US, Sweden, Finland Launch New Format Talks: Dancing To Washington's Tune

Authored by Peter Korzun via The Stratgeic Culture Foundation,

US Defense Secretary James Mattis visited Helsinki on Nov. 6-7 to attend a meeting of the Northern Group, a multilateral forum of 12 countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Before the event, the secretary was received by Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and then met his counterparts from Sweden and Finland. This is the first time a US Defense Secretary held talks in this format. Looks like the tripartite format talks are going to become a regular event as a similar meeting was announced to be planned for 2018.

Finnish Defense Minister Jussi Niinistö explained that the goal of this format was meant to supplement, rather than replace, Finnish and Swedish bilateral relations with Washington. According to him, no new alliance is being built despite the expanded military cooperation with the United States. The minister also invited the US military to participate in large-scale military drills in 2020 or 2021. According to him, Finland started preparations for a major military exercise of a scale it had not arranged since the end of the Cold War. “If there’s a crisis, it will be good for us to practice receiving help,” Jussi Niinistö said. Formally a neutral country, Finland is offering a scenario which envisages receiving US-led NATO reinforcements, like if it were a full-fledged member of the North Atlantic Alliance to be defended in accordance with Article 5 of the Washington Treaty!

Erkki Tuomioja, a former foreign minister and member of the Social Democrat Party, said he believes the defense minister is skirting parliamentary procedures in pushing to host such a large exercise and that he intends to oppose the drills.

A poll published on Nov.5 suggested 59 percent of Finns are opposed to NATO membership. Only 22 percent support the idea. Finland is to hold presidential election on January 28, 2018. None of the current presidential candidates support NATO membership except for Nils Torvalds of the Swedish People's Party, who is polling a meager 1 percent. Sauli Niinistö, the incumbent who enjoys 76 percent support ahead of the election, has pushed to keep the prospect of NATO membership open to be backed by a majority of Finns, possibly via a referendum. But Finnish Defense Minister Jussi Niinistö keeps on stubbornly pushing his country into NATO’s arms without taking political reality into consideration.

He also said that cooperation to combat hybrid warfare was a priority item on the agenda. The term hybrid warfare is used in the West to label Russia. The Helsinki-based hybrid threat center - the European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats - commenced its operation on Oct.4. 11 European governments plus the United States have joined forces to build it. Similar centers exist in other countries but this one is the first to link NATO with the auspices of the EU. Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said the center is a sign that the two organizations are cooperating at “an unprecedented level,” as evidenced by Finland, an EU country that is not a NATO member, being the host.

Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist, a tripartite talks participant, sent a very important security policy message. Following the meeting with Mattis, the Swedish defense chief informed the parliamentary defense committee that the government had chosen the US missile system Patriot as a replacement for the current outdated defense Robot System 97. The idea is to equip Sweden's two air defense battalions with Patriot missiles until 2025. Sweden — Finland’s closest military ally and another non-NATO member — remilitarized the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea for the first time since the end of the Cold War and reintroduced conscription, among other things, to gradually move the country to war footing.

Some US-NATO deployments take place in the region for the first time ever. For instance, Baltops-2016 was the first NATO exercise to be held on Finnish territory. In September, US military made their first appearance on Swedish soil during the Aurora 17 military drills, the country's largest training event in decades. Norway, a NATO member, welcomed an extended deployment of US Marines in June. It's the first time a foreign force had been posted on Norwegian soil since World War II. Thus, Norway has actually shifted from the “no foreign forces on national soil” true-and-tried policy with political implications to follow. The Marines also have large stockpiles of tanks, artillery and other weaponry, which fill a network of caves. The equipment can accommodate roughly 14,000 troops, or a full Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

In June, Sweden and Finland joined the United Kingdom-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) - a rapidly deployable unit capable of conducting the full spectrum of NATO operations.

The countries of Northern Europe, including non-NATO Sweden and Finland, support the Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO, to pull together at least 20 EU countries in jointly planning, developing and coordinating weapons and equipment for military. The initiative is complementary to the operations of NATO. According to the Financial Times, more than half the EU’s member states are expected to sign up within days to a landmark joint defence effort at a meeting of European foreign and defence ministers on November 13 and launch the project in December.

