Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

What Finland Can Offer NATO

By Elisabeth Braw

14 Apr 2022 · 6 min read

In Johan Ludvig Runeberg’s The Tales of Ensign Staal, Finland’s national epic about the 1808-09 war between Sweden (of which Finland was then part) and Russia, a hapless young man named Sven Dufva informs his father he’s joining the army. To the surprise of his father and everyone else, Dufva proceeds to become a brave soldier on whom his regiment learns to rely in battle.

These days, Finland—which shares an 800-mile border with Russia—has collectively proved itself such a brave soldier that NATO is expected to receive its membership application with open arms. As Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced this week, Finland will decide whether to apply within weeks.

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