Stratfor on Finnish and Swedish NATO prospects

Stratfor, a well-known private security consulting intelligence agency, has published an article of Finland's and Sweden's approach to NATO. The direct link asks you to register, but you can access it without registering by going through Google News.

The aspect I found most interesting is their analysis of Finland's and Sweden's motives. For Finland, they write, joining NATO would be a way to obtain closer political ties to Western Europe. For Sweden, it would be a way to remain a regional power. I partly disagree with their assessment on Finland. It's true that a common refrain from Finnish NATO enthusiast is that Finland needs to be represented in all the clubs through which Western powers cooperate. However, that argument alone isn't good enough. "But mom, everyone else is doing it!" just isn't very convincing. There needs to be a consensus - if not among the people, at least among the leaders of the big parties and the president - that joining will improve Finland's security.

The article notes that Finland and Sweden have agreed to consult each other before taking the step to join. This, according to Stratfor, raises the possibility that "Finland would not join NATO unless Sweden does as well". That is going a bit too far, I think. The idea is not that either side has veto over the other's security policy, but that any decision one country makes will not come as a surprise to the other. It's possible, for example, that Finland joining will push Sweden to do likewise. Giving advance warning of such intentions is beneficial for long-term planning.

PS: Stratfor says Sweden has "a stellar defense program". What's that, the Finnish military? (Zing!)

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