NATO Membership: The Zero Hour has come for Finland

Russia’s aggressive conflict against Ukraine has demonstrated a reduction in the threshold required to resort to the use of armed force. It appears bent on destroying civilian targets with long-range weaponry such as missiles and artillery. The principles of international law that exist to safeguard civilians during wartime are being flagrantly disregarded by this behaviour. As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland’s government produced a report on the country’s changed security and operating environment. In addition to this, the report analyzed the likelihood of increased collaboration with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as well as the implications of Finland’s potential admission into NATO.

On July 5, NATO Member States signed the Accession Protocols for Finland and Sweden’s membership in the Alliance, establishing Finland and Sweden as NATO invitees. Finland’s invitee status allows it to attend and speak at NATO meetings but not vote. Following that, each NATO member state must address and approve Finland’s Accession Protocol in accordance with their respective national ratification procedures. It will likely take a number of months for the ratification process to be completed. As a result of Finland’s impending membership in NATO, the organization’s Article 5 collective defense, which is supported by an integrated military command structure, a unified defense planning process, and exercises, will include Finland as a participant.

For Finland, which has a 1,300-kilometer border with Russia, joining the political and military alliance will be a momentous choice. Following its defeat by the Soviet Union in World War II, the Nordic nation adopted neutrality. Since more than two centuries ago, Sweden has also not been a member of any military alliances.

Finland fought the Soviet Union in two wars and came out on the losing end both times. It relinquished land and was under Russian pressure for decades. Throughout the Cold War, it was under the Kremlin’s area of influence, which some described as “Finlandization.” In the view of the Finns, this did not imply slavish submission to Russia’s ambitions; rather, it meant expanding its options by pursuing a policy of nominal neutrality in order to avoid an awkward position between great power conflicts. As the Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 specified the boundaries for defence collaboration with third parties, Finland remained outside NATO and engaged in only limited international defense engagement with the West. According to the treaty, the Soviet Union and Finland could initiate joint military discussions if necessary. To prevent the Soviet Union from invoking this article, Finland, NATO, and the United States avoided needless military action in Northern Europe.

The fall of the Soviet Union paved the way for Finland to formally end its neutrality and begin defense cooperation with the West. Finland developed its Defense Forces (FDF) to match alliance standards (a condition for Finland’s defense procurement since 2007), participated in NATO-led operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and built a close defense collaboration with the United States through the purchase of cutting-edge military equipment, such as the F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft. It signed a contract on February 11 to buy F-35 fighter jets made in the US for $9.4 billion.

Finland’s security and defense policies underwent radical transformation after the events of 2014. New opportunities have arisen as a result of shifts in European security. Three things make this clear: the defense cooperation agreements; the expansion of joint drills with allies for the defence of Northern Europe’s territorial integrity, and the revised regulations governing the FDF’s primary responsibilities.

Finland will engage in collective defense planning as a NATO member in accordance with Article 5 of the Alliance’s founding treaty. Finland must integrate the contents and deadlines of its defence planning with the NATO planning system. Many problems have arisen as a result of the near-term harmonization of defense planning activities, such as Finland’s security policy position within NATO.

To summarize, the timeline for Finnish NATO admission has been meticulously planned. One must be either ignorant, following Putin’s script, or lacking a thorough understanding of the security situation in northeastern Europe to advocate delaying membership. For the foreseeable future, Europe will remain a divided continent, and that’s a sad truth. On one hand, Russia is aggressive, revisionist, and authoritarian on the other side of the new iron curtain. Power is the only concept that Vladimir Putin is familiar with. He will attack if you show any signs of weakness, as we saw in Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 and 2022. However, there are still about 40 European countries that support democracy, peace, and collaboration. They are all free to decide for themselves whether or not they want to join NATO or the EU, or to develop some other kind of alliance with either.


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