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Leaking Finlandization
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-02-14 09:19:29
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Keskusta, centre party - is a Finnish party with a long history and many traditions; its highest pick was Urho Kekkonen’s era and it’s lowest for the moment era it’s contemporary reality. Still there was one little chance to become a force of change a few years ago but everything drawn in the traditional conservatism and fear for the new of Finnish politics, another long tradition of the Finnish political system.

Finlandization is a political term – not popular among the Finns – that represents perfectly the psychic of the Finnish internal and foreign policy the last century and even though it worked – with good excuses - during the cold war mainly towards the foreign policy it has become to its perfections the resent years in the internal policy. The term referred to the decision of a country to not challenge a more powerful neighbour in foreign politics while maintaining national sovereignty; in simple words in front of a crisis remain dull, do nothing and pretend that you are thinking seriously while you keep your brain absolutely empty.

On June 18th 2003, Anneli Jäätteenmäki resigned from her newly position as the Prime Minister under pressure resulting from the accusation that she had lied to Parliament and the public over how she had acquired confidential Foreign Ministry documents which she used for political purposes during the election campaign. The documents she had exposed had shown that the former PM Paavo Lipponen had lied to the nation regarding a secret agreement he had done with the American president George W. Bush involving the country to the Iraq invasion despite the internal and parliamentary opposition and the fact that he was going to lose the elections in a few days therefore his agreements would relegate a government and parties that had already publicly express their opposition to any similar agreement. So Jäätteenmäki was doomed for telling the truth, leaking the truth and exposing a conspiracy.

My ideological differences with the Keskusta party are huge and I do consider them an anachronism that survives due to the traditionalist way Finns vote and the legend of Kekkonen to some areas of the Finnish society. But Jäätteenmäki was the chance for the party to move and become a contemporary European conservative party – I never believed that the name centre represents any reality in the political spectrum – and in some parts of the Finnish state make some radical but necessary chances. And having the honour to have met her and talked with her – I emphasize again that our ideological differences were and remain huge – I know that Jäätteenmäki did care for the people who live in this very far corner of the world and she had a plan to bring the country in the 21st century beyond the achievements of a worldwide known private communications company.

But in the spirit of Finlandization she was sacrificed in a conspiracy that covered the entire Finnish political spectrum even though most of them was equally shocked, surprised and feeling betrayed from the exposures. And while Jäätteenmäki found herself from the seat of the Prime Minister in the exile of the Brussels – they couldn’t totally vanished her from the political scene – her Nemesis Paavo Lipponen enjoyed the position of the speaker in the Finnish parliament and the throne of the wise man in the Finnish politics, adviser to all the parties and sides.

But Paavo Lipponen is the absolute prove of the hypocrisy and Finlandization that rules Finnish politics. In a book describing the period of his service in Finland the secretary of the American embassy in Rozanne L. Ridgway’s era mentions often Paavo Lipponen as the main informer of the American embassy for decades and their man into the Kekkonen’s government and court. Of course the man was giving every information about the relations with Russia – don’t forget we are talking about the cold war era and the doubtful western on the role of Finland, after all ambassador Ridgway came to Finland after serving in East Germany, that shows what Americans thought about Finland –later during the end of the Soviet Union. Despite the questionable of his activities – under different situations for example if the American embassy was replaced by the Russian embassy he would be considered a traitor – he enjoys the immunity of the laws.

And if I read all these things in a book legally published in USA in late 1980s and found in a public library in Helsinki more information about the man and the general position – equally hypocritical – of others including whole parties came into light lately due to the Wikileaks showing that Finno-American diplomatic relations have been for long tighter than logic and political ethic permits. Just like Paavo Lipponen was making deals with the Americans selling out the national neutrality; the contemporary leadership of the Kokoomus the conservative party, promised to lead Finland into a NATO membership if it win the upcoming Parliamentary elections in April, again ignoring the general public opposition to a NATO membership.

And that’s just one more example of how penetrated is the Finnish political life and how hypocritical are the Finnish politicians. I presume in the surveys regarding corruption they …Finlandisize these issue and they are definitely Finlandisize them in the mainstream media. Just think what would have happened in any other European country if something like that had leaked, just think what would have been the reaction of the presidency or the Prime Minister and just try to imagine what would have happened to the guilt.

But as I said before, Finlandization is how things work in Finland, eternally and internally. The former Prime Minister is involved in a tremendous scandal that would have rocked any other European country and here he enjoys the immunity of the title or as the term translates, “to not challenge a more powerful neighbour – or a powerful foreign or internal ally - in foreign – or internal - politics while maintaining national sovereignty” even if that means sacrificing the woman that could make the difference. And what is going to happen when more leaks will follow from the Wikileaks, the Finnish president has already covered the subject: “Not everything Wikileaks publishes is true,” and as I suspect this is going to be the gospel of the Finlandisized politics in the future.

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