HELSINGIN SANOMAT international

Foreign - Monday 15.12.2003

Former President Ahtisaari: NATO membership would put an end to Finlandisation murmurs

 Finland's security policies stuck "out on the left wing"

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In the opinion of former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari, the foreign and security policy views of all Finnish political parties are relics from the Cold War era.
   
"In order for us to shrug off once and for all the burden of this Finlandisation discussion - which every now and again still comes up in various international contexts - it would be logical for Finland to join all the organisations supported by other Western democracies."
   
"In my view, this also means we should be full members of NATO and the EU alike", argued Ahtisaari in an interview on Lauantaiseura, a regular one-on-one discussion programme on Saturdays on the Finnish Broadcasting Company's TV1.

Resorting to football terminology,
President Ahtisaari described how during the Cold War years all the political parties "packed into the left side of the field" on all the foreign and security policy issues.
   
"In those days such an approach guaranteed parties the possibility to be heard in politics. But - and I am sorry to say this - these parties still seem to be stuck out on the left wing waiting for the ball, without having a clue of how much the game and the world has changed since then."
   
When asked for his thoughts on Parliamentary Speaker Paavo Lipponen's (SDP) recent comments against Finland's present EU policies (for example on such matters as security guarantees in the Union's common defence and security policy), Ahtisaari said that he has always been pleased with Lipponen's ability to concentrate on what is essential, and that he has voted for Lipponen in every general election.

Finlandisation/Finlandization was the term coined originally in the 1960s in in West Germany (Finlandisierung) to describe a certain type of domination of a small state by a larger one. Self-censorship in the media and extreme pragmatism in relations with Moscow were characteristic features. (See also linked article below)

Previously in HS International Edition:
 Max Jakobson recalls heroes and villains of Finlandisation (30.9.2003)


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