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  • Author: Toivo Martikainen, Katri Pynnöniemi, Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia has perceived itself as a great power and has sought international acknowledgement of its status for years. The fact that Moscow regards the post-Soviet space as its sphere of ‘privileged interests’ and the sovereignty of the other post-Soviet states as subordinate to Russia’s national interests is nothing new. Likewise, Russia has persistently objected to the dominant role played by the US in world politics, and the enlargement of NATO. It has attempted to influence the security policy orientation and political choices made by post-Soviet states, and other states neighbouring Russia, such as Finland. These goals are well-established and are likely to remain fundamentally un- changed for years to come.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Finland
  • Author: Katri Pynnöniemi, Charly Salonius-Pasternak, Mika Aaltola, Kristi Raik
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: New turbulence in the international environment is pushing Estonia and Finland closer together in the foreign and security policy domain. The Ukraine crisis has re-introduced old geopolitical constraints and concerns about national security and sovereignty, limiting the room for manoeuvre for small states. Estonia and Finland took similar positions on many key issues regarding the Ukraine crisis. The common ground is based on both countries' attachment to the liberal world order and Western structures. However, there are deep-rooted differences between the Estonian and Finnish positions on the way to handle Russia and the need to adjust security arrangements, notably the role of NATO in the Nordic-Baltic region. It is common in Finland to see Estonia's approach as unhelpfully hawkish, and common in Estonia to see Finland's approach as too accommodating towards Russia. Shared interests stem from an understanding that the weakening of the security of one country inevitably weakens the security of the other. As both countries are investing more in national security and defence, relevant bilateral cooperation is increasing.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Finland, Estonia
  • Author: Charly Salonius-Pasternak
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finland and Sweden are increasing their bilateral defence cooperation. Officially, it is restricted to peacetime and international crisis management operation activities, but it nonetheless has national territorial defence impacts. The planned deepening of cooperation between Finland and Sweden builds on the already extensive daily cooperation between the two countries. Both Finland and Sweden see deeper cooperation as an important addition to cooperation within the EU, NATO, and NORDEFCO frameworks, as well as other significant bilateral cooperative relationships. Fruitful cooperation will require strengthening trust among military and political actors, as well as an acknowledgement of differing perspectives regarding the role of the defence industry in security and defence policy formation. Cooperation may continue to deepen as the momentum for it builds, or through a binding agreement developing into a defence alliance – Defence Alliance Finland-Sweden (DAFS).
  • Political Geography: Finland, Sweden
  • Author: Harri Mikkola, Jukka Anteroinen, Ville Lauttamäki
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The European defence industrial base is transforming. The changes in the European defence market legislation, the decrease in defence materiel demand and changing defence requirements are redefining the industry in a way that has not been seen in decades. The new European legislation in particular poses serious challenges for the Finnish defence industry, including the national market opening and the diminishing possibility for offset arrangements. It is likely that the major European states are trying to protect their own defence industrial base. The future of the Finnish defence industry will be determined by whether the European market opens up in the first place, in part or in its entirety. There is no going back to the time preceding the new legislation. It is crucial for the Finnish defence industry to find and utilize new market opportunities. Networking with the European system integrators and sub-contracting chains will be of paramount importance.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • Author: Hanna Ojanen, Barbara Zanchetta
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The increasing tension around the Iranian nuclear programme and the uncompromising positions of the protagonists have made the goal of creating a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East seem utopic. Yet, the current strategy of maintaining a low profile in the discussions on the zone, while keeping the focus exclusively on Iran, is not likely to lead to progress. Instead, combining the Iranian question with the zone and enlarging the content and scope of the negotiations even further by including Iran's neighbours could be a better strategy. Turkey could play a key role because of its unique relations with Iran, and because of its strong quest for a more prominent international position — if it can only strike the right balance between the role of lead actor and team player. Turkish-Iranian relations could notably inspire the consideration of accompanying pragmatic agreements on regional cooperation in other fields as a way forward for the upcoming Middle East disarmament negotiations in Finland.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Finland
  • Author: Kaisa Korhonen, Juha Jokela
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Finnish parliamentary elections in spring 2011 were marked by a landslide victory for the Eurosceptic (True) Finns Party. Such an unprecedented upswing for anti-integrationist voices was expected to reshape Finland's EU policy. The Finns Party did not join the government, however, and the party has mainly influenced Finnish EU policymaking while in opposition, and indirectly through public opinion-building. While outright anti-integrationist rhetoric remains on the margins of national public debate, more critical approaches to EU politics have become increasingly pronounced. Political parties have, to varying degrees, adapted their rhetoric and policies to the changing environment. Importantly, the broad consensus on EU affairs in Finland has broken down, at least temporarily. The EU has featured high on the agendas of the recent election campaigns as well as in opposition politics. This has affected Finland's official position too. It has moved in a more cautious and self-contained direction, although the country remains a pro-integrationist member state.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • Author: Charly Salonius-Pasternak
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finland's decision to acquire advanced semi-stealthy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) from the United States is much more than an arms deal – it has significant political and regional military implications. Finland is only the second country to be approved for JASSM. No NATO country has ever received such approval. This suggests something about the closeness of the relationship between the United States and Finland, as well as something about how the United States sees European and regional defence arrangements. In the web of multilateral, multinational and bilateral relationships that Finland is weaving to enhance its security, the US relationship is a key cable The JASSM acquisition significantly changes Finland's ability to disrupt enemy activities, both within Finland and beyond its borders. Despite being a conventional weapon, it will serve as a deterrent. Finnish decision-makers have a responsibility to understand both the implications of the new capabilities, and to ensure that the continued development of the Finnish Defence Forces is not inhibited due to misunderstandings of what a modern defence requires and consists of.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Finland
  • Author: Aaretti Siitonen
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finland is to elect 13 representatives to the seventh European Parliament on 7 June 2009. In the last European elections in 2004, EU-wide voter turnout remained at 46%, the figure in Finland reaching only 41.1%. This was, however, a considerable improvement on the 1999 elections, where Finnish turnout was a meagre 31.4%.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • Author: Denis Kennedy
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finland is currently drafting a comprehensive national crisis management strategy (CNCM). This briefing paper puts this exercise in conversation with the increase in violence directed at aid workers in crisis situations, with special reference to Afghanistan. On a policy level, Finnish decision makers should take into consideration the changing security environment and the mosaic of actors involved in crisis management. It is argued that increased integration and coordination has complicated aid agencies' attempts to maintain neutrality in the field. Neutrality, together with impartiality and independence, functions to create a "humanitarian space" in conflict zones. It is precisely this space that is most at risk when humanitarian actors are coupled with military and state apparatuses. The aim of integration and coordination is to improve the responsiveness, effectiveness, and efficiency of humanitarian relief and crisis response. It involves coordination and cooperation in the planning and use of military and civil defense assets in humanitarian operations. Despite the potential for efficiency gains, integration remains a controversial topic. In particular, it forces tough questions on aid agencies who find their ability to remain neutral, impartial, and independent severely curtailed. There is concern in the humanitarian sector that coherence and integration mean subordinating principles to politics and that this has made aid agencies targets of violence. In Afghanistan and elsewhere, rising violence testifies to an environment in which aid agencies are now perceived as taking sides in conflict. The increase in violence in crisis situations calls attention in drafting the CNCM to the fragility of humanitarian space and the need for open, public debate. Given Finland's experiences with neutrality during the Cold War and in light of contemporary debates over Afghanistan, there is the opportunity to bring deeper understandings to bear in the field of crisis management.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Finland
  • Author: Timo Behr, Matthieu Chillaud, Toby Archer, Charly Salonius-Pasternak, Valtteri Vuorisalo, Barbara Zanchetta
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The increase in fighting in the summer of 2009 has led to renewed debate in many of the countries contributing troops to the international mission in Afghanistan. In the UK the heavy loss of life amongst British soldiers has been central to the discussion on Britain's continued contribution. In Germany the debate has more focused on the increasingly offensive actions that the Bundeswehr is undertaking. France's contribution to the Afghanistan mission is less politically controversial than in other European countries because of the president's power over foreign and security policy. For many years Italy's Afghanistan contribution was less politically sensitive compared to the Italian presence in Iraq, but this is changing with the increase in violence in Afghanistan. In Sweden the annual parliamentary approval process and the increased expeditionary focus of the armed forces have lead to a strong consensus on the need to participate in Afghanistan. The debate in Finland is sporadic and reactive as there is not an annual parliamentary debate as is the case in Sweden and Germany. Nevertheless Finland's contribution is centrally linked to the decision made in those countries.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Britain, Afghanistan, Iraq, United Kingdom, Europe, Finland, Germany, Italy, Sweden