The Alternatives for Finnish Defence

We have read many times arguments about Finland becoming a member of the Nato due to that Finland belongs to the West and in the end it is a question of respect to the Western values or that it is natural that we would be a member in the Nato, since it would be useful and in our interest to belong to all Westernly respected Western organizations. In the Russian side the argument goes mainly by underlining the importance of interests.

Primarily the mainly Russian underlining of the impportance of the interest perspective is more realistic and correlates to the security situation in the real world better than the Western talk about values. This can be seen also in the Chinese response to the decision of the Permanet Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague regarding the South China Sea case whereas China argues that the PCA doesn’t have jurisdiction over the said case and would prefer bilateral negotiations with the Philippines.

Regarding now the security of states around the Baltic Sea, it is very much a question of colliding interests. We should now try to find a common base of different Baltic Sea States to form a system which will enhance the security of this region and not threat to worsen it.

Regarding Finland’s position in this theatre we are on the other hand part of the West due to our memebership in the EU and our enhanced cooperation in the security matters with the Nato, UK and USA, but we have also a long border with Russia and are thus even very much dependent on what Russia is planning to do and what it does. Since Sweden does not want to form a defence alliance with Finland and since it is the only EU member state with which we have a land border, we are very much dependent on the maritime logistics of the Baltic Sea. And we are therefore economically dependent on the free passage through the Baltic Sea.

In the end our alternatives regarding our defence are rather limited:
a. If Sweden applies for the membership of the Nato, we should do likewise.
b. If Sweden doesn’t apply for the membership of the Nato, we should try to grow our defence cooperation with Sweden and with member states of the EU, especially those located by the Baltic Sea and with UK and USA.
c. We should try to establish a common defence of the EU as well.

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Brexit 2

There have been some notes about the security influence of Brexit regarding Finland. It is naturally true that at the moment Finland’s security position might be slightly weaker due to Brexit than it was before Brexit, since the UK’s part of the total value used in the EU for defence is rather large.

Brexit should allow the Finnish defence to invest more in the EU defence industry than before since Finland’s role has increased in defence matters due to Brexit. Therefore it is also more propable that next Finnish fighter jets might be of EU origin, that is either Dassault Rafale or SAAB Gripen.

It is also obvious that Germany’s and France’s role regarding the defence of Europe will be altered due to Brexit, and that this will also have an effect in the practical defence-oriented relationships between Finland and Germany, between Finland and France and between France and Germany.

But after all, it should be regarded as well as obvious that Finnish-English defence cooperation will contnue.

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Brexit 1

UK:n Brexit-tulos on ilmiö, jolla tulee olemaan kosolti negatiivisia vaikutuksia niin UK:n ja EU:n kuin maailmankin suhteen. Mielestäni äänestystulos osoitti ainakin kolme asiaa:

1. Riittävän suuri osa UK:n johtajista sekä kansasta ei ole tarpeeksi ymmärtänyt UK:n ja EU:n ja UK:n ja muun maailman keskinäisen riippuvuuden dimensioita ja niiden vaikutusta UK:n kehitykseen;

2. UK:n turvallisuus-, talous- ja maailmanpoliittinen merkitys tulevat vähenemään vahvasti kun taas eräiden EU-valtioiden turvallisuuspoliittinen merkitys sekä resurssien allokointi puolustukseen tulevat väkisin kasvamaan merkittävästi; ja

3. EU on sekin osin epäonnistunut, koska siitä eroaa merkittävä jäsen.

Brexit-neuvottelut tulee aloittaa pian ja ne päättyvät silloin kun asiat ovat valmiit.

Suomen kannalta on vaikea vielä päätellä, miten suuret taloudellliset vahingot maallemme aiheutuu Brexitistä. Englannille taloudelliset vahingot tullevat olemaan suuremmat kuin moni irtautumisen puolesta on ymmärtänyt.

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Pitäisikö Nato-jäsenyyden mahdollisesta hausta järjestää kansanäänestys vai ei?

