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And unlikely ever to be. Especially while influential Social Democrat Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomija is an exemplary pacifist in a coalition with Centre Party PM Matti Vanhanen who has a mild case of xenophobia.

But the real reason is Russia: not because of any potential military threat, but because it is a very large and important neighbour and trading partner, as well as a main source of energy.

I think the description of Russia as a 'Plains Country' is key. Plains countries always feel vulnerable, and always try to encourage their influence over neighbours to act as buffer zones. Imagine you had a house and a garden, but (for some reason) no fence or other boundary. You would depend on your good neighbours for a feeling of security.

Here is an article (2004) by veteran Finnish diplomat Max Jakobson  that outlines all the factors.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 02:39:21 AM EST

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