In the troubling waters of Geopolitics, nothing’s ever quiet and at total peace for there’s always some sort of volatility no matter where you look. Hence, one of the most important, rather buzzing questions at this time is whether Finland can actually defend itself in the wake of a Russian attack?
Perhaps it makes sense to say there were always highly suspicious glares and stares when there arose the possibility of Russia attacking Ukraine. The historians perhaps didn’t see it coming and nor did Mr. Zelensky himself, for whom, a Russian attack was about as likely as the tiny Caribbean island of St Maarten becoming the world’s largest economy.
But then, it happened. And much of the world is startled seeing the bitter consequences.
Having said that, ever since Russia leveled a warning, if only a touch mellow, that it would attack Finland in the face of the country seeking a NATO membership, there’ve been concerns on the Finnish side about the ‘repercussions.’
It doesn’t make anyone a Niall Ferguson to note that in this age of geopolitics, you do not wish to trouble and perturb nations like the US, China, Israel and Russia. If there was ever this warning that read like a bumper sticker expression, “Don’t mess with me,” it would ideally these nations.
Therefore, what are the chances of the tiny Nordic country, about the size of a hare when compared to Russia’s lion-sized military might, actually defending itself in face of aggression?
But before we delve into that, here’s a fact that cannot be wronged as is perhaps a highly underrated one at that:
Believe it or not, Finland has the largest artillery in all of Europe. What Finland does have is a size of 700 howitzers, around the same number of heavy mortars and just north of 100 multiple rocket launchers, amongst other things.
Having said that, it does appear that Finland has what it takes to answer back Russian aggression if not fully retaliate using military might.
The following are the inputs from a story from The Guardian on the subject that conjures some key narratives:
We have systematically developed our military defence precisely for this type of warfare that is being waged there [in Ukraine], with a massive use of firepower, armoured forces and also air forces,” Kivinen said. “Ukraine has been a tough bite to chew [for Russia], and so would be Finland.“
A hundred thousand Finns were killed during the two wars Finland fought against the Soviet Union, and it lost a tenth of its territory.
The nation of 5.5 million has a wartime troop strength of 280,000, with 870,000 trained as reservists. It did not abolish military conscription for males as many other western nations did after the end of the cold war.
It has also built one of Europe’s strongest artillery arsenals and stocked up on cruise missiles with a range of up to 370 km (230 miles). It spends 2% of its GDP on defence, a level higher than many Nato countries.
But having said the above, what’s most interesting particularly from a Finnish perspective is that in a recent poll that was conducted in the country, no fewer than 82 percent of the Finns committed themselves towards participating in the national defence of their nation should there arise a situation where Russia actually attacks their nation.
If there was anyone willing to seek some nationalistic fervour, then what could be better than this?