Finland’s people now strongly back joining NATO, poll says, a massive political shift that would enrage Russia

From Business Insider:

A survey of people in Finland found that a majority wanted the country to join NATO after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The survey by the Finnish Business and Policy Forum Eva think tank found that 60% of people supported Finland joining NATO, a massive jump from previous years. Eva polled 2,074 people between March 4 and March 15.

Finland shares a long border with Russia and was once part of the Russian Empire. After it gained independence, it was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1939 but fought back and was not defeated.

The country has for decades maintained a careful balance between Russia and Western countries, which involved avoiding NATO membership.

At the time of the last Eva survey in 2021, most Finns seemed to support that position, with only 34% backing NATO membership.

But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, another non-NATO country, prompted a change — almost doubling support for NATO membership.

Ilkka Haavisto, the research manager at Eva, said of the results: “Russia has shown that it does not respect the integrity of its neighbors.

“The war in Ukraine has concretely shown what the horrors of a defensive war on Finland’s own territory would be and made it clear that NATO countries cannot use their military forces to help defend a nonaligned country.”

Link to the rest at Business Insider

PG realizes that the OP is not like his usual offerings for TPV.

He has a close friend who was born and raised in Finland, served a mandatory period of time in the Finnish army, then came to the United States on a university track and field scholarship. He is the only member of his family of origin who is living in the United States and returns to Finland on a regular basis.

From this friend, PG learned that a number of Finns who were caught on the wrong side of the boundary that ended The Winter War, also known as the First Soviet-Finnish War, 1939-40. World opinion generally favored the Finnish cause and, although vastly outnumbered, the Finns inflicted significant damage to the Red Army.

About 12,000 volunteers from other nations volunteered to join the Finnish Army, mostly from Sweden, Denmark and Norway. However, there were also volunteers from Hungary, Italy, Estonia and America (predominantly Americans with Finnish backgrounds ) who joined the Finns in fighting the Soviets.

Pursuant to the peace treaty that ended this war, Finland ceded about 9% of its land area to the Soviet Union. That wasn’t enough for Stalin who kept demanding more land from Finland after the treaty was signed.

The poor performance of the Red Army fighting against the Finns encouraged Adolph Hitler to attack the Soviets fifteen months later in Operation Barbarossa.

When PG’s Finnish friend returns to Finland each year, he always buys provisions and takes them over the Russian border to help the Finns who still live there and speak Finnish as their first language. He says the contrast between contemporary Finland and the lives of the Finns trapped in Russia is profound. “Everything is gray,” is one way he describes it.

30 thoughts on “Finland’s people now strongly back joining NATO, poll says, a massive political shift that would enrage Russia”

  1. Don’t faint about anything, M.

    99% of what I know about the Finns is what my Finnish friend has told me.

  2. PG – OK, I recognise that you have zero knowledge about anything you say, and very poor reading comprehension skills. That makes me sad, because I’ve (foolishly) read this blog for a decade or so. I will do my best not to read or comment any more.

      • Seconded. I have suspicions, based on the inability to formulate a counter-argument, about this person’s ideology, or perhaps just nationality.

        Not that I think starting a debate would have been in the least helpful. When I encounter such people, the opening statement always seems to be “Well, the Finns allied with Hitler in World War II. That makes them Fascists!” To which my reply is “Well, FDR and Churchill allied with Stalin in World War II. That makes them Communists, yes?” Tends to end right there, with much the same – “Well, you don’t know anything about it!”

        Sigh…

        • Sigh indeed.

          It would be a bit of an advance if they said “Well, the Finns allied with Hitler in World War II. That makes them Nazis!” Still nonsense of course but at least it recognises that Hitler was not a fascist – he was much worse – and in fact did not think too highly of Mussolini or of Fascism.

          Still you can’t expect too much these days, and it’s pretty rare to see “fascism” used correctly, mostly it just means that “you’re on the right and I hate you for being so”, and the accusation no longer carries any moral weight.

          • Especially since right or left is by itself irrelevant and most of the politicians accused of “fascism” are actually populists with comparable authoritarian tendencies to their accusers. Populist or elitst makes little difference other than who is picking the pockets of the masses.

  3. Fwiw, the war russia is waging on ukraine (however it turns out) will be very relevant to writers of present and near future fiction of any genre. For a variety of reasons that may be off topic but two notable ones: FINLAND and SWEDEN are both looking to commit to NATO, and Europe is going to have to embrace SMNR tech. (The UK and France already were, Germany and the rest will have to get over nuclear phobia.)

    The reason for the latter is the decision to stop buying russian oil is now out of the politicians’ hands. The middlemen are voting and its not for russia.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bm7cKB3Wczs

    The Law of Unintended Consequences is now in command.

    • Indeed it is. One of those consequences is the redirection of oil trade flows. The Arabs’ loss of confidence in the US due to US negotiations with Iran is likely to push more of their oil east. With Iran already under oil sanctions, the rejection by the West of Russian oil, and US government hostility to fossil fuel production, the West may find itself in a very uncomfortable position.

      All these things work together. It’s not easy, but now is a terrible time to incur the wrath of the Arabs.

      • The Arabs have their own problems.
        For one thing, they are disposable if they annoy the west. Ditto Iran.
        New age, new rules.

        The west has alternatives: CANADA, the US, and fracking.

        Poland has been working on fracking since 2010.
        https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421514004984#:~:text=Unlike%20in%20other%20European%20countries%2C%20fracking%20in%20Poland,of%20liberating%20Poland%20from%20dependence%20on%20Russian%20energy.

        Germany could if they were desperate enough to buck the greens. Doubtful.
        (Fracking is a quick, reliable source of natural gas anywhere there is a played out oil well or coal mine. Wietze, Germany, for one.)

        Suddenly, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, a tech that is being certified as we speak is looking more politically palatable than switching from dependence on autocratic warmongers to unreliable US IdiotPoliticians™. (Or hearing an endless chant of “Trump was right.” Re: Nordstream and defense spending. )

        Law of Unintended Consequences.

        • The idea that the Arabs were disposable for the West has been tested, and found wanting. That was 1973.

          Disposable? Sure. But over what time frame, and under what US administration? We currently have the administration blocking Canadian oil from Keystone, while begging Venezuela, Saudi, and Iran for more. The oil is right nest door, but they won’t let it in.

          Will Germany be desperate enough to buck the greens? If not the Arabs are not disposable. Already the Greens in the ruling coalition have vetoed the idea of extending the lives of nuke plants. That took five days.

          Fracking? Great stuff. But the exploration, delineation, and development all take a while, and are held up by government permits. The Permian Basin extends across the Texas/New Mexico border. It takes ten days to get a drilling permit in Texas. Step across the border, and for the same formation in New Mexico it takes 12 months. Texas is on private land, and the state issues the permit. New Mexico is on federal land, and Washington controls the permit.

          One might say that an Operation Warp Speed for energy would do the trick. That would minimize the time to make the US independent, but it would take longer for the Europeans to haul themselves out of the hole they dug. And a Warp energy project will have to wait at least three years.

          Firm forecasting of this stuff is folly, but I don’t think we can even game our way out of immediate loss of the Arabs.

          • Sorry, wrong century.
            Never mind the 70’s,; look to tge last 20 years.
            Fracking is an old technology dating to the late ’40s but it wasn’t economically viable (high upfront costs) uǹtil this century.
            Specifically, when oil hit and stayed around a $100 a barrel.
            The arabs overplayed tbeir hand and by tge time they realized it it was too ate. Between shale oil and fracking (they are *not* the same thing) the price stayed under $50 despite their attempt to drive the fracking wells out if business. The upfront investments were paying off. Mostly in tbe form of natural gas from old played out century old wells in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. That is how the US got to nun ber 2 in priven gas reserves and number 3 in oil. And a net energy exporter. A big chunk of the exports is in liquified natural gas which is, yes, more expensive than russian or azerbajani pipeline gas but not outrageously so. The big tankers add to the cost.

            In fact, the US is finishing up a monster lquefaction pant in Louisiana that will make the U S the largest exporter of gas.

            https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=50598

            Now, not everybody is geared for gas which is where the pipelie Biden killed (due late tbis year) came in. Canada has a larger shale oil production capacity than tbey can bring to market but Texas has the capacity to take tbat capacity and either ship it east or export it.

            On top of that, the pandemic drive demand for oil below the minimum production capacity and many producers had to shut down and sell out to the big boys who were making bigger margins off imported oil so the have been keeping the fracking oil wells shut down and when demand and price started up Biden had to go begging to the arabs. Not because tbey’re essential but because he capped the active product that can get to market until the canadians build a new pipeline to sell their oil to China.

            Which brings us to the new era of expensive oil. The shut down wells are now higher margin thanks to inflation and can help offset the 4M barrel losses from russia.
            The Netherlands and Germany have been belatedly been building facilities to accept LNG so that will help. Turkey has been trying to get a pipeline in place to get Azerbajani gas to Italy.
            And when the new canadian pipeline starts shipping oil to China faster and cheaper than arab oil, the demand for arab oil will go down.

            So yes, they are replaceable if they make themselves more of a problem than an asset. They know it but if they lose sight of it, well Israel is already exporting and Turkey found new reserves big enough for export. The search has been going on all over for years now.

            The 70’s were two generations ago.
            New century, new rules.

