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If Finland joins NATO, it needs a new nuclear weapons policy

Bulletin, By Robin ForsbergAku KähkönenJason Moyer | December 8, 2022

As an aspiring NATO member, Finland must update its nuclear weapons policy. Nuclear weapons are an important pillar of the defensive alliance, which has the official position that for as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will inherently be a nuclear alliance.

…………… After filing its membership application in May 2022, Finland is now in the midst of its NATO accession process, with only Turkey and Hungary’s approval remaining. In its application, Finland is not seeking any exemptions to its membership and is committing to the alliance fully. This has initiated discussions about its upcoming policy on nuclear weapons.

………………. By applying for full NATO membership without any explicit restrictions, Finland allows itself the opportunity to chart its own decisions on nuclear weapons. But there is one caveat: Under Finland’s current national legislation nuclear weapons are illegal.

……….. By joining NATO, Finland will be allied with countries that have nuclear arsenals—and are prepared to use them if deemed necessary. This aligns with the creed of the alliance: Nuclear weapons are a core component of NATO’s deterrence. This will be the new security reality facing Finland the day it joins the nuclear alliance. Yet, it has not been sufficiently debated what becoming a NATO member will mean for Finland’s approach to nuclear weapons. In part, this is due to interest in both Finland and NATO for a speedy and uncomplicated accession. But there is also a tradition of not debating national strategic security policies in public fora due to the Finns’ high trust in their national authorities. A healthy national debate, however, is needed to improve the understanding of nuclear weapons policies among the Finnish population and their potential impact on Finland’s security.

………… Finland has a history of a strong non-nuclear proliferation policy. In 1968, it was the first country to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and has ever since shown strong support for multilateral non-proliferation and conventional disarmament treaties. But this dogmatism has somewhat wavered in recent years, even before Russia invaded Ukraine.

,……………….. Finland chose to abstain from supporting the treaty [United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW0]…… Experts theorized at the time that Finland abstained from voting not to jeopardize its prospects of joining NATO.

……….. Discussing Finland’s revised nuclear weapons policy is important not to jeopardize the ethics of Finland’s continuous and long-standing support of disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. The debate should also be reflective of the people’s willingness to take part in NATO’s nuclear weapons exercises, activities, or planning.

…… As Finland becomes a party to a nuclear alliance, it must begin the process of updating its nuclear weapons policy.

December 7, 2022 - Posted by | Finland, weapons and war

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