Finland as a NATO Ally

 

This post is not a Kissinger policy wonk essay. It is a look at Finnish armed forces and what they bring to NATO.

Finland has mandatory military conscription for males that begins at the age of 18. New conscripts are called-up in August. Females have the option of joining the military. After a mandatory training period, a conscript then joins the reserves. Reserve duties, regular, and voluntary training continue until the age of 60.

The Finnish Defence Forces’ reserve comprises approximately 900,000 Finnish citizens. The wartime strength of the Finnish Defence Forces is 280,000 soldiers, and this strength is resupplied by other reservists as applicable.

Finland has a population of 5.5 million people. Having 900,000 well-trained reservists is impressive. At the present time, Finland spends about 1.5 percent of GDP on defense, NATO requires 2.0 percent. Finland is planning to increase their defense spending and increases were made after the Russian annexation of Crimea.

Finns are winter war experts, and the US and other NATO nations train in Finland. Finland has the strongest artillery forces in Western Europe, consisting of 700 howitzers, 700 heavy mortars, and 100 multiple rocket launchers.

At the present time, Finland has 55 F-18 Hornets that are also capable of landing on highways.

Rather than listing the entire inventory of the Finnish military, I was more impressed with the reserve commitment of Finland’s citizens to defend their country. The following video is a look at a pilot from Finland and his ability to fly an F-18 Hornet.

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  1. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    One of the few NATO countries that could rapidly deploy to support the Baltics.   I like Finland and Sweden as NATO allies because they bring new capabilities to NATO which could make it less dependent on US troops.  

    • #1
  2. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    At the present time Finland spends between 1.5 percent of GDP on defense, NATO requires 2.0 percent

    But only 10 of 29 NATO members actually do. The others are freeloaders. Germany only does 1.5%.

    Trump was attacked for trying to get the 19 deadbeats to pay their share.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/584088/defense-expenditures-of-nato-countries/

    • #2
  3. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    At the present time Finland spends between 1.5 percent of GDP on defense, NATO requires 2.0 percent

    But only 10 of 29 NATO members actually do. The others are freeloaders. Germany only does 1.5%.

    Trump was attacked for trying to get the 19 deadbeats to pay their share.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/584088/defense-expenditures-of-nato-countries/

    Greece — 3.82%
    United States — 3.52%
    Croatia — 2.79%
    United Kingdom — 2.29%
    Estonia — 2.28%
    Latvia — 2.27%
    Poland — 2.10%
    Lithuania — 2.03%
    Romania — 2.02%
    France — 2.01%

    The monetary figures change from time to time. Germany is planning to increase their defense spending and Poland plans to do so as well. In an ironic way Putin has motivated some NATO countries to increase their defense spending in a way that Trump could not.

    • #3
  4. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    At the present time Finland spends between 1.5 percent of GDP on defense, NATO requires 2.0 percent

    But only 10 of 29 NATO members actually do. The others are freeloaders. Germany only does 1.5%.

    Trump was attacked for trying to get the 19 deadbeats to pay their share.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/584088/defense-expenditures-of-nato-countries/

    Greece — 3.82%
    United States — 3.52%
    Croatia — 2.79%
    United Kingdom — 2.29%
    Estonia — 2.28%
    Latvia — 2.27%
    Poland — 2.10%
    Lithuania — 2.03%
    Romania — 2.02%
    France — 2.01%

    The monetary figures change from time to time. Germany is planning to increase their defense spending and Poland plans to do so as well. In an ironic way Putin has motivated some NATO countries to increase their defense spending in a way that Trump could not.

    I’m glad for Trump’s calling the other countries out, but I need to ask how much of our lavish defense spending is pork raw and cooked. 

    • #4
  5. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    TBA (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    At the present time Finland spends between 1.5 percent of GDP on defense, NATO requires 2.0 percent

    But only 10 of 29 NATO members actually do. The others are freeloaders. Germany only does 1.5%.

    Trump was attacked for trying to get the 19 deadbeats to pay their share.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/584088/defense-expenditures-of-nato-countries/

    Greece — 3.82%
    United States — 3.52%
    Croatia — 2.79%
    United Kingdom — 2.29%
    Estonia — 2.28%
    Latvia — 2.27%
    Poland — 2.10%
    Lithuania — 2.03%
    Romania — 2.02%
    France — 2.01%

    The monetary figures change from time to time. Germany is planning to increase their defense spending and Poland plans to do so as well. In an ironic way Putin has motivated some NATO countries to increase their defense spending in a way that Trump could not.

    I’m glad for Trump’s calling the other countries out, but I need to ask how much of our lavish defense spending is pork raw and cooked.

    An awful lot.

    • #5
  6. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    NATO needs to get rid of Turkey . . .

    • #6
  7. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    One of the few NATO countries that could rapidly deploy to support the Baltics. I like Finland and Sweden as NATO allies because they bring new capabilities to NATO which could make it less dependent on US troops.

    It doesn’t seem to me that there’s any way to defend the Baltics in an actual shooting war, with or without Finland.

