Such a lovely semi-heated discussion!
Things I've noticed happening here:
- The media is trying to scare people with Russia. This is remarkably stupid, ridiculous and even dangerous. If only they stuck to the facts and didn't paint a horror picture on top. (like there could be a headline "Russia prepares for war". What? They have refresher training. So do we. Which army doesn't?
- Some politicians (this might change, there is a new parliament after elections now) are trying to drive us into NATO (I personally don't see the benefits of joining over not joining. But I have limited information.) The majority of people don't want to join, and if it comes to it, people want to vote for or against
- Sweden is in deep trouble after its military reform. It needs strong allies or to revert back to conscript service
- Finland is heading towards deep trouble, maybe the new parliament will actually agree to fund the armed forces instead of spending the money elsewhere.. time'll tell
- Russia would be greatly annoyed if NATO expanded any closer to it.
As it is, Russia doesn't really threaten us. If it came down to a big scale war, I think Russia would want to secure the Baltic sea. This is where Finland and Sweden are key players. If for some reason, some Russian general decided to play it safe and take control over the shores rather than trust Finns or Swedes, there would be an awful awful conflict here as well. That said, we have to keep a military force suited for our defence active and as in good a shape as possible. Because without one, every nation in the world is a threat.
And NATO or not, it's up to the Finns and Swedes. Sovereign nations make their own decisions, for better or for worse. One thing the Russian government seems to fail to see is that it is their own actions that cause this kind of nervous stir in the politics of their neighbours. There is a vast cultural difference, and nether "side" seems to be willing to bridge the cap right now. Slightly worrying.
There has also been a lot of talk about bringing the Swedish and the Finnish militaries closer together. But I think the Swedish politicians emphasize this would be during peace time only.. (Everyone likes to share costs, no one wants to do the dirty work..)
I personally wouldn't mind having access to the capability of the Swedish air force..
Oh, and as for the strength of the Finnish forces:Organization
The Defence Force employs about 12,300 soldiers and civilians, and trains a further 25,000 conscripts and 18,000 reservists annually.
Personnel are deployed on operations and exercises in Finland and overseas, including Afghanistan, Kosovo and Somalia.Finland’s maximum wartime capacity is 230,000
, including the Army, Navy and Air Force.
From the FDF site. Can't post a link there apparently.