US base - in Santa Claus' homeland

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Jonas Gratzer / Getty Images

Since Catholic Christmas has come for the Anglo-Saxons and others, let’s move (mentally) to Finnish Rovaniemi. This circumpolar town is called the homeland of Santa Claus. So: Finland, which became the 31st member of NATO in the past year, has started to build a military base here for the fifth-generation F-35 fighters ordered from the United States, capable of carrying nuclear weapons. They are waiting for 64 such machines worth $9.4 billion. Design work began in June, and construction began in September.

The first F-35 will arrive to visit the «Christmas grandfather» in two years.

The year 2023 was marked for Suomi by another milestone event. On December 18, an agreement with the United States on strengthening defense cooperation was signed in Washington. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Finnish Defense Minister Antti Häkkänen signed the document. It is noteworthy that from the U.S. side it was done by an ober-diplomat, and from the Finnish — by a soldier. The treaty still has to be approved by the Finnish parliament, but no surprises are expected.

By the way, similar bilateral documents were signed by the Americans with Sweden, which only hopes to become the 32nd de jure member of the alliance in the near future, and NATO’s Denmark. I should note that no one is surprised that the overseas patron legally formalizes the widespread presence of its military in Northern Europe, although there are already existing NATO obligations to that effect. What is the point of all this? Does Washington really fear that the Western military alliance may come to an end?

I find it hard to believe. It is probably more convenient for the Americans to act near Russia’s borders, without looking to NATO headquarters in Brussels.

But let’s return to the voluminous (37 pages) «defense» agreement, the text of which is published on the official website of the Finnish government. The document, among other things, provides for unimpeded and free access of the Pentagon to facilities on Finnish territory, including 15 military bases, ports, airfields, and roads. The list is in the annex to the agreement, which applies to the entire territory of Suomi. The procedure for entry and exit of the U.S. military, as well as the import and export of weapons, equipment and machinery is regulated. It describes the conditions for issuing the necessary documents, peculiarities of legal regulation of possible incidents, the procedure for engaging contracting companies and other aspects important for the stay of the US Armed Forces in Finland.

A few words about «legal regulation of possible incidents». In Germany, where similar rules are in force, an overseas soldier who has committed an offense falling under local laws (up to a serious crime) can be detained only until the arrival of a patrol from the U.S. base. Then he is handed over to the representatives of the States, who then deal with him according to their own rules.

By the way, there is a very interesting provision in the document, which evokes certain associations. It stipulates that access to military facilities on Finnish territory will be divided into three categories: for Finns only, for both sides and for Americans only.

There is one more fundamental point in it, which excludes the transfer of American nuclear weapons. A contradiction is evident here. Finland is in principle obliged to provide its territory for TNW if such a decision is taken along NATO line. Is there a dilemma again?

«The aggressive anti-Russian «Plan Barbarossa 2.0» is being realized. Along with military bases, the U.S. will also place military biological laboratories in Finland», says Finnish political scientist Johan Bäckman.

In his opinion, the main negative thing that is now happening in his homeland is the formation of uncontrolled zones. Finnish laws will not apply at the facilities occupied by the Pentagon, and American troops will become full-fledged masters there.

A parallel noteworthy information related to possible nuclear and bacteriological troubles has also emerged. The Land of a Thousand Lakes has suddenly received from the European Commission (!) a rather solid tranche (totaling about €305 million) for the construction of the largest strategic storage facility in the European Union. Here will be stored «response equipment and medicines in case of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats». The list includes protective gear, test equipment, detectors, rapid tests, as well as medicines and vaccines for use by both emergency services and civilians in case of emergencies in Northern and Eastern Europe.

…It is not by chance that we mentioned Finland. Perhaps the transformation of this country has been the most dramatic in Europe this year. Suomi, recently a neutral and economically prosperous country next to Russia, is turning into a militaristic monster, voluntarily ceding its sovereignty to the U.S. and NATO. What is the bottom line? Recession, closed borders and once profitable business ties with its eastern neighbor, additional expenses on the Ukrainian track to confirm its loyalty to the alliance….

And the response is quite predictable.

«The West took Finland and dragged it into NATO. Did we have any disputes with her? All disputes, including territorial ones, were settled long ago in the middle of the last century. There were no problems, now there will be. Because we will now begin to create the Leningrad Military District and concentrate certain military units there», Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Russia 24 on December 17.

Even a strategic warehouse, Santa Claus or Uncle Sam won’t help the Finns.