January 28, 2010

Summary

The first issue of Diplomaatia in 2010 is dedicated to Finland. In the opening article, Mart Nutt, a historian and a member of the Estonian Parliament, compares Finnish and Estonian history. The Estonians have always drawn parallels between the two countries. The Finns have done the same with only slightly less enthusiasm, writes Nutt. “But if we compare the fates of the two nations from the beginning of time, it becomes clear how diverging they have actually been,” states Nutt. He provides an in-depth analysis of the emergence of nationhood and political systems in both Finland and Estonia from the second half of the 19th century to the Second World War, taking a closer look at the differences in their economic systems and population processes. “Despite EU membership, both Finland and Estonia have their own interests that lead to different choices, which often find expression in contrasting behavioural patterns. It is clear that the roots of these behavioural differences lie partly in history,” claims Nutt.

The first issue of Diplomaatia in 2010 is dedicated to Finland. In the opening article, Mart Nutt, a historian and a member of the Estonian Parliament, compares Finnish and Estonian history. The Estonians have always drawn parallels between the two countries. The Finns have done the same with only slightly less enthusiasm, writes Nutt. “But if we compare the fates of the two nations from the beginning of time, it becomes clear how diverging they have actually been,” states Nutt. He provides an in-depth analysis of the emergence of nationhood and political systems in both Finland and Estonia from the second half of the 19th century to the Second World War, taking a closer look at the differences in their economic systems and population processes. “Despite EU membership, both Finland and Estonia have their own interests that lead to different choices, which often find expression in contrasting behavioural patterns. It is clear that the roots of these behavioural differences lie partly in history,” claims Nutt.

Summary

The first issue of Diplomaatia in 2010 is dedicated to Finland. In the opening article, Mart Nutt, a historian and a member of the Estonian Parliament, compares Finnish and Estonian history. The Estonians have always drawn parallels between the two countries. The Finns have done the same with only slightly less enthusiasm, writes Nutt. “But if we compare the fates of the two nations from the beginning of time, it becomes clear how diverging they have actually been,” states Nutt. He provides an in-depth analysis of the emergence of nationhood and political systems in both Finland and Estonia from the second half of the 19th century to the Second World War, taking a closer look at the differences in their economic systems and population processes. “Despite EU membership, both Finland and Estonia have their own interests that lead to different choices, which often find expression in contrasting behavioural patterns. It is clear that the roots of these behavioural differences lie partly in history,” claims Nutt.
Kaja Tampere, a lecturer at the University of Jyväskylä, analyses the Finnish communication culture, which is characterised by an economic use of words: “There is an abundance of information in the public sphere, but this information can only be ‘sensed’ and it is conveyed by immaterial means. /…/ Social context is shaped by certain models and patterns that are accepted by everyone and rarely spoken about.” In addition, the Finns are very loyal to their country and seldom criticise it, to the surprise of the Estonians: “The Finns are proud of their nation and have a serious attitude towards it. Every Finn has a say in national decision-making processes, which is why they do not complain after the implementation of decisions.” Before the making of any decision, however, very long debates are sometimes held about them in order to let everyone take their time and say their piece: “They cherish their democratic way of life and they therefore put up en masse with public debates on every issue of national importance, even if these processes get quite drawn out and become increasingly slow.”
For all that, the Finns treat the Estonians like family: “When there is something good to talk about the Estonians, they do it proudly; when something bad has happened, they speak about it with familial concern and condemnation, but not with harshness.”
Estonian diplomat Kristel Engman examines Finland’s attitude towards NATO. “While accession to NATO was a self-evident security policy choice for Estonia, Finland has had to think about the benefits of NATO membership and their potential consequences.”
Generally speaking, especially since 2000, Finland supported the Baltic states in their strive for NATO, but its approach has still been very cautious, in previous years in particular: “Although in principle Finland has shown a positive attitude to NATO enlargement and has emphasised the role of national sovereignty in making one’s security policy choices, it still prefers to be rather cautious and to assess the impact of enlargement processes on the broader security environment. This tendency was particularly marked before the 1999 enlargement, when several Finnish top politicians distanced themselves from the process or underscored NATO’s responsibility for taking the enlargement decisions (and for their potential consequences).”
As for Finland’s possible accession to NATO, the general consensus is that there will be no major developments in this respect before the 2012 presidential elections. It is hard to say what will happen after 2012 because a pro-NATO stance has gained popularity among Finnish civil servants, but not in the whole society: “An anti-NATO position would bring in more votes from the Finnish electorate than a pro-NATO one. There are no signs that this will change any time soon. /… / The guiding of public opinion towards new choices in security policy is a complicated task, for which sufficient time is needed.”
Major Toomas Väli, a member of the Estonian Defence Forces, tracks the development of the Finnish national defence system since the Second World War and its current state of affairs. After the war, Finland was a neutral country both politically and officially, which meant that it made preparations to defend itself from all directions of 360 degrees against all aggressors. “However, when solving tactical tasks during training exercises, the enemy always came from the east,” states Väli who has studied at a Finnish military academy. Already in the mid-1990s, the command methodology in neutral Finland did not differ much from similar procedures in NATO countries. Currently, Finland has been NATO-ready in most areas for several years.
Journalist Anvar Samost gives an overview of a book on the history of the Finnish Security Police (SUPO) since 1949, titled Ratakatu 12. He describes SUPO’s daily life under various directors, the political pressures of the Kekkonen era, SUPO’s relations with intelligence agencies in the West and its efforts to keep the KGB’s activities in Finland under control. “SUPO is proud that it is among the few secret services in the world that managed to withstand all Soviet attempts to recruit any of its members. It is up to the reader to decide whether there was actually any need to recruit anyone,” concludes Samost.
Kadri Simson, a member of the Estonian Parliament, reviews Paul Krugman’s book, The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of2008. According to Simson, Nobel laureate in economics and Princeton University Professor Krugman offers a good overview of the patterns of previous crises. “For Krugman, a crisis is not an act of divine judgement for meting out punishments, rewarding the good ones and correcting inconsistencies,” claims Simson.

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