“The basic idea was that if you start integrating economies, if you start integrating institutions and cultures, it creates path dependence, which then makes rogue behavior or illegal or aggressive behavior impossible,” he describes the prevailing thinking in many ways. from Europe. “We were, to put it mildly, naive with Russia. Russia is a great power, it is an imperialist power and it thinks so.
He admitted that the Baltics and Poland knew what they were dealing with and warned others about imperialist tendencies and the futility of integrating Russia into Europe.
“It was a lot about the legacy these countries had as satellites of the Soviet Union,” he commented. “But a lot of it really was a deep understanding of the psyche of Russian foreign policy.”
Finland made its share of mistakes by mixing idealism with realism in its foreign policy towards its eastern neighbor, which is evidenced on the one hand by the pursuit of broad-based cooperation and on the other hand by the fact that it maintains a huge defense. Stubbs.
“We still have one of the largest standing armies in Europe,” he recalled. “It was to some extent [because of] what I would call a healthy fear of Russia.”
Stubb estimates that he personally made four mistakes in office regarding Russia.
The first, he said, enthusiastically supported visa-free travel with Russia because it thought free travel would bring the countries closer. Another was Nord Stream, an underwater natural gas pipeline connecting Russia and Germany.
“I was not an advocate of the pipeline as such, and I raised security issues and criticized bilateral agreements between Russia and Germany,” he said. – But in my office I said that it only has environmental effects in Finland. I was wrong, it was much more. It should never have been allowed to be built.”
“I think the Baltic countries were right. I think Poland was right. I think I was wrong.”
The third mistake is the infamous nuclear power project with the Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom. “Was I its advocate or driver? Not necessarily. But was I the Prime Minister then, and therefore should I have taken responsibility? Absolutely yes. It was a mistake.”
Stubb also considered it a mistake that he had not spoken more fervently in favor of NATO membership. Even if it would have been difficult to join the defense union at that time, because only about a fifth of the citizens supported it, not pursuing membership was a mistake for someone in that position.
Conclusions have been drawn from the situation, among other things, that the ongoing war can only end on the battlefield, with the victory of Ukraine, and that the integration of other states into Western institutions should be continued through both the EU and NATO.
“[Russian President] Vladimir Putin and Russia must be defeated. Putin only understands power, and total defeat is the only thing that will find a solution to the current war, he claimed.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: The Nordic Page