Yesterday, when Finland’s leaders announced that their country must join NATO “without delay,” people were holding their breath and waiting to see how Russia would respond. They didn’t have to wait long. Russia fired back on the same day, with multiple spokesmen speaking out against the announcement from the Kremlin. Russia’s response will no doubt raise questions about certain “security guarantees” that the United States and other nations have made to both Finland and Sweden. In other words, things are heating up on Russia’s northwestern border. (Business Insider)
Russia again tried to warn Finland against joining NATO as the northern European state moves ever closer to joining the alliance.
Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesperson, said on Thursday that Finland joining was definitely a threat to Russia, The Guardian reported.
And Russia’s foreign ministry said in a Thursday statement that “Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop the threats to its national security arising in this regard.”
The Russian Foreign Minister’s response may turn out to be bluster, but nobody should be relying on that being the case. When the Kremlin talks about retaliation of “both a military-technical and other nature,” we should be paying attention. The “technical” retaliation would almost certainly just be another wave of cyberattacks, which have already been going on anyway. But “military?” There aren’t many ways to parse that. A military response against Finland could be anything from lobbing some shells into Helsinki to a land invasion to nukes. None of those options are good.
What should be of greater concern to American citizens is the question of whether or not a Russian attack would automatically drag us into World War 3. Though it didn’t draw much attention in the news, back on May 5, Sweden’s Foreign Minister told reporters that she had been in a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. She refused to provide concrete specifics, but said that both Sweden and Finland had received “assurances” from the United States that if Russia were to attack either country, America would respond “militarily.” Similar assurances were supposedly received from France. Boris Johnson has already promised to use the UK military if such an attack took place.
Is this true? When did Blinken offer these “assurances” and what sort of promises has he been making on our behalf without Congress ever being informed or voting on the matter? That sounds awfully close to a treaty if you ask me. If Finland is being threatened by a lunatic with more than 6,000 nuclear weapons and we’re on the hook to go fight the Russians if he crosses their border, the American people should be aware of this in advance.
Such an agreement would also represent a reversal of the previous policy announced by the White House before the invasion of Ukraine began. We were going to provide “support” to Ukraine if they were invaded, but there would be no military response unless Russia hit a NATO member. Finland may wind up being a member later this year but it won’t happen overnight. I’m waiting to hear the response to this news from Zelenski. ‘What? Russia can attack us for months and you won’t fight them because we’re not in NATO, but if they attack Finland who is also not a member you will go to war for them?‘
It’s not hard to imagine him saying almost precisely that. And he’d have a point. In the meantime, somebody needs to track down whoever it is that’s actually running the show at the White House and get some answers. If we are on the verge of war with Russia based on some agreement that Antony Blinken cooked up in a back room, both Congress and the American people at large need to be brought into the loop.