I. With humor
Not so long ago, I wrote to VO about how Estonia and Latvia measured themselves ... uh ... armies: which is more powerful, which is richer, which is more militant, which, finally, is more both in number and skill. In their bragging, the Estonians reached the point that with contempt “sentenced” the Latvians to guard the convoys in the rear. Then it turned out that a large percentage of Tallinn spending on weapons and troops was a bluff. There is no money in the Estonian budget for a strong army. No, and never will be. The debate over the power of the armies ended with the fact that both Baltic republics (at the suggestion of the Latvians) started talking about brotherhood. And now, in order to boost morale among the fraternal microscopic troops (three tank in two countries), the army political instructors and civil propagandists have to scare the soldiers with the black plans of the neighboring tyrants - Putin and Lukashenko, not forgetting to praise the heroic SS past buried by the "invaders" in the ground at forty-fifth.
In early January, 2013, the defense ministers of Finland and Sweden set about the attack on “Whose army is stronger”. True, these guys are not quarreling, but, having measured
Karl Haglund, Minister of Defense of Finland
On January 8, rumors were leaked to the press that Karl Haglund, the Finnish Minister of Defense, spoke about what would happen if a military conflict began. And then he explained: his home country will be able to defend itself without foreign assistance longer than neighboring Sweden.
As it turned out, they were not rumors, but true truth. The minister was interviewed by the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, in which сказал:
"Finland has not weakened its defense capabilities to such an extent as Sweden."
Along the way, it turned out that the words of the Minister of Defense did not arise from scratch. Mr Haglund commented on the statements of the Swedish colleague Sverker Goranson. He, with Swedish frankness, had previously told the press that Sweden would be able to confront the interventionist enemies for just one week, and then she would need external assistance.
It is curious that the Finnish minister did not specify how long his long-suffering homeland can hold out, struggling with the invaders. According to the assumptions of other anonymous analysts who cited even more anonymous sources, no more than eight or nine days. On the tenth day of the Swedish army will remain even less than the second day of the war with the Russians will remain from the Latvian army. Or Estonian, who likes what more.
To the credit of Mr. Haglund, he declared that an unexpected attack on his country was highly unlikely.
And then the solo voice of the Minister of Defense gained chamber support. The duo of Haglundu was composed by Jussi Niinistö, chairman of the parliamentary commission on state defense. He noted peppering singing Finnish speech with numbers:
“Finland will be able to withstand much longer than Sweden, if only because we have a large army of reservists. Sweden has only a paid army of thousands of people in 50 ”.
There is, of course, a grain of truth in Mr. Niinistö’s words. Nine days is much more than seven. But why fraternal Sweden got so bad? Niinistö knows what's wrong:
“Sweden has long weakened national defense with its reforms in this area, and their consequences are terrifying. This discussion is still to come. ”
The duo turned into a trio, and an unexpected dissonance sounded. Alpo Yontunen, a professor at the Finnish High School of State Defense in the newspaper Ilta-Sanomat, said that the forces of certain parts of Finland could run out in a matter of hours. What are the days there!
Niinistö this professor quail:
“Jontunen's script is strange. None of us can imagine that Finland will enter into conflict only with Russia. This could certainly be part of a larger conflict. ”
Here it is. What is Russia, when the Finns are going to fight not less than half the world! Although, probably, Niinistö was referring to Russia and Belarus, yearning for the times of the USSR and for free spaces. Of course, comrades Lukashenko and Putin, planning to use the Skype against Finland and possibly Sweden in the evenings, not only remember the past glorious days, the KGB, the Cold War and the Iron Curtain, but also dream of the Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic ( FSSR). With Sweden, everything is much simpler: she will not resist for longer than a week.
Conversations of Finns with the Swedes led to the fact that the ministers of defense of both countries decided: it is time to build a common defense policy. The initiative came from the valiant Swedes. No wonder: the weaker usually take care of common interests.
Dmitry Semushin, European commentator IA "REGNUM", analyzed an article from 13 in January 2013 entitled “Defense may require joint ownership of military technology in the North”, published in “Dagens Nyheter”. The article appears to contain clauses included in a government report on Swedish foreign and security policy. Anyway, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Carl Bildt, and the Minister of Defense, Karin Enström, set forth their vision of a common defense policy of the Nordic countries, including the Scandinavian states and fraternal Finland. All these states need to unite efforts in the field of foreign policy, national security and defense.
