International Relations

Finland-NATO-Russia: Look for Ways to Reduce Tensions

Finland has joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as the 31st member, and its choice should be understood through the prism of conventional deterrence. Finland’s membership to NATO is a reasonable decision that may provide extra security guarantees and aid in defending against potential Russian attack.

The Historical Background of Finland-Russia Relations

  • Finland and Russia’s relationship dates back nearly 200 years and has been marked by conflict and compromise.
  • Tsar Alexander I of Russia seized Finland in 1809 and proclaimed it an autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian empire.
  • Between the two world wars, the Finns felt more threatened by Russia than by Germany.

The decision of Finland to join NATO

  • Finland has become the 31st NATO member, perhaps provoking Russian counter-measures.
  • The decision to join NATO is considered as an autonomous option, largely prompted by the Russia-Ukraine war.
  • Security guarantee: Finland’s membership to NATO is a logical choice for the alliance to provide additional security guarantees. NATO’s founding treaty, Article 5, binds the members together, committing them to protect one another and establishing a sense of solidarity inside the alliance.

Defense preparations against potential aggression

  • Defence against potential aggression: Finland had been planning to defend itself against potential aggression even before joining NATO.
  • Conscription in Finland has created enough resources for the army, navy, and air force to function effectively in a war situation.

What this means for India and the Arctic area

  • A powerful blow to the Western coalition in the Nordic region: Finland has kept a small but capable armed force that is well-trained and resilient, and its membership in NATO gives the Western alliance a real punch in the Nordic region.
  • As the Arctic ice cover melts due to global warming, the high north has become commercially appealing as well as geopolitically contested.
  • India is an Arctic Council observer: India is an Arctic Council observer, which aims to promote broad cooperation in the polar north.
  • The militarization of the high north appears unavoidable as Finland and Sweden transition from neutrals to Western allies and China increases its profile in the Arctic in collaboration with Russia.
  • Global governance: This could make global governance of the Arctic area more difficult.

The necessity for NATO and Russia to be cautious in the future

  • To avoid further escalation of hostilities, both NATO and Russia should be watchful of each other.
  • The newly elected centre-right administration in Finland should engage in bilateral talks with Russia to better understand each other’s security concerns.
  • At least some NATO countries should be willing to depend on diplomatic instruments and moderate the heat.

@the end

Finland’s decision to join NATO is considered as a sensible one, prompted partly by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Finland’s membership to NATO should be regarded through the perspective of conventional deterrence, since it may persuade an adversary not to launch a conflict. NATO and Russia should look for methods to reduce tensions rather than imposing sanctions and responses.

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