A Finnish political analyst said that Finland would have the obligation to come to Estonia's aid if its smaller neighbor were attacked, even though Finland is not a NATO member and is not obligated by the organization's Article Five collective defense clause.
Charly Salonius-Pasternak, senior research fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, said Finland is in a current mode - futile, he said - to convince itself that it would be able to remain out of a potential conflict in the Baltic Sea region.
"Actually, the EU's Lisbon Treaty alone compels Finland to, say, militarily aid Estonia if the latter is attacked. Thus there should be discussion about whether Finland is ready to take part openly in NATO collective defense exercises," he wrote in his piece, published in Finnish here.
Salonius-Pasternak said that NATO was in a transition phase, as the post-Cold-War peacekeeping mission era, he said, is over. He noted that Finland had participated in Steadfast Jazz and Saber Strike in 2013 and 2014, respectively, and that Finland itself was holding an exercise called Northern Coasts this fall, for NATO and Partnership for Peace countries (except for Russia).
The recent changes in NATO's profile all had an impact on Finnish national defense and relationship to NATO," said the researcher. "The breakthrough could jeopardize the silence maintained for domestic political reasons by Finnish parties and defense forces about how closely Finland had worked with NATO in the last decade."