In this article, the Swedish ministers explicitly stated:
“We will intensify our efforts in the Arctic Council. At the same time, Sweden now also assumes the chairmanship of the Nordic Council of Ministers, and also participates in the informal foreign policy cooperation of the Nordic and Baltic countries ... Our goal is to further develop cooperation based on proposals for cooperation in security and foreign policy, which were presented in the so-called Stoltenberg report in 2009. ”
The two ministers proposed nothing more, and a kind of defense communism. Joint ownership of military resources, technologies and equipment is the cornerstone of the northern defense project. Dmitry Semushin believes that the Swedish military-industrial complex, which is interested in expanding orders and uniting defense enterprises and laboratories of other Scandinavian countries and Finland under its leadership, is behind such a proposal.
We can add to this that while the Finns and Scandinavians are engaged in building up their armed forces, both in number and skill, the wise Swedes, who still doubt their military resilience (remember: no more than a week), will earn money. That is, against the background of the military communism proposed by them, they will live completely capitalistically. And, in which case, the Norwegian brothers or the Finns will protect them from aggressive toothy Russians.
As for the Russians mentioned, this is again not a rumor.
Swedish ministers were not ashamed to hint at Russia, calling it the main adversary in the Arctic region of the northern countries:
“Sweden is interested in strengthening the values that we associate with a modern democratic society. It is about human rights, freedom and the rule of law. In cooperation with our northern friends, we can have a greater influence on our shared values. ”
It is known that disadvantaged “values”, affected “human rights” and lost “rule of law” are all synonymous with “non-democratic Russia”. Therefore, the phrase sounds extremely suspicious: "In cooperation with our northern friends, we can have a greater influence on our common values." Personally, I am confused by the possessive pronoun. From what fright is it - “ours”, that is yours?
Comrade Semushin leads and reaction to the Swedish statement of the Finnish side, which, incidentally, followed instantly. On the same day, the Minister of Defense of Finland, Karl Haglund, gave an interview to the Finnish portal of the TV channel “Yle”. He declared:
“Of course, in practice this means that we should have some kind of defense agreement with Sweden, since we are talking about the most important potential, for example, in the naval navy or the air force. ”
Then he started talking about a state agreement or even a defense alliance. The Finnish Minister of Defense highlighted the problem here: “the main issue of the principle”, because this kind of cooperation should not involve the northern member countries of NATO. But this is Norway, Denmark and Iceland, and Sweden and Finland just should and can. Only political will is needed!
Apparently, not realizing that the Swedes are going to take Finland into industrial vise and thereby overcome the difficulties of the economic crisis, Haglund enthusiastically continued to give interviews to the media.
15 January in the morning program of the same channel, he said that he hopes to receive from his Swedish counterpart additional information about the proposed cooperation.
Other Finns went on the air. Skype and telephone in Finland are probably not very developed, and the ministers have to communicate with their foreign counterparts on television.
The Finnish Foreign Minister, Erkki Tuomioja, appeared on Finnish television. This person also believes in Swedish military communism and is ready to talk on the invigorating topic of joint ownership of technologies and their joint application. Moreover, the Minister believes that many common measures have already been implemented by Finland and Sweden: joint military exercises and military training, common procurement, cooperation in the field of crisis management and patrolling.
The enthusiasm of his subordinates was suddenly cooled by Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen. In his opinion, there is no point in raising the issue of creating a defense alliance between Finland and Sweden - neither today nor in the future. Another thing is the need to develop cooperation between the two countries in the field of the acquisition of military technologies.
Do not keep silent and the president of Finland - Sauli Niinistyo. On January 16, during a visit to Lappeenranta, he completely rejected any talk about the defense alliance of Finland and Sweden. Niinistö came to the point that he said: the Swedes, they say, did not offer anything of the kind.
An Estonian suddenly got into the discussion between the Finns and the Swedes.
Urmas Paet, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, at a seminar on defense and security policy in Sweden in Salen on January 14 expressed the opinion that Finland and Sweden should join NATO. Sweden made a "promise of solidarity", and therefore is obliged, in the event of an attack, to provide assistance to EU countries and northern countries. Paet explained that he trusts this commitment of Sweden only on 99,9%. But if Sweden were a member of NATO, then the level of trust would rise to a round number.
