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Better For Finland that Obama Goes to Sweden (Savon Sanomat, Finland)


"Under different circumstances, President Sauli Niinistö and Finland's foreign policy leaders would have been flattered by a visit by Barack Obama. Perhaps it's better that this time, the visitor stay with our neighbors to the West. Although the days of Finlandization are behind us, it would not be welcomed for Finland's leaders to become pawns in the current diplomatic match between the superpowers."




Translated By Katarzyna Wisniewska


August 13, 2013


Finland - Savon Sanomat - Original Article (Finnish)

The Nordic and Baltic states are preparing for an unusual visit by a valued guest, after U.S. President Barack Obama suddenly told a popular entertainment program [The Tonight Show] that he would visit Stockholm rather than Moscow on September 5-6.


The announcement was a slap on the wrist of President Vladimir Putin for taking Edward Snowden under Russia's wing for a year, after Snowden was charged by the U.S. with engaging in espionage. In 2009, Obama visited Oslo to pick up the Nobel Peace Prize, but also Copenhagen [climate summit]. So now the Swedes will have the joyful opportunity to host the White House inhabitant, even if for just two days.

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Under Presidents Kekkonen, Koivisto and Ahtisaari, Finland became accustomed to be a favored meeting place for leaders of the global powers. Under different circumstances, President Sauli Niinistö, Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen and Finland's other foreign policy leaders would have been flattered by a visit by Barack Obama. However, perhaps it's better that this time, the visitor stay with our neighbors to the West. Although the days of Finlandization are behind us, it would not be welcomed for Finland's leaders to become pawns in the current diplomatic match between the superpowers.


[Editor's Note: Finlandization refers to the days of the Cold War, when Finland was caught between the West and the Soviet Union to its east. At the time, although a democratic nation, Finland was often perceived by the U.S. and its allies as bending too much toward the Soviets.]


So far, there is no accurate information about who, in addition to Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, President Obama will meet with in Stockholm. The presidents of the three Baltic States are apparently among the invited, but will we see also Norwegian, Danish and Finnish foreign policy leaders? If an invitation comes to Mäntyniemi [the Finland president's residence], it would be wise to accept.


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Posted By Worldmeets.US Aug. 13, 2013, 2:19am