The militarization of Northern Europe rarely hits headlines, but a look at the facts shows the trend is gaining momentum. It does not go unnoticed in Russia, prompting it to take appropriate measures. The recent Zapad exercise is an example. There is little wonder that Russia is concerned about the growing US influence in Northern Europe. After all, Russia belongs to the region, while the United States has no territorial or any other justification for its military presence there.

There will be a reaction if Sweden or Finland joins the North Atlantic Alliance. Even without formal membership, there is very little space between "being in NATO" and "being outside the alliance.” Evidently, no such thing as military neutrality on the Scandinavian Peninsula exists anymore to make the abovementioned countries priority targets for Russian response in case a military conflict sparks. Russia did not start it but it has to react as the countries of the region appear to abandon traditional good neighbor policies in favor of dancing to US tune.

Comments

peddling-fiction MozartIII Fri, 11/10/2017 - 09:52 Permalink

As a Finn, I say dealing with the Yanks now, for "defense" is treason.You will again kill our children and men for no good reason, but the furtherment of your evil NWO plan.We have been cannon fodder for centuries now.This time the bad guys are the Yanks and the EU,  because they are zio-controlled to the hilt.Our own leaders are as well, and their only commitment is to Mammon and their secret brotherhoods.Finland should stay neutral and keep cordial relations with everybody.We are sandwiched between "two burdens" and need to treated differently.I will NOT be quiet while you commit the biggest mistake ever.I served during the Cold War, and cannot fully trust the Bear, but understand that we need to keep cordial relations with them. We share a long border and have to trade with them.We will NOT forgive your actions, if you go forward with this insanity, and probably will not survive as a nation.I do know that we have some of the toughest and more honest people around.Eveything has a breaking point.You have been warned.The Pit awaits you, fraters and sorors.Real Finns do not push for NATO.A real Finn would seek retreat into the EEC and the Finnish Mark, and accept temporary monetary losses (for the retreat) while the One Belt strategy rises; and it will rise.

In reply to by MozartIII

Shemp 4 Victory Fri, 11/10/2017 - 03:54 Permalink

 

“If there’s a crisis, it will be good for us to practice receiving help,” Jussi Niinistö said.

Except that the most likely "crisis" will be one created by, and for the benefit of, the US. The "help" Finland receives will be a NATO takeover of the country.This Finnish "defense" minister has lutefisk for brains.

HRClinton Shemp 4 Victory Fri, 11/10/2017 - 04:09 Permalink

What (((Global-Lust))) banksters want, they get:Permanent conflict, for permanent Debt. If conflict cannot be created, then tension can.Gotta keep those MIC budgets going. Gotta keep that VoM (Velocity of Money) going in a fiat currency/credit Ponzi casino.All this becomes even more needed, as De-Dollarization continues. The motives are not complicated. Only the deception and actions are.

In reply to by Shemp 4 Victory

Ghordius Shemp 4 Victory Fri, 11/10/2017 - 04:14 Permalink

most of our defense ministers are girls. very silly girls, in Russian media

the Russian DefMin looks like a pocket Tatar Army capable of taking over a small country and eat an Armoured Division for breakfast, all for himself

meh. I like it this way. a well armed Russia get's my applause. it is, after all, the one european country that borders the Mighty Dragon

Afghanistan. now, that's the one spot where... the Dragon is denied by both european military blocs. think about China owning both Pakistan and Afghanistan and... shudder. it's still the "Great Game"... but with a new Great Player building lots of railroads

In reply to by Shemp 4 Victory

Juliette Ghordius Fri, 11/10/2017 - 04:24 Permalink

Those women don't know what war is like. They never served in an army, not even in peacetime in their own country as a paramedic. They got no idea. Russia's defence minister on the other hand did serve in battle and he knows war is hell. In other words, he wants to avoid war at all costs, whereas those glamorous luxury bitches who never saw any barracks from the inside are sitting comfy in their leather chairs and got no problem with sending millions of young soldiers off to die in a senseless war.But if the Russians have to fight, they will fight for their lives, and their skills, motivation and even their equipment are way better than anything NATO got to offer ...  

In reply to by Ghordius

Ghordius Juliette Fri, 11/10/2017 - 04:44 Permalink

I see that you want to have it... both ways

our girls cater for effeminate troops too incompetent to find a road to Moscow, while willing to expend them in the million range for the whims of US NeoCons. all this while caring for their work balance, with mobile cribs for their infants. on tracks, of course. or something

In reply to by Juliette

Manthong Fri, 11/10/2017 - 03:54 Permalink

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 Well, can we put all of the tanks up on the Finnish-Russo border now ….  ?????? We need more tanks…..