In general, Paet’s understanding is not surprising: guaranteed northern defenders would not have prevented Estonia with its melting military budget (as well as “depot” of Latvia). The Russian-Belarusian threat is no joke.
An analysis of the possibility of concluding any defense "pact" between the Finns and the Swedes was recently conducted on the resource Nordic Intel. Here, among other things, we are talking about the so-called "information operations" (IO), divided into strategic and tactical (or operational). The unnamed author of the material clarifies that the strategy includes coordinating and synchronizing the policy of the Oncological Institute, procedures and other efforts aimed at achieving international influence in order to achieve certain national goals.
For example, one of Finland’s strategic objectives in the field of IO may be to facilitate the participation of this country in multilateral defense cooperation within the framework of NORDEFCO (Nordic Defense Cooperation, Northern Defense Cooperation).
Once the goal is defined and approved, each of the foreign ambassadors and military attaches, politicians and bureaucrats, speakers and all others, having mastered the tasks and intentions, raises those topics and publishes those messages that would be directed to the effectiveness of the adopted program. Here it is important, the author clarifies that it is important to assimilate what is to be said in order to achieve the goal, so as not to undermine the effectiveness and distort previous informational messages.
However, the author believes that the described systematic approach is either absent in the Finnish government, or key ministers are not able to give it due attention in their information strategy.
The main reason for the shortcomings of the Finnish policy of “information operations” is the coalition government. On the one hand, we, the author writes, have a consensus necessary for effective management, achieve moderation, avoiding the “left” or “right” extremes, promote awareness and, it is believed, can provide political solutions for the sake of long-term stability when one government changes (it is assumed that the other will continue the policy of the previous one). Indeed, in countries with a strong bipartisan political system (for example, in Australia or the USA), where each new government often “overthrows” the policies of the previous administration, society, on the contrary, becomes increasingly vulnerable: political and social polarization occurs.
The coalition of the government, however, also has its drawbacks: the tendency to consult and discuss issues to infinity, indecision, fraught with lost opportunities. In addition, ministers, often representing different political parties, are not necessarily effective in communicating. All this explains the recent failures of Finland in providing clear, clear and consistent messages addressed to external stakeholders, including the EU and its Nordic partners.
The author writes that in order to reach a consensus on the national goals of the Oncological Institute, to establish a clear delineation of responsibilities and links between strategically important initiatives and concepts, a question should be asked on how to ensure compliance with the agreed topics and messages. If the President and the Prime Minister cannot condemn or otherwise hold their line among the ministers, then other possibilities should be explored to increase their responsibility.
Turning to examples of failures of information operations, the analyst identifies as failures of the Finnish ministers: the lack of communication with national leaders and relevant ministries, i.e., the inability to coordinate and synchronize all national AI efforts; the use of terminology, which, depending on the interpretation, can have a very specific meaning and consequences that do not necessarily coincide with the established policies and objectives of the Oncological Institute (lack of understanding of what is needed and what is not necessary to say); making statements that are then disputed by other members of the government (inability to ensure clarity and consistency of all the topics and messages).
The author believes that ministers should be held accountable. They should explain the reason for bad communication between ministries, find out why their position contrasts with the position of their colleagues, explain the points of divergence and justify the expediency of statements that are clearly coordinated with official policy.
As one example, the analyst cites the very “defense pact” between Finland and Sweden, which was launched on January 13.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Defense Minister Karin Enström in a newspaper article argued that the Arctic and the northern regions, along with the Baltic Sea, are becoming increasingly important from two points of view: economy and security. Therefore, in the future, the Nordic countries should strengthen defense cooperation - to combine and share military equipment.
Minister of Defense of Sweden Karin Enström
Probably, Sweden, motivated by budgetary restrictions and the lack of popular support for the country's accession to NATO, wishes further development of military cooperation with partners from the Nordic countries in order to ensure collective security and at the same time cover the lack of internal capabilities.