    Hypothetically, Finnish troops would have to fight through Russian territory, including St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), to reach the Baltics.  Historically, it’s been tough to take St. Petersburg, even for a gigantic German army.

    I guess that the Finns could try to cross the Gulf of Finland by sea, to get to the Baltics.  I suspect that such a crossing would be very hazardous against Russian naval, air, and missile forces.

    I don’t like Finland and Sweden as NATO members because it adds two more countries that we’d be committed to defending.  I’d like to see us reducing our number of such commitments, not adding to them.

    • #7
  8. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Stad (View Comment):

    NATO needs to get rid of Turkey . . .

    I understand the sentiment, but it seems to me that Turkey is too important as a matter of geography.  What would Turkey do if kicked out of NATO?  Ally with Russia?  That might be a problem.

    • #8
  9. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Norway has always been a top-tier member. Finland will clearly punch way above its weight. Now, let’s see about Sweden.

    • #9
  10. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    One of the few NATO countries that could rapidly deploy to support the Baltics. I like Finland and Sweden as NATO allies because they bring new capabilities to NATO which could make it less dependent on US troops.

    I don’t like Finland and Sweden as NATO members because it adds two more countries that we’d be committed to defending. I’d like to see us reducing our number of such commitments, not adding to them.

    I would like to think that they would make up for their inconvenient proximity to Russia with their legendary skills at Russassination. 

    • #10
  11. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    One of the few NATO countries that could rapidly deploy to support the Baltics. I like Finland and Sweden as NATO allies because they bring new capabilities to NATO which could make it less dependent on US troops.

    It doesn’t seem to me that there’s any way to defend the Baltics in an actual shooting war, with or without Finland.

    Hypothetically, Finnish troops would have to fight through Russian territory, including St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), to reach the Baltics. Historically, it’s been tough to take St. Petersburg, even for a gigantic German army.

    I guess that the Finns could try to cross the Gulf of Finland by sea, to get to the Baltics. I suspect that such a crossing would be very hazardous against Russian naval, air, and missile forces.

    I don’t like Finland and Sweden as NATO members because it adds two more countries that we’d be committed to defending. I’d like to see us reducing our number of such commitments, not adding to them.

    If Russia invades Finland should it be our problem?

    • #11
  12. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    One of the few NATO countries that could rapidly deploy to support the Baltics. I like Finland and Sweden as NATO allies because they bring new capabilities to NATO which could make it less dependent on US troops.

    It doesn’t seem to me that there’s any way to defend the Baltics in an actual shooting war, with or without Finland.

    Hypothetically, Finnish troops would have to fight through Russian territory, including St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), to reach the Baltics. Historically, it’s been tough to take St. Petersburg, even for a gigantic German army.

    I guess that the Finns could try to cross the Gulf of Finland by sea, to get to the Baltics. I suspect that such a crossing would be very hazardous against Russian naval, air, and missile forces.

    I don’t like Finland and Sweden as NATO members because it adds two more countries that we’d be committed to defending. I’d like to see us reducing our number of such commitments, not adding to them.

    I would like to see Europe defend itself.  That means making sure that it has the means to do so.   The Large Finnish army forces Russia to defend that border if they move against the Baltics.  That may make Russia less adventurous.  I am not worried about the US’s defense commitments if the new additions bring capabilities to the alliance.  Finland and Sweden do.  If we could go back in time and not expand NATO eastward I might feel differently.  I think having a large group of European democracies willing to defend themselves is better for us in the long term.  Sweden and Finland share the Europeans values, and actually bring some military capabilities into the alliance, that is welcome.  Plus I doubt we would stand for a Russian invasion of either one anyway.  If the lines are clear and bright it may make things easier.  Even though I think Russia is going to achieve some of its aims in Ukraine, I think the experience is going to discourage them from taking on a NATO country.

    • #12
  13. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Look, I got no issue with these countries but adding them now when tensions are high seems a bit reckless.  If Trump pulled this stunt the Left would have kittens.

    • #13
  14. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Look, I got no issue with these countries but adding them now when tensions are high seems a bit reckless. If Trump pulled this stunt the Left would have kittens.

    Would we have even noticed the additional kittens? 

    • #14
  15. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    TBA (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    At the present time Finland spends between 1.5 percent of GDP on defense, NATO requires 2.0 percent

    But only 10 of 29 NATO members actually do. The others are freeloaders. Germany only does 1.5%.

    Trump was attacked for trying to get the 19 deadbeats to pay their share.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/584088/defense-expenditures-of-nato-countries/

    Greece — 3.82%
    United States — 3.52%
    Croatia — 2.79%
    United Kingdom — 2.29%
    Estonia — 2.28%
    Latvia — 2.27%
    Poland — 2.10%
    Lithuania — 2.03%
    Romania — 2.02%
    France — 2.01%

    The monetary figures change from time to time. Germany is planning to increase their defense spending and Poland plans to do so as well. In an ironic way Putin has motivated some NATO countries to increase their defense spending in a way that Trump could not.

    I’m glad for Trump’s calling the other countries out, but I need to ask how much of our lavish defense spending is pork raw and cooked.