Ghordius Fri, 11/10/2017 - 03:57 Permalink

"The militarization of Northern Europe rarely hits headlines"

it does. in Russian media, all the time. from Washington's perspective, though, we all ought to spend much more for the military, remember?

nothing new, here in Europe. Moscow tells us we are way to aggressive in our defensive postures and Washington tells us we ought to be way more aggressive in our defensive postures

it's still defensive postures. we are not going to invade Russia, and Russia is not going to invade us, regardless of a few Russian politicians openly dreaming of getting the Balts and other Eastern countries "on board", in some, any, way

so... Dream On, Dreamers. 70+ years of Peace, and we want to hold on it

Juliette 07564111 Fri, 11/10/2017 - 04:19 Permalink

Gordon is a fucking idiot. All the US forces in Scandinavia and the East of Europe are Marines, Green Berets and Navy Seals. Those are elite special forces, decidedly offensive forces, and not for defence by any means. Their goal is to practice and train for deep penetrations into Russia ... i.e. world war III. 

In reply to by 07564111

07564111 Juliette Fri, 11/10/2017 - 04:25 Permalink

Ghordo and I have discussed this matter several times over the years we've been here. He still lives in the dream of no more war. I also am in favor of no more war in Europe, but this is not to be.

NATOs masters are going to launch no matter what sane people want, they know it and Russia and China also know where we heading.

In reply to by Juliette

Ghordius Juliette Fri, 11/10/2017 - 04:27 Permalink

how many? and how many are needed... to hold on even a tiny part of Russia?
Napoleon spent half a million. Hitler spent way more. both failed

Russia... can't be conquered. by nobody. China is the only country with the reserves to even think about it and... 7'000 Russian nuclear warheads say... nope

Dream. On. Your. Dreams. Of. Total. War.

In reply to by Juliette

Juliette Ghordius Fri, 11/10/2017 - 04:39 Permalink

Russia does not want war. European citizens like us mostly don't want war. Not sure about the crazy Swedes and Britons though. But that does not matter to the elites in the EU the UK and the USA. They want war because they need it. First of all to justify endless spending for their buddies in the military-industrial complex, second they see no other chance of preserving their global hegemony, and third the overwhelming debts of both EU and USA don't leave them much of a choice either. 

In reply to by Ghordius

Fireman Ghordius Fri, 11/10/2017 - 05:25 Permalink

There will NEVER EVER be a NATO war in Russia and not simply because Putin explained that to the weasels in Natostan; Russian nukes will fry the Anglozionazi abomination on both sides of the Atlantic sewer before the Russians allow Euro amerikan fascism to pollute Mother Russia's soil ever again. The Europeons will play the Washing town Pentacon mob for every last dime until the rotten hulk goes under in the not too distant future. USSA'S next war will be the long overdue civil war in Slumville.

In reply to by Ghordius

Fireman Juliette Fri, 11/10/2017 - 05:30 Permalink

You mean amerikanskis will actually fight a real army after all the lost judaic bouts of carnage around the planet plus all that terror (from above) against pajama clad, flip flop wearing peasant armies that bled USSA dry and kicked more ass than USSANS can count? USSAN snowflake Pentacon punks fight ...the Russians? Now that is damn funny and gets my joke of the thread award!!!

In reply to by Juliette

Ghordius 07564111 Fri, 11/10/2017 - 04:22 Permalink

because...? what is your... scenario?

we don't need to invade Russia. completely non-sensical, for us
Russia... does not have the manpower reserves to invade and keep us
this besides the fact that it's nonsensical to Russia, too

Washington is courting the Eastern Europeans. who are mightily suspicious of Russia. Poland and the Balts are angry about Ukraine, remember?

do you believe in six impossible things before breakfast? I don't

In reply to by 07564111

zeroboris Fri, 11/10/2017 - 04:13 Permalink

Finns want to lay under the NATO but don't want to get several Russian divisions near their borders. Putin said to his Finnish counterpart last time that this was obviously impossible. Now the borders between Russia and Finland are almost free of the military infrastructure from Russia's side.

peddling-fiction Kaeako Fri, 11/10/2017 - 08:40 Permalink

New weaponry and air to ground, and ground to ground missiles makes Finland's proximity to Russia dangerous, due to St. Petersburg's stone throw distance from our Hamina border.Eventual ground invasion is also an issue regardless.It is called two new fronts, around each side of Lake Ladoga.Electronic countermeasure "beaming" is also another reason.There are many more reasons why Russia would consider us a threat, if we go full NATO.