Vastaan otsikon kysymykseen arvioimalla asiaa kolmelta kannalta ja tekemällä sitten yhteenvedon:

1. Onko demokraattinen prosessi kaikkein järkevin ja sopivin tapa toimia turvallisuuspoliittisissa kysymyksissä?

Vastaus: Demokraattinen prosessi ei välttämättä tarkoita kansanäänestystä ja turvallisuuspoliittisissa asioissa kansanäänestyksen järjstäminen voisi viedä aivan liiaksi aikaa ja antaa ulkopuolisille tahoille suuren mahdollisuuden vaikuttaa kansalaisten äänestyskäyttäytymiseen. Lisäksi turvallisuuspolitiikka on osa-alue, jossa olennainen tieto joudutaan usein juuri turvallisuutemme takia pitämään vain pienessä piirissä.

2. Saako kansamme mielipiteestä luotettavamman käsityksen kansanäänestyksen perusteella vai siten että kansanvalitsemat poliitikot päättävät asiasta kansanäänestyksen sijaan suoraan?

Vastaus riippuu pitkälti siitä, mitä pidetään kansan mielipiteenä. Jos arvioidaan asiaa niin, että kansanäänestyksen tulos kertoo per se kansan mielipiteen, lienee selvää, että tällaisen mielipiteen selville saamiseksi, kansanäänestyksen lopputulos on paras tapa. Mutta ehkä meidän kuitenkin pitäisi myös huomioida, että kansan käyttäytymiseen ja mielipiteen muodostumiseen pääsevät kansanäänestystapauksessa vahvasti vaikuttamaan myös ulkopuoliset tahot. Toki nämä tahot voivat jossain määrin vaikuttaa myös kansanvalitsemien poliitikkojen käsityksiin, kuitenkin vedoten tällöin ehkä enemmän asiasisältöön kuin populistisiin käsityksiin.

3. Mitä tarkoittaisi, että asiasta päättäisivät kansanvalitsemat poliitikot saatuaan kansan mielipiteen asiasta kansanäänestyksen jälkeen tai suoraan ja ilman kansan nimenomaista kansanäänestystä?

Kansanäänestyksen pitäminen tekisi prosessista hitaan, mutta ehkäpä se kuitenkin antaisi vahvimman kuvan kansan mielipiteestä kyseiseen asiaan kuitenkin mukaanlukien ulkopuolisten laajat vaikutusmahdollisuudet äänestyskäyttäytymiseen.

Kansanvalitsemien poliitikkojen suora päätös asiasta ilman kansanäänestystä tekisi prosessistaa nopemamman ja näin ollen vähemän vaikutusherkän koskien ulkopuolisten tahojen vaikutuspyrkimyksiä lopputuloksen suhteen. Tosiasiassa ulkopuolisia tahoja pyrkii ehkä nytkin vaikuttamaan myös poliitikoihin ja heidän päätöskäyttäytymiseensä.

YHTEENVETO: 1. kysymyksen vastauksen perustelun mukaan päätös kannattaisi tehdä poliitikkojen suoralla päätöksellä ilman kansanäänestystä. 2. kysymyksen vastauksen perusteella lienee suunnilleen yhtä arvokasta ja suositeltavaa järjestää kansanäänestys tai olla järjestämättä se. 3. kysymyksen vastauksen perustelujen mukaan on ehkä hieman järkevämpää tehdä päätös ilman kansanäänestystä.

Lopputulokseni on siten, että on painavampia syitä olla järjestämättä kansanäänestystä arviotaessa Suomen mahdollista jäsenhakemusta Naton jäseneksi.

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The new security architecture of the Baltic Sea

We have recently seen more military activity in the Baltic Sea area than for example about ten years ago. This is partly due to the new military equipment, for example ships and submarines, that Russia has produced. But mainly this is due to a more tense security situation in the world and regarding the Baltic Sea area worse security situation between Russia and the USA/Nato. This has also meant more US military activity in the Baltic Sea and even training together in between Swedish, Finnish and US troops. This is understandable, since both Sweden and Finland are in the EU and most of the EU countries have organised their defence through Nato, but US and Russian military activity in the Baltic Sea area is not only a matter to be supported but may also be considered as a peace threatening matter.

One thing is crystal clear, if Russia extends its military activity in the Baltic Sea area we in Finland must show that we will take care of our security by all necessary means. And this also means that we must act in time.