    Percentage wise, Probably less than much of Europe….

    • #15
  16. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    If Russia invades Finland should it be our problem?

    Russian aggression in Europe becomes our problem whether we want it or not. Unless we write off the whole continent. 

    • #16
  17. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    If Russia invades Finland should it be our problem?

    Russian aggression in Europe becomes our problem whether we want it or not. Unless we write off the whole continent.

    As cruel as this sounds, we can sacrifice Finland. Sweden and Germany not so much. 

    • #17
  18. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    If Russia invades Finland should it be our problem?

    Russian aggression in Europe becomes our problem whether we want it or not. Unless we write off the whole continent.

    So your point is that the EU can not take care of itself?  

    • #18
  19. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    If Russia invades Finland should it be our problem?

    Russian aggression in Europe becomes our problem whether we want it or not. Unless we write off the whole continent.

    So your point is that the EU can not take care of itself?

    I’m not sure that kind of EU would be good for the world.  It would likely be a more centralized, consolidated EU than what we have now. 

    There have been some signs the current war is pushing the EU in that direction, much to the delight of globalists.  There have been other signs suggesting pressures to go the opposite direction, with the eastern EU countries forming their own organization to counteract France and Germany’s hegemony. It’s really hard to to predict.  

    • #19
  20. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    NATO needs to get rid of Turkey . . .

    I understand the sentiment, but it seems to me that Turkey is too important as a matter of geography. What would Turkey do if kicked out of NATO? Ally with Russia? That might be a problem.

    It’s already kinda allied with Russia, if I’m not mistaken . . .

    • #20
  21. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    If Russia invades Finland should it be our problem?

    Russian aggression in Europe becomes our problem whether we want it or not. Unless we write off the whole continent.

    As cruel as this sounds, we can sacrifice Finland. Sweden and Germany not so much.

    Finland has a pretty good track record against the Russians.  As an element in a defensive alliance it brings a lot of manpower.  Additionally it is a hedgehog and the Russians know it.  Being in NATO with article 5 guarantees and a large capable army on Russia’s border could do a lot to deter Russian aggression against NATO.  Sweden has a large defense industry and pretty capable modern hardware, although a fairly small army.  It brings some additional defense production capacity to the Alliance.  In practice both Sweden and Finland were NATO adjacent countries.  We have had a lot of joint training operations and military cooperation.  It is likely we in an implicit defensive alliance with them anyway.  Removing the ambiguity and formalizing the relationship makes sense.   Expanding NATO is provocative but not anywhere near as provocative as attempting to annex a sovereign country on your border.  The time to worry about provocation was in the 1990s not now.  Besides with the current leadership of the US Europe is going to need as many allies as possible because America is going to fold like a cheap suit. 

    • #21
  22. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Probably still some Russian reticence about tangling with those people…

    • #22
  23. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Probably still some Russian reticence about tangling with those people…

    • #23
  24. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Stad (View Comment):

    NATO needs to get rid of Turkey . . .

    Think of Turkey like you do real estate. Location, location, location.

    • #24
  25. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    If Russia invades Finland should it be our problem?

    Russian aggression in Europe becomes our problem whether we want it or not. Unless we write off the whole continent.

    As cruel as this sounds, we can sacrifice Finland. Sweden and Germany not so much.

    No, we can’t. Sacrificing Finland would mean sacrificing too much more. We’d be in a worse situation, with emboldened enemies ravening at the new borders.

    • #25
  26. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    If Russia invades Finland should it be our problem?

    Russian aggression in Europe becomes our problem whether we want it or not. Unless we write off the whole continent.

    As cruel as this sounds, we can sacrifice Finland. Sweden and Germany not so much.

    No, we can’t. Sacrificing Finland would mean sacrificing too much more. We’d be in a worse situation, with emboldened enemies ravening at the new borders.

    That’s why I support the 40 billion to Ukraine. If we let Russia take Ukraine Putin will become emboldened and start more trouble.

    • #26
  27. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Everyone here is pretending like Finland really exists. Some of us know better

    • #27
  28. ToryWarWriter Reagan
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    My understanding of the PM of Finland, is they want to join NATO to cut military expenses so they can spend the money on social spending.

    Also I think its a terrible idea for us to expand our Alliance into a country that is basically a suburb of St. Petersburg.

    Everyone talks about the Winter War and the glorious Finns killing Soviet Troops in the snow of the winter of 1940.

    They forget the part in the spring of 41 when Timoshenko arrives, reorganizes the Soviet army, blasts a hole through the Mannerheim line and forces Helsinki to surrender.

    Are we all willing to die for the Finns?  Cause we werent willing to die for the Ukrainians?  

    • #28
  29. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):
    My understanding of the PM of Finland, is they want to join NATO to cut military expenses so they can spend the money on social spending.

    Can you name a Finlander or two who has expressed such an expectation? 

    • #29
  30. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

     

    Are we all willing to die for the Finns? Cause we werent willing to die for the Ukrainians?

    The idea is to have less dying if we’re allied together. 

    • #30
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