Can France use its nuclear weapon to defend Finland?

Russian media is not finished gloser At the distance separating the European capitals from the Sarmat missile launch. Finland’s possible membership in NATO, which Turkey still opposes, could add Helsinki to the list. Because in the case of Finnish membership in NATO, NATO will share about 1,340 kilometers of the common border with Russia, which increases tension with Moscow, which has warned of a possible military deployment in Finland and Sweden, which are also a candidate country. This border, like the one separating Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave, from Poland and Lithuania, would directly oppose the nuclear alliance that is the Russian nuclear energy NATO.

Finland’s NATO membership would extend the US nuclear umbrella to a country that today’s promise of assistance from its allies in the event of Russian aggression is technically dependent solely on its membership in the European Union (EU). And it will remain so until its official membership in NATO – if that happens.

During this delicate transitional period, European solidarity can be expressed through a clause that appears in European treaties. Like Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which provides for mutual defense between NATO countries in the event of an armed attack by one of its members, Article 42.7 included in the 2009 Lisbon Treaty states that NATO member states the European Union “They owe help and assistance to each other by every means they can.”in the event of an armed attack by someone.

On March 8, the Swedes and Finns did not fail to remind their partners of this mutual commitment, in a letter sent shortly before The meeting of the twenty-seven in Versailles on March 10 and 11. Finland’s expectations for a common European defense have always been high, given its border with Russia and its choice, until now, not to join NATO. The interpretation of Article 42.7, which was activated only once during the 2015 attacks in France, is still open.

At the time of the terrorist attacks on French soil, when the President François Hollande turned to her, European foreign ministers met and it was agreed to help many countries not within the framework of a joint decision of the 27 countries, but through the national commitments of many member states towards living in Paris. Germany, in particular, sent soldiers to Mali to support France in its war against terrorism. Each European country was free to choose the means of deployment – national means, in the absence of a European army.

Following the formal nominations of Finland and Sweden for NATO membership, France, the European Union’s leading military power and the only nuclear power since the departure of the United Kingdom, She said she would stand by her Of the two countries in the event of aggression, they remain involved under Article 42.7. What can be its help in the event of an attack? Does French nuclear deterrence include these countries?

Stand out after European time

France, a member of NATO, does not participate in the Nuclear Planning Group, the nuclear planning body of NATO. Its nuclear weapons are not among them. In the face of the tutelage of the Americans, who installed tactical nuclear weapons on European soil, hosted by Belgium, Italy, Holland, Germany and Turkey – there will be one hundredParis has always been held “The rhetoric of the nuclear arsenal is a guarantee of the country’s strategic independence.”recalls one analyst.

However, the NATO Ottawa Declaration, signed in 1974, “Recognizes the contribution of French and British forces to deterring the Alliance”. And in recent years, another expert noted, “The letters ensure France’s participation in defining NATO’s nuclear policy.”. France is a partner, while working to consolidate its independence and assert its sovereignty. Its deterrence is defensive and nuclear weapons are an extreme option for self-defense, in contrast to the American doctrine that its gradual response provides for increased force from tactical missiles as a last warning before an extreme response.

In 2020, Emmanuel Macron went even further in developing a French nuclear deterrent with European dimensions.

At the heart of French deterrence is the attack on its vital interests, a concept deliberately vague to keep an opponent in limbo. Each president gives items of appreciation during a speech replacing his predecessor. However, over the years, Paris has given a European dimension to deter them. Evoking Jacques Chirac in 2006, in “Knowledge” vital interests of the country, The growing interdependence of European countries. When nuclear testing resumed in 1995, the idea of “Concerted deterrence” with its European partners. Nicolas Sarkozy will continue to offer them dialogue about the role of deterrence.

Even if very secret exchanges have taken place between the French and the Germans since the era of President Helmut Kohl (1982-1998), France’s partners have always remained cautious. Public opinion does not want him and Germans are wary of their past. Especially since with regard to European defense, it is always suspected of France’s desire to consolidate its hegemony. As of 2009, Germany’s ruling coalition will put nuclear disarmament at the center of its foreign policy.

But in 2020, in the scope Speech at war schoolEmmanuel Macron has gone further in developing a French nuclear deterrent with a European dimension. Our nuclear forces are playing their deterrent role, especially in Europe. They strengthen Europe’s security through their presence and in this respect they have a truly European dimension.” And to add: “Let’s be clear: France’s vital interests now have a European dimension.” There is no official reaction from European partners, even as US President Donald Trump plunged NATO into a crisis of confidence.

today, “The Swedes and Finns hope that Article 42.7 of the European Treaties will have a nuclear deterrent effect with respect to Russia for the coming weeks and months.”, says a specialist in security issues in the European Parliament. But it is not clear. Nuclear weapons, highly dangerous, even horrific, are still shrouded in taboo. The words of deterrence are calculated and calculated and fall into a real psychological war.

We are not yet talking about extended deterrence to French deterrence, while the Americans have adopted extended deterrence toward their allies. There is no French “nuclear umbrella” in the European Union. “NATO is currently so popular and convenient that the question does not arise even for a pole or Portuguese member of the alliance”continues this same specialist.

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And if a vital interest of Finland is affected, it will be up to the French president to assess it and to assess the attack on his country’s vital interests. It will be a national decision. Just like NATO’s nuclear deterrence, despite the policy of nuclear engagement and joint maintenance of equipment necessary for the use of strike force, it is subject to US nuclear capabilities. Ditto for the chain of command.

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