Misunderstanding in Gullranda

On 18.06.19 HBL had on p.6 a report about the ongoing conference in Gullranda, where this year Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Bundespräsident of Germany, is a guest of honour.

As an important incident, HBL reported this: ”Inför en samlad publik ställde president Sauli Niinistö en fråga: Hur reagerar EU-länder om ett annat EU-land som inte hör till Nato invaderas? Förhoppningen var att den tyska förbundspresidenten ens i en bisats hade antytt att Finlands sak är Tysklands, men det gjorde han inte.”

This incident may be a disappointment to Finns, but to a German like me it is no surprise whatsoever. The first reason for this is that the German förbundspresident has basically hardly ANY power to make political decisions. I.e. his function is very largely a ”decorative” one (at most that of a ”spiritual leader”), and it would have been simply dishonest of him if he had said anything which could have been understood by anybody as some type of promise. And this had been especially true in the present political situation in Germany, where the opinions of a relatively reasonable Angela Merkel (who officially has a very powerful position) are largely ignored by by her own Christian Democrat party, are actively counteracted by her party’s Bavarian branch (the CSU), and are mainly supported by the Social Democrats, who are in coalition with the Christian parties, but are at present in a crisis, very much worrying how to even survive politically. Altogether, Germany is right now in a state where bold decisions of any type should better not be expected.

As to Germany coming to the aid of Finland in case that Finland should be invaded, in the present situation it will all depend on Washington: IF the USA should make a move to help Finland (which I do not think probable), Germany will presumably join. If the USA should not, Germany will certainly not either, anyway as long as the Christian parties have any say in it – because to them Finland is far away, politically on a rather Scandinavian line (which the Christian parties are anyway against), and not even Catholic. And unluckily I do not even see whether and when Germany could again be in a state when there were a Social Democrat chancellor as brave as Gerhard Schröder, who refused to join the US invasion of Iraq, and of whom one could, accordingly, also expect a brave decision to support Finland in a conflict.

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