NewsFinland's defense agreement with US seen as 'plan B' amid possible Russian threats

Finland's defense agreement with US seen as 'plan B' amid possible Russian threats

"Plan B" in case of an armed attack from Russia. The Finns have signed an agreement.
"Plan B" in case of an armed attack from Russia. The Finns have signed an agreement.
Images source: © East News | ABACA

7:51 AM EST, December 26, 2023

"Finland is as well defended as currently possible. We will not defend ourselves alone, but together with NATO and the USA," announced Defense Minister Antti Hakkanen following the government's approval of the U.S. Defense Cooperation Agreement.

"Pillars of Finland's national security"

The key foundations of Finland's national security, as laid out by the politician, include a robust national defense, NATO membership, the Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA), and the country's role in the Multinational Joint Expeditionary Forces of the Nordic and Baltic states (JEF), which is led by Great Britain.

Prior to Russia's attack on Ukraine and Finland's admission to NATO, maintaining "good relations with our eastern neighbor," notably Russia, was also seen as critical, Finnish media said.

The DCA agreement was signed on December 18 in Washington by Hakkanen and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The Finnish parliament is anticipated to approve the document in early spring 2024.

The DCA is viewed as a life insurance policy more significant than NATO

Under the bilateral agreement, the USA will have the ability to outfit Finnish territory with military equipment, weapons, and ammunition while deploying its units. Fifteen zones, including airports and ports across the country - from the Gulf of Finland in the South to Lapland in the North, and from the Gulf of Bothnia in the West over to Karelia in the East - will be available to the US land, air, and maritime forces. However, as "Helsingin Sanomat" noted, there will be no such zones near the border with Russia due to cautionary measures.

As of now, the exact volume of American forces and their location within the country have not been disclosed.

"The DCA is a life insurance policy more significant than NATO", stated the newspaper "Iltalehti", emphatically labeling the agreement as a solid "Plan B," or "safety net," should former President Donald Trump, who previously alluded to the possibility of a U.S. withdrawal from NATO, return to power.

Opposition to the agreement is present in the country

The Peace Movement of Finland (Rauhanliito) stated that the DCA agreement represents a notable shift in military cooperation with a foreign power, exceeding the framework of NATO collaboration."

Following similar negotiation outcomes in Sweden and Denmark, and earlier in Norway, the entirety of Scandinavia, the Baltic Sea, and a portion of the Arctic will be operation zones for a foreign power, likely escalating tension between the two nuclear-armed forces: the USA and Russia.

According to the statement from Rauhanliito, a union established over a century ago, Finland's traditional role as a peace-builder will be weakened.

"Finland, firstly through joining NATO, and now through a bilateral agreement with the USA, has become a tool in the execution of Washington's strategy" – commented deputy Johannes Yrttiaho from the Left Alliance (VAS). He continued by expressing that Finland is now perceived as a frontline country. "If a clash of powers happens, Finns will feel it first" – the politician warned.

The USA has secured DCA agreements with over 20 countries, including Baltic and Central Eastern European states.

Agreement with the USSR on friendship, cooperation, and support

"For the Americans, all of Scandinavia is perceived as one key region," stated "Helsingin Sanomat". It highlighted not only U.S. strategic interests in accessing the Arctic region but also its aim to strengthen and maintain a long-term deterrent on NATO's eastern flank, even to enable pursuits of interests in other parts of the globe.

The older generation of Finns still recalls the USSR agreement on friendship, cooperation, and mutual aid which was enforced from 1948 to 1991. Although Finland was not a member of the Warsaw Pact, if another country posed a threat to the USSR via its territory, it was obligated to join the conflict, and the Soviet troops were required to assist Finland in repelling any external invasions.

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