Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö at The Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE) Seminar in Helsinki, defmin.fi

Ladies and gentlemen,

idealism could not, after all, carry us sufficiently far in situations where national interests were tested. A key theorem in the classical political realism is that states maximize their efforts to further national interests within all available means.

It was naively assumed in Europe that all states want ultimately the same: a democratic system, economic well-being and getting rid of national borders. At the same time nationalism was becoming a suspicious ideology.  An idea of an “Arab Spring” was taken to the Middle East and North Africa, and the results can be seen by all.

It is, after all, a fact that different states look at the furthering of national interests from very different perspectives. Both means and goals can be different.

I am sorry to say that at the moment it looks like the traditional power politics has returned as a means to achieve political goals. Changes in the security environment and the multi-purpose use or threat of power have become “a new normal”.

Each state aims to organise its defence in the best way it deems possible: some invest in an independent national defence while others seek security in military alignment. It is in any case clear that cooperation among countries who share the same set of values is vital.

I would like to conclude by reminding you that, in a situation like this, it is important not to react when provoked, and to maintain a dialogue with other countries so that we can together address common security issues. It is also highly important to be able to read the other party’s body language. What Russia really thinks is not always what comes to mind first.Läs talet