Wednesday Newspapers: Nuclear NATO, Banking Bishops and Pandemic Preparedness | News
Finland does not need to host nuclear weapons as a NATO member, but some nuclear policy analysts believe it might be in Finland’s best interests.
The discussion around Finland’s potential NATO candidacy continues to be at the forefront of national news.
Helsingin Sanomat published an article analyzing some of the issues regarding NATO membership and nuclear weapons.
HS has looked closely at the issue of tactical nuclear weapons – nuclear weapons whose payload is considerably smaller than strategic nuclear weapons, intercontinental ballistic missiles and designed for use on the battlefield. The specific model in question was the United States B61, small enough to be carried by fighter jets.
Tapio Juntunena researcher specializing in nuclear weapons policy at the University of Tampere, reminded HS readers that NATO’s nuclear weapons policy is more than technical.
“Nuclear weapons have symbolic value because they demonstrate the commitment of the United States to the defense of Europe,” Juntunen told HS.
HS clarified that nuclear weapons will not come to Finland unless Finland allows it, even as a member of NATO. Only five of NATO’s thirty members have deployed US nuclear weapons – Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey.
Since the 1970s, the number of US nuclear weapons has declined dramatically, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought NATO’s nuclear policy to the fore.
HS wrote that Finnish politicians were concerned about NATO hosting nuclear weapons, saying Finland should not allow nuclear weapons to be hosted on its territory.
Juntunen argued that Finland’s policy should be more open to welcoming nuclear weapons, as their deployment is a fundamental tenet of NATO’s deterrence policy. If Finland were to refrain from sharing nuclear weapons, other NATO member states might view them as free riders outside the alliance without committing to shared defence. However, other NATO members like Norway have signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which effectively means that the Nordic country does not host nuclear weapons or participate in nuclear sharing of the NATO. Moreover, most of NATO’s nuclear weapons are concentrated in Western Europe, with no post-Cold War NATO member harboring nuclear weapons.
According to Juntunen, while deterrence is an effective strategy in nuclear policy, it is also important that these weapons do not fall into the hands of an adversary. NATO therefore places its nuclear weapons far from its border, which means that Finland is not an ideal host for nuclear weapons given its 1300 kilometer border with Russia.
“It is important that Finland is aware of NATO’s nuclear sharing program and prepared to accept its principles. Finland must engage in a political debate on the importance of nuclear deterrence, including in relation to the nuclear disarmament,” Juntunen added.
Human error behind bishops’ pay gaps
The finances of the most important figures in the church are often hidden behind tax records, so Iltalehti asked the church for their records.
The tabloid discovered that 16 bishops receive salaries in excess of 100,000 a year. Archbishop At Tapio Luoma the salary was more than 150,000 euros, the highest salary.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland receives its funds through the church tax, which is levied on taxpayers who are also members of the Church.
Iltalehti’s research also shed light on a discrepancy in church finances. Some bishops received higher salaries and offered bigger raises than other bishops. The Church had not been aware of this difference until Iltalehti asked them about the matter.
Timo von Boehm, a Church labor lawyer attributed this to salary adjustments in 2015, when housing allowances for bishops were also changed. This affected salaries and their subsequent increases and had gone unnoticed as human error in recent years.
While salaries for Church leaders seemed high, von Boehm assured Iltalehti that salaries were fairer.
“The Church is definitely a fair employer. In the Church, the difference between the lowest and highest salaries is about three times greater. In large companies, this difference can be multiplied by thirty times”, specified von Boehm.
Salminen on future pandemics
Covid took Finland and the world by surprise more than two years ago, and Ilta Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) asked Mika Salminendirector of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), how he would approach the pandemic if he could go back and start over knowing what he knows now.
“In an emergency, we had to shut down the whole company pretty much. It’s not a good way to deal with infectious diseases,” Salminen said in response.
IS asked Salminen whether or not the moderate Swedish approach taken by the Swedish state epidemiologist Ander Tegnell was right in his assessment of the disease.
“The issue is much more complicated in that regard. I don’t think Tegnell was right because he took too many risks without enough information. Therefore, the line Sweden took meant a big risk, which unfortunately ended up being a big risk. is also materialized, especially for the elderly,” Salminen told ISIS.
One of the biggest improvements, Salminen says, is in vaccine cooperation between countries.
“Vaccine development should have been organized and agreed on a global scale before the start of the Covid pandemic. This way all countries would have received vaccines on time and there would have been greater capacity for the world whole. That way it would have prevented the spread of Covid,” Salminen told IS.
According to Salminen, Finland is currently considering a model for preparing for future pandemics.
“Efforts must be made to better prepare for all crises. For example, there was a very unanimous approach to the situation in Ukraine at EU level. The same should be the case in the event of a health crisis” , pointed out Salminen.
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