I spent last week on holiday in Turkey, so I was largely out from happenings in Republic. But greatest tempest in teapot was caused by Commander in Chief Niinistö’s comment that we will not be able to help at least in significant strength, if there is a war in Baltic states. Link to speech HERE. I’m not interpreter, but to me seems that spirit and letter are the same in Finnish and in English versions of the speech. Here is an exert that was the contentious thing from PoR Niinistö to say:”Now and again we hear ideas based on which Finland will assume partial responsibility for the defence of the Baltic states. However, I have had to be fairly clear on this issue, for the simple reason that Finland is in no position to provide others with the kind of military guarantees as it is not covered by such guarantees herself. We are no superpower with “bullets and shells” galore to hand out to others. We have a longer eastern border than all of the NATO countries put together. If a country of around five million is supposed to manage its own defence in such circumstances, this is more than enough of an obligation.”
But to get into the gist of things: Finland has cut her wartime strenght from 700 000 in 1990’ies to 350 000 in about 2005 to 235 000 in 2015. This is/has been ill adviced to the poin of treasonous, and has been made because of money constraints. Even with these cuts, FDF has not been able to meet all the needs of the new feebler army, and there has just been some window dressing and verbal acrobatics, to make shrinking from defense of the realm to up speaking career building in NATO and international headquarters. This trend can be seen for example in the way how the Finnish intelligence people from military and civilian side of things are running “heads as third legs” to get get to make nice with EU. Surprisingly Their German, French or British counterparts are not willing to do that. Maybe new intelligence law will transfer that, but I don’t believe it will.
So those 235000 guys transfer into three readiness brigades, two mechanized battle groups and three infantry brigades. or about 8 brigades overall. Apart from taht there will be local and regional troops, but they are mostly defensive and intelligence gathering type of units, and not meant to go toe-to-toe with motor rifle division.
So IF one, in Baltic, has hoped that there would be a Finnish expeditionary force coming to play in time of crisis they have been sadly mistaken. Even Estonia, who has taken its defense more seriously than Latvia and Lithuania, has no air force or much in a way of sea component.
Viking and Silja line have quite a few RO-RO ships and one could imagine brigade being sea lifted from Turku to Riga in few short hours, but this is not really realism. The brigade will be needed in Finland, whose defense has been compromised enough by follies of Social Democratic Party’s foreign and security policies. And while the brigade is in three or four ships, Who is going to give air cover? Finnish Air force I bet, and while Estonians might mines weep Anti Submarine warfare would have to be done by the Finns. So it would very much seem like that FDF would just be wanted around to pick chestnuts from fire for benefit of those who have been lax in their duties. Nobody likes to help someone who has not taken precautions themselves.
Lithuania did the sensible thing and started recruitment again, and will be having their own quality troops in near future. Of course arming the brigades and making them ready is a task, but all worthwhile things always are. Latvia trust her National guard, but with some 11000 personnel military is not up to the task of defensing Latvia I’m afraid.
How ever this is not to say that there would not be willingness to help a friend in need. Conceivably one could recruit rifle companies and battalions from all over the country, but these would need all the hardware a military outfit needs. From radios to artillery and transportation.
So we all seem to have our work cut out for us.