Why choosing Finland to join NATO is a ‘geopolitical tsunami’

Finnish leaders said Thursday that they want to join NATO. News emerged in the midst of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and made the Kremlin react.

The decision is expected on Sunday, but it appears to be only a formality. While the Finnish president estimated on Wednesday that his country’s entry into NATO would not be “against anyone,” the Finnish leader and his prime minister said on Thursday that they supported Finland’s entry into NATO “without delay.”

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, said that if she applied, “she would be warmly welcomed into NATO and the membership process would go smoothly and quickly.”

German Chancellor Olaf Schulz expressed his “full support” for the will of Finnish leaders to join NATO immediately. For his part, Emmanuel Macron indicated that France fully supports Finland’s sovereign choice.

Threat of a “military-technical” Russian response

But above all, a reaction to the East, specifically that of Moscow, was to be expected. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said membership would “certainly” pose a threat to Russia.

“The expansion of NATO and the convergence of the alliance to our borders does not make the world and our continent more stable and secure,” the Russian official said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded in a statement that if membership is achieved, Russia will be “obligated to take reciprocal military-technical and other measures to put an end to threats to its national security,” calling on Helsinki to “realize its responsibilities.” .

In response, the Finnish president said: “If we join (to NATO, editor’s note), my answer (to Russia, editor’s note) will be ‘You caused it, look at yourself in the mirror'”.

Invited on the set of 22H Max on BFMTV, General Olivier de Buffinchove called a “geopolitical tsunami.” The former chief of staff of NATO’s international force recalls that the term “Finnish” was used to describe the country’s historical neutrality between the two blocs.

“It’s a true geopolitical tsunami that shows how much President Putin is getting, across the board, exactly the opposite of what he had hoped for,” said Olivier de Buffinchove of Our Antenna. “It’s a fiasco all along the line.”

“For this country neighboring Russia, with a border of more than 1,340 kilometers, it is nothing,” judges François Heisbourg, special advisor at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, in West France.

“It is a strategic turmoil. Russia appears to be adapting to this situation where Finland had a free exercise of potential membership in NATO, but chose not to exercise that option,” he continues, describing Europe as the “co-beneficiary” of this decision by Helsinki. If Finland can indeed rely on Article 42.7 of mutual assistance from the European treaties, then the 27 countries are well aware that they do not occupy the same place as NATO versus Russia.

“The big difference in NATO is that there is the United States,” confirms Jean-Sylvester Montgernier of France Info. “With its weight and strength, the United States is able to provide much stronger security guarantees than those of the European Union,” notes a researcher at the Thomas More Institute.

For Amelie Zima, “The whole question will be whether we will deploy forces from NATO countries in Finland, as happened in the Baltic states.” However, the researcher in international relations explains to our colleagues at France Info that membership of a single country does not make sense for Finland and Sweden, and that it must be done “together to be strategically and politically interesting”.

A similar decision is expected in Sweden

Because Sweden too can take the lead: a strategic review prepared by the government and parties will be announced in Parliament on Friday, ahead of an undoubtedly crucial meeting of the ruling Social Democratic Party on Sunday.

“These two neutral countries have strong militaries relative to their populations, and are interoperable with NATO forces. If the political process is accepted, the technical process will be accepted quickly, and in the end what Putin wanted to avoid – that ‘NATO gets closer to its borders -‘ managed to get what You don’t want it,” General Jerome Belistrandi analyzed last week on BFMTV

Fearing a Russian reaction, the two countries have already sought assurances of protection during the months needed for their formal entry into NATO, such as the mutual defense pact signed Wednesday with London. In the US Senate, which is responsible for ratification by the required two-thirds majority, key elected officials from Democrats and Republicans have pledged to support Finland’s membership.

Hugo Garnier with AFP BFMTV journalist

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