Häkämies reconsiders

Right after the brouhaha started, Defense Minister Jyri Häkämies (National Coalition Party) briefly defended his comment that Finland's top security challenges were "Russia, Russia, and Russia".

[Häkämies said] upon his return from a visit to the US on Sunday that he continued to be convinced that the speech he gave at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Thursday contained nothing outside the bounds of Finland's official foreign policy line.

He added that taken as a whole his speech had been balanced and moderate.

I was surprised he even tried, but it was never going to last:
[Häkämies] told the breakfast programme of commercial broadcaster MTV3 on Tuesday that he would reconsider the rhetoric of the security policy speech he had given in Washington last week if given the opportunity to deliver it again.

He still repeated the claim that the speech was in line with Finnish foreign policy. Ironically the strong reactions from other politicians and the amount of publicity lavished on Häkämies's comments support his point that Russia is Finland's top security challenge.

From a timely poll published in Helsingin Sanomat, we learn that:
One in five feel that the threat from Russia has increased in the past few years. However, about 70 per cent of Finns feel that the threat has not changed.

Now all we need to know is at what what level do the respondents feel the threat is, and then we're getting somewhere.

PS: Roughly 60 percent of respondents opposed NATO membership while about 25 percent were in favor. The number of undecided had risen.

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