There has been an ongoing debate in Baltic States about what Finland should or should not do in case of war in Baltic States against Russia. NATOs general feeling is that Baltic States are undefensible without the aid of Sweden, and mainly Finland. It seems to be the general idea in Finlandamong leading politicians that we should help at least Estonia to fend off the enemy. Well that might be. Other than that there has been little debate on the matter. So in this writing I presume to give some examples what could be things to do together with the Baltic States and Nordics in general and Finland and Sweden in particular.
Finland and for example Estonia of course share long common history and have common enemies and friends in this time of history. During the turmoil of fall of Russian Empire all Baltic States and Finland gained their independence. Approximately 3000 Finns took part in Estonian freedom war against Soviet-Russia and also a lot of Estonians have taken part in continuation of war against the Soviet Union for Finland. Unfortunately Estonia, like rest of Baltic states, lost her independence in the wake of Second World War. The occupation lasted for about half of century, during which times Pro Soviet propaganda in Finland tried to cut the sense of commonality between Finns and Estonians. Finland gained full stately powers and the Baltic states gained their independence in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse in early 1990s. This thing has brought endless joy to us in Finland and in Scandinavian countries. Now we all need to see to it that we do not succumb to mister Putin’s terror tactics.
In early 2010’s it seemed that the Latvia and Lithuania would be most interested in using Finland as a source of manpower to fight their battles in their own soils. Lithuania has returned to conscription in 2015, so she is back in track of taking care of her own defense. Latvia has a reserve component of just 12000 personnel. That is just not enough. Finland could mobilize about 150 000 men per million in 1990ies, and is still preparing to mobilize about 50 000 personnel per million, so Latvia should really be aiming to at least that level. I venture to guess that “F/land” is going to start beefing up the land forces some way or another in close future.
I thing massive help from Finland to be unlikely to happen as Finland has cut wartime army from 700000 in the early 1990s to approximately 230 000 of today. So clearly there is not enough manpower to go around to defend Baltic States against the Russians as well. Here it would seem that the Baltic States would have to pull their own weight. As Sweden might also be forced to go back to conscription system it would seem that Baltic States would do well to do the same. Because historycally only thing that Russia respects is strength and they will not respect the weak. So not having enough defense capabilities is more of an invitation for war then invitation for peace. As the Romans put it “if you want peace prepare for war”.
Finland has done quite a few quite a lot of them coming practicing and procurement with Sweden and I think this might be the way to go about it with the Baltic states as well. For example the Baltic States have next to nothing in the Air Force department and Finland is right now looking it to replace the F/A-18C fighters the next decade or so. One of the strongest and maybe THE strongest contender is the JAS-39E Gripen NG. So maybe the Baltic States could to take part in this program and get themselves a few fighters as well Finland is going to get around 60 to 100 planes maybe from Sweden or maybe from USA and thus it would be quite profitable for the Baltic states to get the few of their own. Training could be done in Sweden with their facilities for all five nations, and thus save money in training. Baltic states could have, say 40 planes between them, and one or two bases in the area. Finland would get planes cheaper, and FINALLY get the number of planes it needs to protect the aerospace. and Sweden would sell a hell of a lot more planes and stores. So win-win-win situation.
Other area where co-operation would be quite very easy would be to cooperate is the procurement of naval vessels. Finland is now looking into purchasing new class of ships that might be suitable for use for Baltic States Navies as well. This of course would be good for everybody concerned not least for Finland as larger batches and greater number of vessels would drive the unit costs down and thus enable Finns to get eight ships they needed instead of four to six planned. One does realize that NATO has earmarked Baltic Navy’s to do NATO counter mine work which is, of course, among the bread and butter for Finnish Navy as well. So there would be another area that cooperation could be easily done between feeling under an import with Baltic States and Sweden of course. Possibility to take part in Sweden’s procurement of u-boats could water some mouths as well.
These airplanes could function as nucleus of broad co-operation, Air Force and training could be done in Sweden and Finland or in other Nordic NATO countries but this would be an easy way for, Estonia for example, to start acquiring of Air Force or her own.
So, What are we really waiting for?