The Former Prime Minister of Finland Alexander Stubb Fears a Deal Between Trump and Putin

Alexander Stubb, the former prime minister of Finland, is afraid that the U.S. President Donald Trump may strike a deal with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Alexander Stubb, the former prime minister of Finland, is afraid that the U.S. President Donald Trump may strike a deal with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

“My fear is that President Trump might be tempted to strike a deal with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, on Nato enlargement — namely that it should not take place,” writes Alexander Stubb, the former prime minister of Finland, in his latest column for the Financial Times. “This would leave a security-political vacuum in northern Europe, especially Finland and Sweden, who are outside the military alliance but members of the EU. Their so-called “Nato option” would be made null and void,” Stubb continues.

According to Stubb, Europe and the US must find a way to engage Russia in a principled way. “This will not be easy,” Stubb says. “Russia detached itself from the international mainstream in the conflicts of Georgia (2008), Ukraine (2014) and Syria (2015). It has violated international law on all fronts. This cannot and should not go unpunished.”

Stubb reminds the readers that the international security depends heavily on Russian involvement. Stubb is afraid of another deal as well. “Here my fear is that President Trump will strike a deal on the basis of realpolitik (Editor’s note: politics based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations) by lifting the sanctions on Russia in exchange from a withdrawal from Ukraine and a joint plan on Syria. This would mean a de facto recognition of Crimea as a part of Russia.”

According to Stubb, the electoral outcomes, neither Brexit or the US presidential elections, “do not change the basic values which the West should stand for.” “We should not turn our backs against those values, let alone turn against each other.”

Stubb concludes his column by saying: “The optimist in me says that 2016 should be remembered as the year when we were able to show why transatlantic co-operation and liberal internationalism is not dead. The pessimist in me says that things will go from bad to worse. At least we have a choice which is entirely in our own hands.”