[…] One main question is whether the real Russian threat to Scandinavia will come from the sea, as Norway fears, or from the land, with a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States or Finland, then a move westward.
Both Finland and Sweden, when it joins, want to be part of the same NATO operational command, given their long history of defense cooperation. Norway belongs to the Norfolk command, and there is a logic to making both Finland and Sweden part of that command, since reinforcements would likely come from the West, across the Atlantic.
But there is perhaps more logic, given the current threat from Russia, for them to join the land-oriented command based in Brunssum, the Netherlands, which is charged with defending Central and Eastern Europe, including Poland and the Baltic nations.
“There is logic for both,” said Niklas Granholm, deputy director of studies at the Swedish Defense Research Agency. “It’s not yet resolved.”
According to the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, NATO is recommending putting both countries in the Brunssum command, despite Finland’s early interest in being part of Norfolk, which Sauli Niinisto, Finland’s president, visited in March. That’s because it is easier for Finland to be reinforced from Norway and Sweden, Mr. Pesu, the Finnish Institute analyst, noted.
The fear is that a modernized Russian Northern Fleet could swing down through the straits between Greenland, Iceland and Britain, a move known in NATO as a “red right hook,” to cut sea lanes and underwater cables and threaten the American East Coast with cruise missiles.
Mr. Dalsjo of the Swedish Defense Research Agency, calling himself a heretic, cautions in a recent paper that this threat is real but may be overblown, especially after Russia’s losses in Ukraine. Russia is predominantly a land power, and its northern fleet is considerably smaller than it was during the Cold War, when there were worries about the kind of major Soviet naval attack depicted in the Tom Clancy novel “Red Storm Rising.” “If they didn’t do it then with 150 ships,” Mr. Dalsjo asked, “why would they do it now with 20?” Läs artikel