In reply to by Kaeako

ThinkAgain Fri, 11/10/2017 - 04:25 Permalink

Maybe it's time to reconsider the current 'benefits' of the Trans Atlantic relation...The neocons are in policy charge in DC and that means nothing but trouble for Europe.

Righttoarmbears Fri, 11/10/2017 - 05:26 Permalink

Funny how if you look at most of the countries mentioned in this article, while Russia is a convenient distraction, they all have far more immediate issues internally, from the number of foreign combatants returning home from ISIS and other hot spots. you do wonder exactly how much horse shit this lot expect us to swallow.

slickrick Righttoarmbears Fri, 11/10/2017 - 10:15 Permalink

Have to throw mad love to this post. To say there are many issues each requiring consierable discussion is an understatement no doubt. All this Russia BS does nothing other than keep us off of the important issues which will affect our families. Sooner or later, we will be caught off guard, by them. I think most people who do show support for Putin are doing it just to keep focus on the topics which matter to them. What other option is there at this point?

In reply to by Righttoarmbears

Fireman Fri, 11/10/2017 - 05:26 Permalink

NATO, North Amerikan Terror Organ, that limp appendage dangling from the Pedophile Politburo in Natostan capital of USSA's flaccid vassal Brussels, seat of the infamous albeit collapsing EUSSR wants to be the global gangster sidekick of the Pentacon thugs but just doesn't want to pay to play. Will the Germans get suckered for a third time into a global war for their anglozionazi bankster masters and the Washing town thugocracy?  Nah...they finally seem to have figured it and STASI agent "Erika" out as the formerly I$I$ "backed" Saudi Mercan IOU petroscrip toilet paper dollah gets flushed from the global Ponzi sewer of the Potemkin Village (idiot) Mercan "economy" of slaughter for profit of the zero 1%. Merkill's rag tag coalition of Soros owned Green stooges and the delusional FDP are at each other's throats already and if the "Jamaicans" don't collapse before the starting gate the collection of misfits will disintegrate before 2018 is out ensuring new elections and the end of the loathsome hypocrite and morally unprincipled migrant importer "Erika". German business has by and large ignored the suicidal "sanction$" against Russia and has had enough of the anglozionazi death wish. New elections will guarantee more power for the AfD and as such the end of the occupation before the decade is over. So Mad Dog Mattis can bark at his poodles all he wants but bankrupt USSA'S days of bribing its pets with Saudi Mercan IOU petroscrip fiat filth "reserve currency" niblets is a thing of the past.Merkill's Thatcher moment approaches fasthttp://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/11/07/merkel-failing-coalition-tri… & hubris will do it every timehttp://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48170.htm  

WTFUD Fri, 11/10/2017 - 06:00 Permalink

It's got to the point where if you choose to join the MIC's Forces, then you're in all but name, a MERCENARY and i won't lose any sleep over your demise, in fact, i view you as i would al-CIAd'uh, Neocon Tools.

So what's the Plan Stan? Finland imports two-thirds of its additional Energy requirements from Russia and so it's time for Russia to turn the screw on those Generous Prices, just like they will do in 2018 for Ukraine; let's see if Vichy DC & da Banks can wean them off Russian Energy. HARDBALL, Squeeze those Puppet Vassals. Do unto these EU-Pikers as they would do unto you, unpleasant stuff, from Behind, if given the chance.

Technical Experts & Graduates in Europe will be filling out Job Applications Forms to work for Gazprom/Other, Chinese Companies on a Project in Iran or some Silk-Road Development. Time for them to Embrace the New Order.

Turkey has seen the Light and will be a new Transport Hub after Erdo watched Vichy DC/NATO/Israel snatch failure from the jaws of hubris, doing their utmost to keep those DAESH trucks of stolen Syraqi Oil Running. ZAPPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! like BUGS by Vlad the Impaler. Apparently British Petroleum are air-lifting RIGS/Equipment out of Syraq after spending the time ISIL provided cover, to Siphon to their heart's content. Sorry BP, Exxon & Banksters but you'll have to Pay the Going Rate.

Gotta Pick a Pocket or Two, you gotta pick a pocket or two, boohoo!