A couple of weeks ago, The Economist featured, as part of its “Certain Ideas of Europe” blog and podcast, an interview by Edward Lucas (of New Cold War fame,) with Finnish Foreign Minister Alex Stubb. I urge you to listen to the podcast and tell me if it seems only to me that Lucas is doing his best to pull Mr. Stubb into his own, “Russia as inexorable menace” camp. I suspect that he was somewhat disappointed by Stubb’s reply on Dmitri Medvedev, to the effect that he is cautiously optimistic regarding the new Russian president.
The most fascinating exchange when Lucas asked Stubb whether the latter thought Finland should join NATO now, “because by the time you need to, it’ll be too late.”
“I don’t see NATO membership in the near future, but what we want is to have aHe goes on to note that Finland is very much engaged on a non-membership basis with NATO and with the European Rapid Reaction Force, but ends saying:
fresh NATO debate, and then draw our conclusions from that debate. But
what we also need is the support of the population, and if we are in a situation
whereby just … out of my…off the top of my head…25% of the population is for
membership and the rest is more or less against, it’s kind of a difficult
project to push through.”
“NATO has just always been a bit of an Achilles heel in the Finnish debate, and
that’s why it looks like we’re not going to join in the near future.”
Seems straightforward enough, doesn’t it? “…that’s why it looks like we’re not going to join in the near future.”
However, while signing off, Lucas says:
“That was Alex Stubb, Finnish Foreign Minister…giving a cautiously robust
perspective of Finland’s chances of joining NATO; not now, but maybe sooner than
How does “not going to join in the near future” becomes “joining…maybe sooner than we think,” without putting a rather unfair semantic burden on the phrases?
You can find the audio file here, listed under “Certain Ideas of Europe”: http://audiovideo.economist.com/