Regarding the ways of easing the tensions we have several ways to act. The one which is easiest to take care of is to establish a military free area of the Gulf of Bothnia. This could be controlled by Swedish and Finnish military in the Åland Sea and in the Sea of Finnish Archipelago.

Installing tactical nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad would be a serious mistake by Russians and would severely raise the security tensions in the area. It would also make it more obvious that the majority of Finns might accept that Finland would join the Nato, at least in case Sweden would join the said organisation. Before considering the membership in the Nato we should think about whether we could enhance economic cooperation in the Arctic Area including Russia and United States and creating real prosperity and economic growth in the said area in the near future. This cooperation might include even such countries as Canada, China, Germany and Japan. Finland has a realistic chance to see the reality of this possibility as Finland will be the next chair of both Arctic Council and Arctic Economic Council, starting 2017, at least in case the security situation in the Baltic Sea area will not get any worse.

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Highly educated young people: should they work in Finland?

How do young highly educated people in Finland see their future in Finland and/or elsewhere? In order to be able to answer this question I will concentrate on few circumstances that in my opinion have a large impact on the behaviour of the said young people above. These circumstances are: 1. the internal security in Finland, 2. the possibilities of education and studying in Finland, 3. the possibilities to be able to work in Finland with special skills/knowledge that one has received by education and studies, 4. the living standard in Finland and 5. the external security.

1. The internal security to its citizens
Since the situation of less earning citizens and the weakest people (elderly, kids, unemployed, poor, handicapped etc.) is becoming rapidly worse in Finland and there is more and more talk about general strike it might very well be that a significant portion of highly educated young people in Finland assume that the internal security situation in Finland is deteriorating.

2. The possibilities of education and studying in Finland
In general, we may say that the possibilities to educate oneself or one’s children and study in Finland are still rather good here. However, the Finnish Government has send an awkward message not only to its citizens but also to international investors as it seems that it is going to weaken the financial position of those studying and made rather large cuts in universities. Thus, Finland is now less competitive country regarding its position as a country where one’s children should study than for example 20 years ago.

3. The possibilities to work in Finland and using your education/skills and knowledge at your work here
The unemployment figures are still high in Finland. Unfortunately the Finnish Government seems to be concentrating in trying to almost “force” people to work instead of creating situations by which new jobs will be created much more than with today’s system. Thus, situation in Finland to get a new job for a highly educated young person is worse today than for only few years ago.

4. The living standard in Finland
It may be so that less educated persons are paid rather well in Finland compared to many other countries but regarding highly educated young professionals my opinion is that they earn much less than in some other countries. Even here Finland seems to have lost in its competition power to its rivals.

5. The external security
Finland’s position regarding its external security has always been rather demanding due to that it has a powerful Eastern neighbour i.e. Russia. The use of some means that have been against the international law (Crimea/Ukraine), has not made Finland’s security position safer. We should add to this that global security environment including such areas as South China Sea, Baltic Sea, The Middle East and so on, has become more fragile, which has caused more tensions between world powers.

All in all and in my opinion the position to stay in Finland and work here has become less favourable at least to highly educated young people. Let us hope that this development will be soon stopped and the development will make a turn towards more positive future in this country and a beneficial place to work and live here for highly educated young people, too.

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The task of the Finnish Government

The task of the Finnish Government is to create such circumstances in our country that our society will safely be allowed to prospere and develop sustainably. Such a development may be sustainable only if the clear majority of the Finnish people will accept the necessary measures to be taken by our Government. This requires that our Government must very carefully listen to its citizens.

The decisions may not be taken solely by forcing through the legislation our Government believes is necessary in our difficult situation, but the future legislation must be done so cleverly that it will consider even the opinions of those people which are not represented by the parties in the Finnish Government now. Only by doing this, can we be sure to get in the position where the free and comprehensive and rapid development of this country may begin.

The existing Finnish Government has actually only a short time left to show that we are correct in giving it a chance to get Finland out of todays difficult economic situation. I still believe that the existing Government is capable of doing what it has promised to do but lately I have been surprised often by the Government’s failures, unfortunately.

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