NATO again

I was just tempted to feel a bit happy that Joseph Stiglitz had told the Finnish government in no unclear terms that their economical policy is the wrong way (in Hbl of Lör 19.09., p.12) – which is of course eagerly being denied by Sipilä and others, but is still good ammunition for the Left -, but already in Hbl of Sö 20.09. there was then an article titled ”Svenskt Natostöd pressar finska politiker”.

Jaha, there was some opinionsmätning according to which those in Sweden who want to join NATO are 2 per cent more than those who are against the idea (while 20 per cent are undecided). And Hbl is, unsurprisingly, clearly eager to follow up the matter: IF Sweden should join NATO, should Finland also do so? And certainly one should carefully consider what to do. Because: Up to now we have the situation that Russia is relatively happy with its peaceful Finnish border and a not very threatening Östersjö, while it is clear that any attack on Finland would see Sweden in the NATO already the next morning, making all of the western shores of the Östersjö enemy territory. Meaning that the present Swedish (official) neutrality is a protection for Finland and a great help to prevent military tension in the whole area. But if Sweden would by one-sided decison decide to join NATO, Russia might feel sufficiently threatened to demand a decison from Finland whether it would
(a) promise (CONVINCINGLY) not to let Sweden, or NATO, use Finnish territory for any aggression against Russia, or (b) not. And in case
(b) it might occur to Russian minds to make very soon a fast sweep into Finland and occupy it up to, say, the line Inari-Rovaniemi-Kemi (i.e. not invading any Swedish or Norwegian territory), by that shortening its newly hostile north-western border from 1340 km to ca 400 km.

Militarily, the thus-created shorter border would be very much easier to defend against the NATO. That the USA would risk a really big war because of it might actually be rather improbable (what is Finland with its ridiculous 5,5 mio people to US voters if New York city alone has already 8,4 mio ?), and if the Russians would mamage to behave rather civilized otherwise, the Finnish resistance in the occupied territory might die down rather soon. Altogether, there is quite a probability that it is not good for Finland if ANYbody is so very eager to create more hostile borders anywhere in the whole area.

Of course the Swedish (and Finnish) bourgeoisie, in its unlimited admiration for the US system (where the property of the rich is convincingly protected and the ”elite” also ”listened to”) will tend not to see all this. And IF it would see, to take it rather as a reason just to hurry up becoming another market for the US military complex and subservient to any US government – even if the president should be one Donald Trump. And the Finnish Left should, accordingly, use all its possibilities and contacts to (a) point to the above mechanism by which the Swedish neutrality is also protecting Finland (and anyway the peace in the whole region), point (b) to the ever-present danger that any next US government might be a Republican one (and any progressive US president might soon be shot), point (c) to the seeming reluctance of the Swedish media to spread progressive ideas (when I last time asked in Akademen, there was STILL no Swedish version of Ha-Joon Chang’s ”23 Things …” – which makes at least me suspicious that something like censorship/brainwash is going on in Sweden, possibly resulting in a pro-NATO trend …). And if it should be so that this agrees with some tendencies among the Perussuomalaiset, so be it. There would still be no necessity to share the racism of some sections of that party …

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4 Responses to NATO again

  1. Anna-Karin says:

    spot on! thanks for that bright analysis!

  2. Kynä says:

    How can you be so naive? Debt won’t pay your bills, you need more debt. And one day, being an unimportant piece in the global economic puzzle, you are made to pay. Stiglitz won’t come to help you then.

    NATO membership is a far better alternative than remaining alone to watch the 1300 kilometer border. Of course it will be bad news for the Russians, but if the Swedes join, so must we. The most stupid decision would be to hang around with no allies.

    Read the East European history. Russia has tormented all its neighbors over the centuries. Most often, Poland and Ukraine have been victims, but also Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland have several painful memories. As Vaclav Havel has said, the only way to stop the bullying is to react as soon as possible. (Read also Havel’s biography…)

    Finally, back to economical issues: The Finnish ”Left” is voted by 7 % of the population. And if you count in SDP and the Greens, you have 30 %. This is a minority, isn’t it? The Government is supported by 65 to 70 % depending on how Svenska Folkpartiet and the KD vote. The majority must take responsibility for the future of the country. This will mean cutting subsidies and reducing the amount of needless bureaucracy. What’s wrong with that?

  3. Ernst Mecke says:

    I should feel better about this exchange if ”Kynä” could come out with his (presumably HIS, and sorry if I am wrong with my guess) real name. Even if this is the blog of Tigern, nobody here is in the habit of eating opponents – it is just so that Tigern tiger inte … . But anyway I do not intend to leave Kynä’s points unanswered (indeed, Tigern tiger inte).