But who threatens Sweden? The analyst writes that the only significant military threat to this country is Russia, which also threatens other Scandinavian countries. It is considered a threat in part because of the historical legacy and suspicion (Finland), tensions between Moscow and the US / NATO (Denmark, Norway and, to a certain extent, Iceland - as members of NATO). We can also talk about the growing importance of resources, in particular, access to oil and natural gas in the Arctic (Norway’s claims in the Barents Sea) and the sea routes in the Baltic Sea. Other factors of “threats” include Russia's border proximity with Finland and Norway, Moscow’s increase in military spending and aggressive rhetoric, which includes recent attacks on Finland (in 2012, for cooperation with NATO) and Norway (in the current year - on NATO and missile defense). This, the author believes, of course, must be taken into account in the defense plans of the northern countries.
The Swedish military, the analyst recalls, argue that Sweden can only defend itself within one week. Speaking about the defense of Sweden, they first of all think about the Russian attack. Therefore, the comments of Bildt and Enström seem to have been made under the influence of the statements made by the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, General Sverker Goranson, who reported on a week. And then there's NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen, the Dane, recently reminded Sweden that she cannot count on NATO support without being a member of the alliance.
In fact, the author writes, it is extremely unlikely that someone will attack Sweden. Is that a wider conflict will occur. But here, given its participation in NATO programs, Sweden can quickly integrate into the operations of the alliance, even without being a member of the organization. An example of this is already there: participation in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
Following the “week” voiced by the Swedes, Finnish Defense Minister Karl Haglund entered the geopolitical arena. He supported the proposal of Bildt and Enström and even agreed to a military alliance between Sweden and Finland. And this proposal (rather surprising, the analyst notes) was clearly not approved by the Prime Minister and refuted by the President of Finland.
The reason why Haglund publicly made such an important statement that could have strategic implications, without prior consultation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland Erkki Tuomioja, Prime Minister Katainen and President Niinistö, is not known. Fame would save the governments of the two countries from confusion and awkwardness.
At the end of an extensive article, the analyst concludes that Finland and Sweden are unlikely to enter into a formal military alliance and “socialize” military equipment. Of course, the defense cooperation of the northern states remains important for each country, especially for those who do not participate in NATO. But we are talking only about the interaction. Combining the technical component of the two armies is, according to the author, easier said than done. Even for brigades, he writes, many problems arise when combining vehicles, not to mention the national armies. An analyst casually criticizes "Sweden's dependence on the homegrown defense industry," despite the fact that Finland has among the suppliers and the United States. How to prioritize access to technology? What to do when a military conflict with the equipment - and what to do in peace? Breakdown, repairs, drills, ammunition costs? Who will be responsible for what? In addition, it is necessary to decide the question of what to do, say, Sweden, if Finland enters into a war that Sweden does not support.
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In conclusion, it should be noted that the northern fears of Russia today are additionally materializing in the form of "Mistral". On a resource "The Lithuania Tribune" It is reported that for Finland and Sweden, interest in the defense cooperation of the northern defense countries largely depends on the changes in the balance of forces and in the Baltic Sea region. Russia is accelerating the pace of modernization of the armed forces and takes a "assertive" position in relation to the former Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, the budget defense funds of the Swedes and the Finns are very limited. Russia is strengthening its Baltic fleet by acquiring several modern Mistral class ships from France. These ships are designed for airborne and maritime assault forces, and the first of them should be delivered in 2014 year. The Mistrals will give Russia the opportunity to influence the weak defense of the Baltic states: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which will make the strategic isolation of these states more acute. Sweden and Finland should also think about supporting their defense ...
Thus, the northern countries, Finland, and with them for the company and the Baltic states, panic from the same Russian military threat invented by them. Here you have the desire of the Russians to revive the USSR by joining Sweden with Finland (not to mention Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia), and the terrible French Mistrals, andhistorical heritage ”(concerns Russia and Finland), and discord between Moscow, Washington and NATO. Finally, the Russians want to capture the Arctic and monopolize the sea routes in the Baltic Sea. Moscow is increasing military spending and using aggressive rhetoric: it threatens defenseless Finland and even Norway. These two countries, by the way, border Russia, which means that Russian pedestrian and horse intervention can be expected at any moment. As for Sweden, then, as the Swedes themselves noted, their defense will last only a week.
Observed and translated by Oleg Chuvakin
- especially for topwar.ru
- especially for topwar.ru