Divergent Estonian and Finnish Views of NATO Influenced by Countries' Attitudes Towards US

Ants Laaneots (ERR)
6/11/2014 9:09 AM
Category: Politics

While Finland has had reservations about NATO due to the dominant role of the US in the alliance, Estonia has great trust in Washington, an analyst said.

Even though Finland has more than 200,000 soldiers in reserve, it has not affected its relations with Russia, because Helsinki has distanced itself from NATO, said Pauli Järvenpää.

The visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Finland on Monday came at a time when Finland was discussing issues uncomfortable for Russia, and Lavrov took advantage of Finland’s wary stance on NATO, Järvenpää, an analyst at the International Center for Defense Studies, told ETV.

According to Järvenpää, the US no longer holds a positive image for Finns and “people think about why join NATO and go off to fight American wars in far away countries we have nothing to do with."

Estonia, on the other hand, is relying on the US, the NATO member that has demonstrated the most visible presence in the Baltic states.

There are signs of the Ukrainian crisis cooling down, as far as the West is concerned, and an agreement is in the air, retired general Ants Laaneots said, adding that Russian president Vladimir Putin has also stepped back and has missed his chance to send regular military troops into eastern Ukraine.

If the crises festers on, a permanent NATO presence in the Baltic region will be up to the US, Laaneots said.


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