    Kynä seems to have understood from my liking for Joseph Stiglitz that I were in favour of freely just taking more and more credit. In answer to this idea I first should recommend to him a reading of one (or some) of the books which Joseph Stiglitz has been writing for the public and trying afterwards to guess whether Stiglitz might actually be a rather intelligent person (or really not); also, it would be rather improbable if Stiglitz had got into all his various high positions, also got the so-called Nobel prize in economy, if he were not really pretty intelligent indeed. And after this: what might be my reasons for applauding Stiglitz’ opinion that the Finnish government is on a really very wrong track with its economical policy? It is in fact not that I would especially like to be in debt. Rather, I am pretty horrified about the seeming lack of ideas from where to get at least some money, and also how to get Finland to produce more things which might have a chance on the international market. Of course it might be difficult to come up with realistic suggestions how to get more money IMMEDIATELY, but at least there would be the possibility to begin thinking and talking without further delay about, e.g., tax havens (for the USA it was possible to blacklist for decades any firm which was caught doing business with Cuba, and what would hinder from dealing with tax havens in similar ways?) or also things like the Tobin Tax (which is also being recommended by Ha-Joon Chang in chapter 22 of his ”23 Things …”, titled ”Financial markets need to become less, not more, efficient” – for which he gives, as always, VERY good reasons: what he sees is a need to ”reduce the speed gap between finance and the real economy”). And as to new ideas what things Finland could possibly produce for export, the government could certainly try the idea to ask the public for suggestions (from which then institutions like SITRA and VTT could pick such ideas as might be promising). Such initiatives to invite ideas have, to my knowledge, at some time been taken by Kolster Oy Ab in Helsinki and also by Hbl (at the time when Barbro Teir was chefredaktör), and also Ny Tid was a few years ago publishing three of my ”technical visions” (to which I would meanwhile be able to add a few more). Thus, ideas there would be. And about the neoliberal dogma that governments should keep out of business decisions, Ha-Joon Chang says as ”Thing 12” that ”Governments can pick winners” (for which he of course also gives good examples).

    But my main point was of course NATO: The most recent point (which Kynä could not yet have known about) is from Hbl of Ons 23.09., p.3, and reads ”Pentagon har … upprepade gånger simulerat ett rysk anfall mot de baltiska länderna. Resultatet var nedslående för amerikanerna – varken Nato eller USA klarade av att försvara Baltikum”. To this one could of course react with a demand for more investment in the military, but this would ANYWAY become VERY expensive at a time when the government has already hardly any money, and it would take time, and increase the probability that it really comes to a Russian attack (in my piece I was explaining how). As to looking at history and not wanting to suffer under a Russian regime: certainly I should not like very much to be occupied by Russia, especially not under a regime like Stalin’s, but in fact the Russians have since World War II towards Finland more or less behaved like NEIGHBOURS, and even in their own sphere of interest at least not behaved as badly as the USA were behaving in theirs (e.g. Central and South America), and how the Neoliberals are behaving right now in, e.g., Greece we get nearly daily from the media (and do not like it either so very much).

    Especially, I should be curious to learn from where Kynä got the idea that NATO really would come to help if Finland were attacked by Russia. In NATO, the one who takes military initiatives tend to be the USA – if even they do not move, nobody else will either. Since the Cuba crisis (when the suspected enemy really appeared ”on the doorstep” – a similar situation which Russia is expereincing right now with the Ukraine problem) it has happened exactly once that the USA were taking up arms against an opponent whom they suspected of being somehow dangerous, namely against Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War. In all the other cases the USA assumed the opponent to be ”easy prey”, and how really very carefully they are behaving with North Corea (and its really not very strong nuclear arsenal) we learn every now and then from the media. From where then Kynä’s idea that ANY US government could think it ”in the American interest” to enter into a seriuos military conflict with Russia? Altogether: might it in fact be best if Finland would, say, closely cooperate with Sweden (at least as long as Sweden is not an instrument of NATO), but (also together with Sweden) make it VERY clear that at least these two countries do NOT (NOT) have any intention to be drawn into the military dreams of any other powers, are instead just satisfied to do their best to make it very expensive for anybody who should think of trying to invade? And are otherwise very willing (and pleased) to keep this area of Norther Europe a peaceful, cooperative and democratic place. And the responsibility for (hopefully) this policy is not with the majority of the electorate (which might easily be swayed by the media) but with the government. Simply because this is the job for which it has been elected and for which it (in contrast to the electorate ) also has the (hopefully adequate) means and Instruments.

  4. Ernst Mecke says:

    I should feel better about this exchange if ”Kynä” could come out with his (presumably HIS, and sorry if I am wrong with my guess) real name. Even if this is the blog of Tigern, nobody here is in the habit of eating opponents – it is just so that Tigern tiger inte … . But anyway I do not intend to leave Kynä’s points unanswered (indeed, Tigern tiger inte).