            If russia indeed collapses the next two years will bring a new recession and new stagflation but by the time the new administration takes over in 25 the system will be back in balance.

            As long as the russians don’t start lobbing nukes.

            • Wrong century? I recall Obama telling Romney the Eighties were calling and wanted their foreign policy back.

              No matter what technology we foresee making current reserves unnecessary, it takes time to bring them online. How long did it take for that liquification plant to move from the start of conceptual engineering through permitting, NIMBY, design, engineering, materials, and construction?

              When’s the last time the US built a new refinery? What’s the lead time on turbines for gas plants? Ordering CS pipe from China? How long will it take to undo the environmental regs and lawsuits that inhibit all such projects?

              Fracking is wonderful. But we can’t replace the Arab production without lots more that will take years. The export of LNG needs port facilities to receive it. How are the Germans doing on that? Note the Poles are way ahead on their own ports, and the French are proving themselves smarter than everyone.

              All fossil and nuclear energy projects take time. Speed it up? Sure. And we are left with time. I’m reminded of the Greens who tell us to buy Teslas because wind and solar will replace fossils. Europe is a pretty good example of how that works in this century. It all looked good on paper.

              So managing through the implementation periods is a significant challenge. Alienating the Arabs makes it harder.

              • You did see the part about refracking right? All the wells shut down can be up in a few months. And as I said, refracking doesn’t need new paperwork. No NIMBY or bureaucratic footdragging applies.

                And several SMNR projects are already underway. Terrapower has one in Wyoming that is likely to get accelerated. The nature of SMNR means 5 years instead of 10-20. Again, not tomorrow but sooner than before the war.

                I’m not saying the changes will go live overnight; just that priorities will change and once tbey change the changes will stick. NIMBY and other obstructions won’t have the power they used to. Geopolitical necessity and voter pocketbooks supercede ideology.

                As things stand, the US and UK will have the lowest impact (not zero, though), France, which has tons of nuclear will also suffer less. Italy and Germany tbe most.

                And, in a rebound, China will get a big hit. Contrary to what many think they’re likely to end up getting less russian oil and gas than before.

                And everybody getting a big chunk of their wheat and fertilizer from Russia or Ukraine is in for big pain.

                Nobody is getting out unscathed.
                What is TBD is how long before they adapt.

                • Refracking is great technology, with great potential, but can hardly come on board in quantities and with the speed that would make the Arabs disposable.

                  If SMNR, for example, takes five years then the Arabs are hardly disposable. The fact that one technology can replace another tells us little about how long it will take.

                  We can reduce the replacement time by avoiding alienating the Arabs.

                • Refracking is regular fracking. Repeated.
                  There is new nothing to it. It’s just repeating the same old process every few years.

                  Try this:

                  https://www.ft.com/content/7f106e55-6646-4018-89f7-0159d11f3196

                  Later, Biden swore in Brussels he’s told the US oil companies to produce every last drop possible any way possible.

                  Today’s problem is russian oil. But once the djinn is loose everybody else is on notice. And that includes the arabs. Their days are numbered, just like last decade.

                  Again: new priorities, new rules.
                  Plus it’s an election year.
                  The gerontocracy is running scared.

                • I agree refracking is fracking, and I agree the Arabs days may be numbered. But not today, and not tomorrow.

                  Not even if they do annoy the West are they disposable today or tomorrow.

                  Today, tomorrow, and for whatever time it takes for old or new technology to eliminate the need for Arab oil, the West needs the Arabs, and attempting to dispose of them or alienate them is folly.

                  Regardless of the technology, the time it takes for widespread implementation is on the side of the Arabs.

                • That may be the course of future events. However, given the time it takes to apply a different technology on a very large scale, the Arabs are not disposable.

                  In the last few days, the administration has been asking US oil companies to increase production so more gas can be exported to Europe. It even promised 15 billion cf to Europe. However, it adds that there will be no regulatory relief. It further adds that it cannot support long term investment by oil companies since it sees the European situation as short term.

                  It also won’t allow the long term contracts with Europe that will be necessary before anyone will commit to the required investment. The Europeans want long term contracts. And investment needs banks. The recent nominee (now withdrawn) for #2 at the Fed favors stopping banks from participating in fossil fuel projects. Janet Yellin supports the same policy.

                  That means the administration won’t support the pipelines needed to move the gas. That’s why recent gas projects that would have been capable of exporting to Eurpope have been dropped. FERC* won’t let pipelines to be built. No pipelines no gas. There are 13 approved LNG terminal projects, but with no way to get the gas to the plants and terminals, nothing happens.

                  Unimpeded application of technology can indeed result in massive increases in production. The technology is proven. And that will take time. But, the impediments remain, with no prospect for relief for at least three years.

                  The Arabs and their production is certainly not disposable.

                  *Note: FERC just backtracked on the draft regulations that would further impede development by adding upstream and downstream climate effect to any project proposal. Small victories.

                • Good stuff. He had so many slides, I couldn’t read the labels, but I can always catch up on that. I bought the book.

          • For a more concise summary with actual price points from 2017:

            https://thenewamerican.com/another-nail-in-opec-s-coffin-fracking-old-wells-dropping-u-s-breakeven-points-further/

            “…OPEC has long since run out of options and has all but lost its monopoly influence over world crude oil prices. If it reduces supply, prices go up, making U.S. frackers more profitable and inviting more capital in to expand production. If it increases supply, the lower prices cut further into each member’s cash flow, forcing them to continue to deficit spend without gaining any advantage over the Americans.

            “The breakeven point for U.S. frackers has been estimated to be between $40 and $50 a barrel. On Friday U.S. crude oil closed at $49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).

            Now OPEC is faced with another challenge from the American oil industry: Using state-of-the-art fracking technology, oil producers are going back to old wells that have been closed for years either to restart production or to retap them deeper to gain access to oil never touched using old technology. And that’s bringing breakeven points down to $30, $20, and even $10 a barrel.

            As the Wall Street Journal pointed out on Sunday, oil companies are applying fracking technology in century-old oil fields with reserves being found and brought to the surface at far less cost. For instance, rehabbing an old well costs less than $1 million, compared to $6 to $8 million for a new one. And since the pipelines and storage facilities are still in place, they can be profitable even if crude oil prices drop to as low as $10 a barrel. Lynn Cook wrote this for the Journal:

            White Knight Production LLC, a driller based in Lafayette, La., is re-activating 60-year-old wells in Louisiana and Texas that were turned off in the 1980s….

            In California, the company was able to get some old wells that were producing just five to 10 barrels a day up to 100 barrels a day.… White Knight also has drilled new wells in California for $800,000 each, finding many spots that were tapped extensively, but only shallowly, last century, leaving 20 to 30 different layers that can produce crude.

            “Applying the new technology to old wells brings the total production costs — land leases, lifting costs, and transportation to refineries — to about $15 a barrel, according to White Knight’s CEO Jerry Wenzel. This makes the investment in rehab pay off in less than a year. With oil at $40 and production costs at $20, that’s a 100 percent return on investment. With oil at $50 and production costs at $15, well, do the math. ”

            Oil is back to $100+ in early 2022…

            There is also a variant of fracking called re-fracking that repeatedly renews a well every three to five years, reaching deeper and releasing more trapped oil, restoring the well to peak for far less than drilling a new well.

            I expect we’ll see a lot of that in coming months. Fast and cheap with no regulatory red tape.

  4. I think that esteemed commentator Mr PDB Townshend was most on point, back in the 1960s:

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

    Anybody who thinks one can solve centuries- and millenia-old disputes by drawing a new set of lines on a map can’t spell tribalism if given the first seven letters. In any language. (Specific example: If one went into the countryside on the northeast side of Magdeburg in the 1980s and actually listened to locals talking among themselves, and there was mention of something from over the border, someone would spout “plünderungener Öesterreichers” in the next thirty seconds or so. This was not entirely surprising, as the Sack had been only 350 years previous.)

    • Yup.
      Continental Europe still is and likely will remain a tribal mess. Germany’s biggest parties aren’t even national. Normandy and Catalonia both want out of France and Spain. Hungary and Poland were making noises about leaving the EU and maybe taking most of eastern europe with them.

      Then russia invaded.
      Nobody expected Ukraine to last this long. Few expect it to actually win.
      At most they expect Ukraine to bleed russia and make them use up so much of their resources to hold Putin back five or six years.

      So suddenly its all about “energy independence”, ” boosting defense spending”, training an actual army that can fight…
      …but if Putin were to suddenly commit suicide by shooting himself in the back of the head tbree times all those newfangled ideas will go by the wayside right away and it’ll be “the end of history” again.

      Same old, same old, as soon as possible.

      (And over here it’ll be Identity wars ASAP.)

      I just hope Musk doesn’t charge too much for the tickets to Mars. 😉

      • To say nothing of the League of the North, an entire political party based around the idea that northern Italy should secede and leave southern Italy and Sicily to their own devices, or the unresolved issues regarding the Serbs currently living in Bosnia…

        • Belgium: did they finally agree to stop arguing and split up?
          And everybody says the US is divided…

  5. Thanks for sharing that, PG. I think Russia’s invasion of Ukraine largely crosses most political (opinion) boundaries.

    I love hearing about other countries and their perspectives, and this was really enlightening about a rather obscure (or at least, less well-known) piece of WWII history.

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