The Great Game has resumed, and it requires Finland to act,

Competition between the great powers has returned to the global political scene in a way that requires situational awareness and initiative from Finland.

Hiski Haukkala, professor of international relations at Tampere University, warns that small states are threatened by the transfer of key issues away from multilateral arenas to smaller circles formed by the great powers.

“Finland’s challenge is to act in such a way that it avoids being used as a pawn in the great power game,” Haukkala writes in his new book, Suuren pelin paluu [The Great Game Returns]. […]

According to Haukkala, competition between the great powers could at worst result in Finland being presented as the West’s support area in a conflict against Russia. This in turn would force Finland to build its security and position only on weapons.

“This would significantly reduce Finland’s room for manoeuvre and weaken its international position, as it would make Finland completely dependent on
the countries from which it receives military support. However, that would not necessarily eliminate the threat of major political agreements being made over our heads,” Haukkala argues.

Haukkala considers the return of the great power games to be a bad development for Finland, and he believes this trajectory will be potentially difficult and even dangerous for all small countries. Nevertheless, it is a fact that must be acknowledged. […]

Haukkala considers both a speedy accession to NATO and the renouncement of the current NATO option – and thus voluntarily settling into Russia’s sphere of interest – to be bad alternatives. NATO membership would ensure a degree of safety, but it would activate a wider threat against Finland from Russia. For its part, giving up the NATO option would narrow Finland’s independent room for manoeuvre. […]

Haukkala considers ‘the Nordic balance’ familiar from the Cold War a better solution than joining NATO, but in a new way so that Finland and Sweden together would remain outside NATO but be an integral part of the wider Western European area that develops close co-operation in security and defence. Läs artikel

Hiski Haukkala: Suuren pelin paluu. Suomen tulevaisuus kriisien maailmassa. Otava 2020.