
The Ukrainian “model” of getting your country wrecked by being a puppet of the US seems to have inspired them rather than repelled them. I agree with the comment that some of their “leaders” must have been given some very interesting promises of future jobs as a result of this. Future historians will for sure wrack their brains over this one.
Walter Roth says
Good afternoon Mr Johnson
I’m Swiss and I don’t speak English well, sorry.
We have just jettisoned our neutrality, but there may well be an “initiative” to force our government back to neutrality.
Initiative = 100,000 signatures that will force a binding popular vote on the issue.
What our government is doing right now is not the will of the majority of the Swiss people.
Unfortunately, when it comes to Finland, it is often forgotten that the Finns once belonged to Russia and that they tried to conquer areas of the emerging Soviet Union during the civil war in Russia from 1918-1920.
They thought they could exploit the weakness of the Reds…..
The USSR certainly had a score to settle.
The Finns would not have won the second war, the Germans prevented defeat.
However, the Karelians across the border, who are related to the Finns, did not want to move to Finland at all.
They probably would have wanted to later, but not in 1920, when there was little experience of the Gulag and other terrible consequences of communism.
We Swiss like the Finnish General Mannerheim very much…… as a small state we are somehow related to the Finns in spirit. Mannerheim struck us as Henry Gusian, our Swiss general from 1939 – 1945.
But now the Finns behave strangely.
Yes, they were at war with the USSR, but so were others.
But the Finns lived very well after WWII as neighbors of the USSR. I would even like to say that they enjoyed real preferential treatment and Stalin is no more…
Why this change of course… I think money is the factor here.
Of course, the Finns mean that they belong more to the West……… But this rapid NATO accession process?
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if these politicians soon have a nicely filled bank account in the USA.
There is no better place to hide money than there.
I know many will dismiss this as a theory, but having read things like this for 40 years, I know that money is a very good driver when it comes to things like this.
I find it very unwise what they are doing…… the USSR is gone and Russia has proven to be a reliable neighbor over the past 30 years.
The Russians could have easily conquered Finland in 1945 with their huge army that was used to war and had only just become free.
Why this pretend hysteria……..Money could be the motive.
It would be democracy if the people were asked about such far-reaching decisions, but of course by the time they have done that, the war may be over and the people will no longer be willing to join NATO.
Chris Chuba says
Finland’s value is its real estate. Once they join NATO, it gives the rest of NATO (aka the U.S.) the legal authority to build military bases with U.S. personnel operating advanced missile systems. This was a recurring them in Russia’s ‘security agreement’. It also increases a threat to Murmansk, an important Russian port.
I think by the time Russia is finished with The Ukro Nazi State there won’t be a NATO to join, either that or it’s the end as we know it.
D.E. Murray says
Well, fighting Finland conventionally was very costly for Russia, wasn’t it? I think that’s the point. If you’re saying Russia could fight a conventional war against Ukraine and Finland, sorry, I’m off the reservation here.
The real reason why this is stupid AF is that it would destroy NATO. Maybe not a bad thing in the long run abstractly, but very bad in the way it would work out.
First, Turkey. In other words, a major NATO ally says, “I didn’t order this.”
Second, I cannot believe that this won’t stir up a lot of dissension in Finland (and Sweden for that matter). There has got to be a significant minority (perhaps a majority?) of Finns/Swedes who think this is a bad idea. As Churchill said, “There is no public opinion. There is only published opinion.”
Thanks for listening.
Thanks Larry…as always good–to the point analysis. I think at this point we know much more is at play than NATO expansion. I ran across this article the other day and it really resonated with me on a geopolitical level…worth everyone’s read:
D.E. Murray says
Interesting. Only problem with the “Build Back Better Green” side is that it’s based on deficit spending, massive inequality, smoke, and mirrors. Other than that, I have no problems with it.
I agree and disagree
I agree it would be stupid for Finland to join NATO
I disagree that $60 Billion is a paltry amount. It would take 20 years to count out that amount using $100 bills (24/7 at a rate of 1 bill per second). It goes to show how much money our dumbass leaders are squandering. No wonder we’re a bankrupt nation $32 Trillion in debt.
Looks like Russia may have to relocate the HQ for the Northern fleet from Severomorsk. Too close to NATO for comfort!
Sam McGowan says
Yep, Finland fought the Soviet Union during World War II and held them back. Anyone familiar with World War II in the Europe knows this. Finland was also allied with Germany and Finnish troops fought Soviets in Russia – and Ukraine. Personnally, I don’t think NATO membership for Finnland and Sweden will mean much other than that NATO would be bound to defend them in the event of a Russian attack. The US wouldn’t gain any strategic advantage. We already have US air in Poland.
The Bluechecks are making noise about kicking Turkey out of NATO over their veto of Finland and Sweden.
Insane, first what is the point of the veto power clause if they kick you out for using it?
Turkey is an important country of great strategic value, control of the Bosphorus Straits not the least of it.
Could the strategic value of Finland compensate for the loss of Turkey?
If NATO thinks they can use Finland to neutralize Murmansk they are even dumber than I gave them credit for.
The Russians will look after Murmansk like they look after Sevastopol. NATO ain’t getting it now matter who the invite into NATO.