    Kynä seems to have understood from my liking for Joseph Stiglitz that I were in favour of freely just taking more and more credit. In answer to this idea I first should recommend to him a reading of one (or some) of the books which Joseph Stiglitz has been writing for the public and trying afterwards to guess whether Stiglitz might actually be a rather intelligent person (or really not); also, it would be rather improbable if Stiglitz had got into all his various high positions, also got the so-called Nobel prize in economy, if he were not really pretty intelligent indeed. And after this: what might be my reasons for applauding Stiglitz’ opinion that the Finnish government is on a really very wrong track with its economical policy? It is in fact not that I would especially like to be in debt. Rather, I am pretty horrified about the seeming lack of ideas from where to get at least some money, and also how to get Finland to produce more things which might have a chance on the international market. Of course it might be difficult to come up with realistic suggestions how to get more money IMMEDIATELY, but at least there would be the possibility to begin thinking and talking without further delay about, e.g., tax havens (for the USA it was possible to blacklist for decades any firm which was caught doing business with Cuba, and what would hinder from dealing with tax havens in similar ways?) or also things like the Tobin Tax (which is also being recommended by Ha-Joon Chang in chapter 22 of his ”23 Things …”, titled ”Financial markets need to become less, not more, efficient” – for which he gives, as always, VERY good reasons: what he sees is a need to ”reduce the speed gap between finance and the real economy”). And as to new ideas what things Finland could possibly produce for export, the government could certainly try the idea to ask the public for suggestions (from which then institutions like SITRA and VTT could pick such ideas as might be promising). Such initiatives to invite ideas have, to my knowledge, at some time been taken by Kolster Oy Ab in Helsinki and also by Hbl (at the time when Barbro Teir was chefredaktör), and also Ny Tid was a few years ago publishing three of my ”technical visions” (to which I would meanwhile be able to add a few more). Thus, ideas there would be. And about the neoliberal dogma that governments should keep out of business decisions, Ha-Joon Chang says as ”Thing 12” that ”Governments can pick winners” (for which he of course also gives good examples).

    But my main point was of course NATO: The most recent point (which Kynä could not yet have known about) is from Hbl of Ons 23.09., p.3, and reads ”Pentagon har … upprepade gånger simulerat ett rysk anfall mot de baltiska länderna. Resultatet var nedslående för amerikanerna – varken Nato eller USA klarade av att försvara Baltikum”. To this one could of course react with a demand for more investment in the military, but this would ANYWAY become VERY expensive at a time when the government has already hardly any money, and it would take time, and increase the probability that it really comes to a Russian attack (in my piece I was explaining how). As to looking at history and not wanting to suffer under a Russian regime: certainly I should not like very much to be occupied by Russia, especially not under a regime like Stalin’s, but in fact the Russians have since World War II towards Finland more or less behaved like NEIGHBOURS, and even in their own sphere of interest at least not behaved as badly as the USA were behaving in theirs (e.g. Central and South America), and how the Neoliberals are behaving right now in, e.g., Greece we get nearly daily from the media (and do not like it either so very much).

    Especially, I should be curious to learn from where Kynä got the idea that NATO really would come to help if Finland were attacked by Russia. In NATO, the one who takes military initiatives tend to be the USA – if even they do not move, nobody else will either. Since the Cuba crisis (when the suspected enemy really appeared ”on the doorstep” – a similar situation which Russia is expereincing right now with the Ukraine problem) it has happened exactly once that the USA were taking up arms against an opponent whom they suspected of being somehow dangerous, namely against Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War. In all the other cases the USA assumed the opponent to be ”easy prey”, and how really very carefully they are behaving with North Corea (and its really not very strong nuclear arsenal) we learn every now and then from the media. From where then Kynä’s idea that ANY US government could think it ”in the American interest” to enter into a seriuos military conflict with Russia? Altogether: might it in fact be best if Finland would, say, closely cooperate with Sweden (at least as long as Sweden is not an instrument of NATO), but (also together with Sweden) make it VERY clear that at least these two countries do NOT (NOT) have any intention to be drawn into the military dreams of any other powers, are instead just satisfied to do their best to make it very expensive for anybody who should think of trying to invade? And are otherwise very willing (and pleased) to keep this area of Northern Europe a peaceful, cooperative and democratic place. And the responsibility for (hopefully) this policy is not with the majority of the electorate (which might easily be swayed by the media) but with the government. Simply because this is the job for which it has been elected and for which it (in contrast to the electorate ) also has the (hopefully adequate) means and Instruments.

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