In the pocket of Putin…….?
What would Trump do to Finland?
What would happen to Finland if Donald Trump becomes US president? Iltalehti sets out to answer the question this morning with the help of a trade expert and a foreign policy researcher, whose conclusions do not make reassuring reading. The security situation in the Baltic region would become immediately uncertain, predicts Charlie Salonius-Pasternak from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (UPI), given Trump’s recent assertion that his administration would no longer necessarily send troops to defend the Baltic countries should Russia threaten them.
The paper says that, given the question marks over Britain and Turkey’s future role in NATO due to the Brexit vote and this month’s coup attempt, NATO countries under a Trump presidency would have to accept that they can’t fully count on the alliance’s help.
Meanwhile Russia could easily turn the instability in the region to its advantage, Salonius-Pasternak warns. “When Trump has said that the US might not help, [Russia] can do what it likes. The uncertainty is so great that many things would be possible.”
The prospects for Finland’s exports don’t look much brighter, adds fellow UPI expert Mika Aaltola, given that Trump has been fiercely critical of the US’s current trade agreements, preferring instead to renegotiate bilateral deals with individual states, which would be easier to change.
“It would be tough for a small country to independently negotiate a trade agreement with the US,” Aaltola predicts. “The US market may become closed to Finnish high-tech exports, which is a significant black cloud on the horizon.”
But wouldn’t many of Trump’s more extreme election promises fail to materialise, if he becomes faced with the realities of holding office? “That is possible,” grants Salonius-Pasternak. “But if Trump becomes president, those things he’s said can’t just be taken back.”