Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Finland has joined NATO as its 31st member

Posted by on 2023/04/04. Filed under Breaking News,China,Headline News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Among the various “reasons” for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the accusation that NATO was attempting to expand eastward was a “big reason”. One year and one month after Russia invaded Ukraine, NATO really “expanded eastward”. Finland, with a 1,300-kilometer-long border with Russia, a history of tsarist bullying and a dangerous Cold War neutrality, finally applied for NATO membership in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine, along with another neutral country, Sweden. On April 4, the Finnish flag will be raised over NATO headquarters.

In the face of Russia’s aggressive nature, Finland’s accession to NATO can be said to be a tiger’s strength. In the eyes of some strategists, NATO’s eastern flank is like an incomplete jigsaw puzzle, which is vulnerable to Russian attack. The addition of Finnish troops makes NATO’s eastern flank almost complete.

It will be recalled that when Mr Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, Moscow justified it by accusing NATO of expansionist ambitions to encircle its territory. Thirteen months later, Finland’s entry into NATO means that the U.S.-led military defense alliance instantly doubles its border with Russia, dramatically changing the balance of power from the Baltic Sea to the Arctic. When Sweden joins in, the puzzle is complete.

“Finland needs NATO and NATO needs Finland in the face of an aggressive Russia,” says Jamie Shea, a former senior NATO official turned research fellow at the Chatham think tank. Now that NATO has easy access to Finnish territory, combined with the capabilities that Finland provides, collective defense against Russia will be easier.”

For years, NATO has sought to defend its three Baltic Allies – Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia – against possible Russian attack. NATO’s biggest concerns centre on the Suwalki corridor, a 65km strip of land linking the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad with Belarus.

A Russian raid on the Suwakie Corridor would cut off the Baltic states from Poland and other NATO Allies. Finland’s accession will open up a new route for the rapid transport of reinforcements, as Helsinki is less than 70 kilometers from Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, across the Baltic Sea.

Estonia’s defence minister admits that Finland’s accession has strengthened NATO’s front line and increased the alliance’s deterrence. But he believes concerns about the Suwakie corridor remain. Because Belarus has essentially become a Russian military district. He stressed that the alliance should strengthen its military presence in the Baltic Sea.

Further north, according to Jan Kallberg, an analyst at European Policy Analysis, Finland would help the alliance defend a stretch of Norwegian territory on the Kola peninsula, which borders Russia.

Especially as the battle for control of the Arctic intensifies between Russia, China and the West, strengthening NATO’s position in the region would be an invincible trump card.

Finland’s entry into NATO has strengthened the alliance, but it has also brought challenges. Finland’s 1,300km shared border with Russia is not always “impregnable”, and securing it is a huge challenge for NATO strategists.

On the eve of Finland joining NATO, the Kremlin announced that it would strengthen its military presence along the Russian-Finnish border in the future. But analysts say it will take many years for Moscow to restore its battered military in Ukraine. They also argue that to avoid provoking Russia, Finland would be better off following Norway’s example and not having a long-term NATO military presence on its territory.

In fact, the Finnish army is an army that has always been prepared for war, and is particularly experienced in fighting in extreme climates. Military experts say Finland is one of the few countries in Europe that has been preparing for a potential war. After the Cold War, European countries disarmed in large numbers, and Finland continued to follow the conscription system imposed when the Soviet Union invaded in 1939.

This allowed Finland to mobilize as many as 280,000 troops and 870,000 reservists during the war. Finland has 1, 500 artillery pieces, one of the largest in Europe, and continues to invest in air defense, including the latest U.S. F-35 fighter jets.

Finland’s NATO membership seems to have left Sweden alone, whose application has been blocked by Turkey and Hungary. However, Finland’s accession in itself strengthened Sweden’s defense, and from now on Sweden is surrounded by NATO Allies.

comments powered by Disqus