Missiles from NATO

Matti Ahola, former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defense, makes the military case (fi) for NATO membership in an interview that appeared in several Alma Media newspapers today. He doesn't see the Finnish military lasting for long in modern warfare against a strong enemy - i.e. if Russia invades, although that's left unsaid. "We're talking about a durability of days, at most weeks. After that aid from foreign countries is needed. We have no system to ensure this aid."

According to Ahola, Finland doesn't have the goods needed to stand up to air strikes in a protracted struggle. "You can load ten to twelve missiles into a Hornet at a time. When there are 63 planes, in theory a significant part of Finland's missiles is attached to the planes at one go. After the first full round of shots, we must quickly get more missiles from some NATO country. Others don't have them." Therefore, "It is one hundred percent up to NATO whether our air force's and army's main weapons usable in a lengthening crisis."

Guerrilla warfare is an alternative, but it has a significant downside. "A guerrilla army's effect starts to be felt only when the enemy has penetrated deep into the country. At that point no one is safe, least of all civilians. This sort of weapons cache romanticism is out of date."

Ahola isn't very pleased (fi) with President Tarja Halonen, who has made anti-membership comments in recent weeks. "She's aware of these facts, there's no doubt about that. Clearly she's playing knowingly with two sets of cards." I would consider the possibility that Halonen thinks that foreign policy benefits of non-alliance cancel out the military benefits of NATO membership.

Ahola seems to be on shakier ground when talking politics. "Before both the presidential and the parliamentary elections, certain security policy topics of which there was to be no debate were defined. We won't be a very good example of democracy as OSCE chairs next year." This is wrong. Nothing stops any politician from bringing up any security policy topic, but if there are no votes in talking about your pro-NATO views, why spend valuable campaign time on it?

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