President Tarja Halonen has reiterated her opposition to Finnish membership in the NATO alliance. She says that she has seen no convincing reasons for joining, and opinion polls show that a majority of the population is reticent about membership.
A history of post-war efforts to stay neutral, 1,200 kilometres of shared border with Russia, a unilateralist US administration perceived as adventurous and an inward looking mindset help to explain the mental inertia of Finland.
But, at least for the political leaders of the nation, strategic reasoning and the responsibilities of leadership should shift the burden of proof:
If there are no convincing reasons to the contrary (and none have been presented), Finland should act like a normal member of the European Union, which the country joined in 1995. Out of 27 EU members, 21 belong to NATO. To remain on the fringes of both organisations is a poor choice.
The government of Finland should set a clear new course: Full participation to enhance the common foreign, security and defence policy of the European Union, including the achievement of a common defence, and transatlantic ties through NATO membership.
Tanja Alamurto & Kari Huhta: On the road to NATO: a guide for travellers; Helsingin Sanomat, International Edition; 18 November 2007;
Tanja Alamurto & Kari Huhta: NATO Pros and Cons; Helsingin Sanomat, International Edition; 18 November 2007;