Cronberg opposes joining NRF

Green League chair, Labor Minister Tarja Cronberg said (fi) at a party council meeting that it would be beneficial for Finland to stay out of the NATO Response Forces. She thinks joining the forces would probably increase the pressure to take part in operations that Finland hasn't chosen itself. It's a reasonable point and, I suspect, one that we'll be hearing more often once the NRF decision becomes timely. President Tarja Halonen has also pointed out (fi) that Finland wouldn't be involved in making the decision to start an operation. This makes the NRF different from e.g. the EU Rapid Reaction Forces.

Cronberg also pretty much accused of Foreign Minister Ilkka Kanerva and Defense Minister Jyri Häkämies of being on their hands and knees in front of Washington. Her comparison to the old days of Finlandization is a bit off-base. The United States just plain doesn't care about Finland enough to try to influence the country's foreign policy debate to the extent the Soviet Union used to do. Further, the domestic point scoring has gone both ways: against pro-NATO folks for having a bit too warm relations with the US and against anti-NATO folks for not being in Washington's good graces.

It will be interesting to see how the Greens react, should the government come down on the side of joining the NRF.

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