Finland, Sweden May Join NATO But At What Price?

[…] Among Finnish liberals, there is talk of improving and reforming the alliance from within, making it less hawkish, with the help of Sweden. In general, there is the sense that a country whose leaders have long had their finger on the pulse of the Kremlin has lost the count.

“There used to be the sense: we know these people; they know us,” the Finnish thinker and legal theorist Martti Koskenniemi told me.

“But you can’t negotiate with a power that no longer knows where its interests lie. And if the power is more powerful than you are – and becomes in a sense crazy – then membership in NATO becomes reasonable.”

Whether Finland and Sweden will actually be safer in NATO is another question. Their declarations have only drawn a mild rebuke from the Kremlin, which has warned against a military build-up in both countries. Vladimir Putin’s regime has never suggested the possibility of hostilities against either country, with which it has consistently enjoyed cordial relations. […]

Few Finnish elites seem to think they will be manifestly safer in NATO, and no one is fooled about the sacredness of NATO’s article 5. “NATO’s defence of its members is an open-ended negotiation process,” Koskenniemi freely admits. He sees Finland’s entry into NATO operating at the level of appearances. “It’s not that we were very insecure yesterday, and will be very secure in NATO tomorrow,” he says. “It’s that this is a negotiation with a country that can no longer negotiate, and so NATO membership helps clarify our position to them.”

But Koskenniemi is fully aware that with NATO membership, another striking feature Finland once exhibited to the world will recede. The very possibility of a state going its own way in Europe now seems slightly more distant. Läs artikel