Jets, tanks, the lot……
All we have to do now is to ensure another Democrat loser doesn’t get into the White House to muck things up.
The dust had hardly settled from last week’s surprise announcement that American fighter jets will take part in military exercises in Finland this spring when Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö said on Thursday that the US will also be sending armoured fighting vehicles to take part in the manoeuvres.
Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, minister Niinistö of the Finns Party said that “just under 20” US Stryker armoured fighting vehicles will participate in Arrow exercises in May.
“$1bn to spend”
He said he did not know if there had ever been such an extensive US participation in a military exercise in Finland, which is not a member of NATO although it takes part in its Partnership for Peace. The Finnish Defence Forces have bought a number of US Hornet fighter jets since 1992.
“This US activity comes about because the US [military] has received about a billion dollars to spend on exercises in Europe. So the US is seeking exercise opportunities on a broad front,” Jussi Niinistö said on Thursday.
“Finland has now been able to take advantage of this increased US activity in a way that will develop Finland’s defence capabilities,” he added.
A week earlier, defence officials announced that the Oregon Air National Guard will bring six to eight F-15C fighters with 70 to 100 personnel to Karelia Air Command in Siilinjärvi, near Kuopio. There are also plans for a landing exercise on the southernmost Hanko Peninsula, which holds a strategic position in the Baltic Sea.
Kanerva: MPs should be told ASAP
Both the news of the arrival of the US jets and the armoured vehicles came as surprises to most of the members of the parliamentary Defence Committee, although they had been approved by the government and president in November.
Its chair, Ilkka Kanerva, called on Thursday for a reconsideration of the rules of the game on such announcements. He told Yle the committee should be informed as soon as the Council of State makes such decisions – rather than nearly three months later as in these latest cases.
Kanerva is a former foreign minister from the conservative National Coalition Party, one of the three government partners.