Finland in 'War Psychosis' Over NATO, Former Foreign Minister Says

© Photo : Finnish Defense ForcesFinland is boosting its strength along its border with Russia
Finland is boosting its strength along its border with Russia - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.04.2022
According to Erkki Tuomioja, who has served as foreign minister under several governments and remains a political heavyweight, in the present climate of public debate which is largely driven by “ingrained fear”, anybody who questions NATO membership is vilified as a “Putin agent”.
As parliamentary debate on NATO membership kicked off in the Finnish parliament last week to determine whether the historically non-aligned Nordic country would join the alliance, former Foreign Minister and Social Democrat heavyweight Erkki Tuomioja suggested that at present the debate is motivated by emotions rather than sober analysis.
Although public opinion in favour of NATO has soared since the start of Russia's special operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine, and protect the People's Republics of Donbass - portrayed as an “invasion” in Finland - Tuomioja, the vice-chairman of the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, said there was a “huge degree of feelings involved” in how the public supports joining the alliance.
“Public opinion plays a big role in this, but there is also this ingrained fear, which is actually fuelled by our media, which is in a state of, I would say, war psychosis,” said Tuomioja, who has served as foreign minister in several governments over the past two decades.
The veteran political expert, speaking in an interview with National Public Radio, then suggested that a Russian “attack” on Finland, one of the major fears of those who want to join NATO, was not realistic. He said that on the contrary, Finland's joining NATO could create tensions with Russia, compromising the “very pragmatic relationship in terms of logistics, environment and regional cooperation” which exists at present between the two countries.
Tuomioja opted not to reveal his personal stance on Finnish membership of the military alliance, but voiced his concern about the level of public debate.
“I'm also concerned about the level of the public debate. Anybody who questions membership is being vilified as a Putin agent,” he concluded.
Earlier, Sanna Marin, the country's prime minister and, like Tuomioja, a member of the Social Democratic Party, said Finland will probably decide whether to join NATO “within weeks”. This past weekend, the present foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto of the Greens said there was “little point” in delaying Finland's NATO bid.
Tuomioja, on his part, has already advocated a closer alliance with Sweden and closer ties with the US as an alternative to joining NATO.
In this file photo dated Aug. 29, 2014, NATO naval mine countermeasure vessels berth in Turku, Finland, during the international Northern Coasts 2014 (NOCO14) military exercise - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.04.2022
Finland's Foreign Minister Says No Point in Delaying NATO Membership Application
Polls carried out over the course of the spring have revealed unprecedented levels of NATO support among both the general public and MPs.
Although both Finland and neighbouring Sweden have long been moving closer to the alliance through arms procurement, common drills and overseas operations, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned that their accession to NATO risks undermining stability in northern Europe.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned that in joining Finland and Sweden would not only turn themselves into “a new frontier of NATO's confrontation with Russia” but also “renounce part of their sovereignty”.
At the same time, former President and currently Deputy Chairman of the of Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, said Russia would have “more registered foes” if Finland and Sweden were to join NATO formally.
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала