"Why Finland Could" – Not! – "Be The Answer To The Russian War Against Ukraine"
A model for ending the war between Russia and and Ukraine might already exist in another of Russia’s neighbours, Finland. But former PM of Finland, Alexander Stubb, tells us why it's not the answer.
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine becomes more deadly, what sort of future does Vladimir Putin want with his neighbour? A model might already exist in another of Russia’s neighbours, Finland. But Former Prime Minister for Finland, Alexander Stubb, tells us why it’s not the answer.
In which it is suggested that “Finlandization,” in which Ukraine would become an ostensibly “neutral,” but in actuality subservient to Russia, border state, might be a good idea to end the war – only to have that idea shot full of holes by an actual Finn! He also points out, accurately, that just about everything Putin attempted to accomplish by invading Ukraine has gone in the other direction:
he wanted to split Europe, the EU is unified (for better or worse; as a pro-Brexit Anglophile, I don’t trust them, either...) more strongly than ever before, also;
he wanted to split the West, the West is also more unified than it has been since the Cold War; and in some way perhaps most critically,
he “wanted to Russify Ukraine, he’s Europeanizing Ukraine.”
And while he may still eventually take over Ukraine by sheer preponderance of force, his army (and Russia itself) has lost a lot of its prestige and fear-factor, in the eyes of the world; and if it does “win,” is likely to face a protracted insurgency by a determined and well-equipped adversary. Both the West and China are looking at the Russian military as being a whole lot less fearsome than it did before the war, not more so.
And he is rightly being pilloried by the world for attacking civilians, and making incredibly irresponsible nuclear threats: this, from the leader of a country which just a couple of months ago joined with the US, China, the UK and France – the five nuclear weapons states recognized by the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and who are also the five permanent members of the UN security council – in affirming in a formal pledge that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”
[And lest anyone point out that we ourselves firebombed and even nuked civilians, in the Second World War, I deplore those actions, too! I would have liked to have thought that we as a human race had moved beyond that, in the nearly eight decades since, but apparently not; and in any case, two wrongs do not make a right.]
Even if his original motives were pure as the driven snow, which is difficult for me to imagine (he is an ambitious autocrat, and always has been... he has just, up until now at least, been a rational and canny one), the actual conduct of the war has gone from bad to worse. It is hard to see how this can be conceived of as a success for Russia or Putin, in any way, shape, or form.