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Finland’s Russia Concerns

Hakamies1001.jpg Finnish Minister of Defence Jyri Häkämies speaks very clearly on Russia From John Vinocur in the International Herald Tribune:

“The three main security challenges for Finland today are Russia, Russia and Russia. And not only for Finland, but for all of us. “According to the Russian world view,” Hakamies said, “military force is a key element in how it conducts its international relations.” While it would be foolish and mistaken to conclude that Russia will threaten Finland, he said, “we who have the responsibility for Finland’s national defense have to draw certain conclusions.” Ah, conclusions. Hakamies was offering one in calling Russia out by name. And three times, to good effect. This is uncomfortable, non-instinctive stuff in a country like Finland with so much of its complex Cold War history spent avoiding displeasing Russia. It was so unconventional that the prime minister chided Hakamies for his “unsuccessful” choice of words. Not accidentally, Hakamies also gave wide berth to anything sounding like the current mantra, which says that Russia needs respect and to be washed of all its past humiliations. He didn’t say it, of course, but the fact is that in cash terms these days, the West gives Russia all the respect it can handle, while its humiliations are mostly of its own making.