On May 12th, Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced that Finland would officially apply to join NATO. Finland joining NATO is a tectonic shift in the strategic balance of the alliance’s eastern flank, because now Russia will share an 810-mile (1300-kilometer) border with NATO, already its most significant with a member of the European Union. This also means NATO would soon be in close proximity to the heavy concentration of the Russian military near Saint Petersburg. Becoming a NATO member also represents a significant turning point in Finland’s history in that it marks an end to the country’s traditional stance of neutrality. It also marks a permanent shift in Finland’s long, fraught relationship with Russia, where it has often been subject to or threatened with aggression from its much larger next-door neighbor. I have written more on this subject here.
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