I watched retired Admiral James G. Stavridis and retired General Barry McCaffrey being interviewed on “Morning Joe” discussing the power of the Finnish Defense Forces and what a formidable opponent they would be should Russia attack them. As you probably heard (see “Russia says Finnish entry to NATO poses threat to which it will respond”), Putin is threatening dire consequences if Finland joins NATO. Talk about rattling plastic sabers. His strong implication that if Finland, and also Sweden, join NATO an invasion of one or both would be possible if not likely. There are two reasons why actually doing this would be insane. One is that it would be a declaration of war against NATO. The other, as both Stavridis and McCaffrery explained, is that Finland has a very powerful modern military.
I decided to look the Finnish military up on Wikipedia and thought it would be worthwhile to share what I found on Wikpedia (here).
The Finnish Defence Forces (Finnish: Puolustusvoimat, Swedish: Försvarsmakten) are the military of Finland. The Finnish Defence Forces consist of the Finnish Army, the Finnish Navy and the Finnish Air Force. In wartime the Finnish Border Guard (which is its own military unit in peacetime) becomes part of the Finnish Defence Forces.
Universal male conscription is in place, under which all men serve for 165, 255, or 347 days, from the year they turn 18 until the year they turn 29. Alternative non-military service for men and voluntary service for women is available.
Finland is the only non-NATO European Union state bordering Russia. Finland's official policy states that a wartime military strength of 280,000 personnel constitutes a sufficient deterrent. The army consists of a highly mobile field army backed up by local defence units. The army defends the national territory and its military strategy employs the use of the heavily forested terrain and numerous lakes to wear down an aggressor, instead of attempting to hold the attacking army on the frontier.
Finland's defence budget for 2022 equals approximately €5.8 billion. The voluntary overseas service is highly popular and troops serve around the world in UN, NATO and EU missions. With an arsenal of 700 howitzers, 700 heavy mortars and 100 multiple rocket launchers, Finland has the largest artillery capability in western Europe. Homeland defence willingness against a superior enemy is at 76%, one of the highest rates in Europe.
Stavridis and McCaffrey noted that in addition to active troops Finland could quickly mobilize a million highly trained and well equipped reservists.
There are two messages Putin needs to hear and heed if he can allow the truth to penetrate whatever psychopathology is distorting his perception of reality.
One, of course, is that if he didn’t learn a lesson from underestimating the resistance Ukraine would mount against his invasion, if he listened to those experts with the courage to tell him the truth he’d be well-advised to stop the belligerent rhetoric about Finnland joining NATO since not will only hasten their taking that step. They’d be telling him that opening a second front by invading Finland would be the death knell for his regime.
General McCaffrey reminds us that Russian is in actuality a second or third rate military power that happens to have a nuclear arsenal. He saids that “Putin has put himself in a box.”
Further, if Putin is so delusional to think he can take on NATO someone should show him this:
Comparison of the military capabilities of NATO and Russia as of 2022
These statistics don’t even address the dismal state of the command and control and the bad morale of the Russian military.
All those of you who are familiar with the Winter War, when in 1939 Russia invaded Finland know that even though Russia won they suffered significant casualties (reference).
Here are more reasons why the slogan “don't fuck with Finland” is appropriate: “War with Russia? Finland has a plan for that” from Financial Times :
Excerpt (fair use):
Detailed planning is in place for how to handle an invasion, including the deployment of fighter jets to remote roads around the country, the laying of mines in key shipping lanes, and the preparation of land defences such as blowing up bridges. Jarmo Lindberg, Finland’s former chief of defence, says that the Finnish capital Helsinki “is like Swiss cheese” with dozens of kilometres of tunnels. “There are areas like a James Bond film,” he adds. All armed force headquarters are located in hillsides under “30-40 metres of granite,” he says. If a likely attack was detected by military intelligence, forces would be mobilised and, as far as possible, civilians would be evacuated from danger areas, a marked difference to what has happened in Ukraine. Kuusela says that the very core of Finland’s strategy is the will of its citizens to fight and defend a country, recently named by the UN for the fifth year in a row as the world’s happiest nation. “Being a Finn is a deal,” he adds. “We are number one in the world in being happy. On the other hand, the other side is that you are prepared to defend this . . . We had a near-death experience in the second world war that only strengthened us.”
Besides that, this alliteration makes for a good bumper sticker:
Or so Putin gets the message:
Не шутите с Финляндией
From a friend:
Even better, in Japanese with scenes from The Winter War: