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Russia and China provoke Finland short of war
Hey everybody, Peter Zeihan here coming to you from Phoenix where I’m on my last business trip of the year, very exciting. Today we’re going to talk about something that the Russians and the Chinese are doing against Finland, of all places. We’ve had two big events over the course of the last few weeks. Number one, the Russians started funneling illegal migrants from Central Asia and South Asia into the Finnish border. Clearly, this was intentional. Clearly, that was premeditated, because you don’t go from having less than one person a day to almost 1,000 in an area that is the Russians consider a security zone. Second, the this one’s hilarious, the Chinese in with the container ship, new new polar bear, makes more sense in Mandarin, dropped their anchor in the Gulf of Finland between Finland and Estonia, and then proceeded to drag the anchor on the seabed for about 20 miles until they severed a telecommunications cable and damaged pipeline hub. Or sorry, it was an electricity transmission anyway, dim sum cable dim to pipeline. Again, that’s not something that happens by accident. And in both cases, the Russians, the Chinese are kind of going like, what do you do about it? And it’s not clear exactly what anyone is going to do about it. Because it’s one of those definitely less-than-war scenarios. So we’ve got three things going on here. First is, this is practice for the Russians and the Chinese. They’ve never really functionally cooperated before, they’ve certainly never coordinated their actions. But in doing so, two things in different theaters, versus the same country that has managed to displease the Russians of late by joining NATO. This is practice for kind of a larger scale, while the US does not consider itself capable of being involved in two major military operations at the same time, even though one would be naval in China and won’t be in the land in Ukraine. But you know, putting that to the side. So anything that forces the United States to look in two directions at once is kind of a win in above itself, even if nothing comes from it. Second, there is the issue of implications for action. And we’re already seeing NATO countries changing their naval patrol patterns to look out for things like the Chinese. Because you know, when you’re dragging your anchor for 20 miles, it’s not like that is a normal bit of operation. Oh, by the way, they found the sea anchor, they matched it to the vessel in question. So the Chinese are doing their normal obfuscation and lying thing, but the puffins and the Estonians really have no doubt as to what went down here. But then there’s the third issue, and that’s the target choice. Now until recently, Finland was officially a neutral country because it was terrified of facing the Soviet Union, and then eventually the Russians.
It’s not that they think they’re weak, it’s that they know that they’re outnumbered. So if you go back to World War Two, the Finnish chapter of that conflict was called the Winter War. And when Stalin’s troops came in, they were massacred in the winter conflict, looking at 20 to 41 casualty ratios throughout the winter, but when the snows finally went away, and the advantage of just being able to ski through the Russian forces went away, the Finns were forced to sue for peace and accept a deal that gave up territory on which about a quarter of their population pre-war lived. It’s something that Finns have never really ever forgotten. And so ever since then, the Finnish military has basically prepared for one fight, what happens when the Russians finally come.
But this is a creative country that has shown that can punch well, well, well above its weight. It arguably has the most effective military in terms of per capita in NATO. And they’re starting to train with NATO now that they’re members, and they just kicked everybody’s ass in the biathlon cabinet competition last winter, which you know, they’re terrifying because that’s one of the reasons why the casualty ratios were so high because these are all natural sharp shooters, and these are all natural ski folks. Anyway. Also, when the Finns are involved, it’s not just the Finns. They’ve got their kind of little brothers, if you will, in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. But more importantly, they get along excellently with their other Scandinavian cousins in Denmark and Sweden and Norway, you know, the Vikings, not to mention excellent relations with the United Kingdom and now the United States. So basically, what the Russians have done is picked someone that they thought was on the fringe, they thought was alone, but kind of is representative of the fact that Russian decision-making at the diplomatic and security level has really broken down, they’ve kind of forgotten that even Stalin was a little bit scared of the Finns, and so they fucked around. And now they’re gonna find out.
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