The 2023-24 Bernard Brodie Distinguished Lecture on the Conditions of Peace

Sanna Marin, Former Prime Minister of Finland

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The 2023-24 Bernard Brodie Distinguished Lecture on the Conditions of Peace

Wednesday, October 4, 2023
4:30 PM

UCLA Law School, Room 1347
385 Charles E Young Dr E
Los Angeles, CA 90095



 

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Sanna Marin is the former Prime Minister of Finland (2019-2023). Appointed at the age of 34, Marin served as the youngest prime minister in the world, taking office in 2019. She led her country through the global pandemic and a historically swift accession process to NATO after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Marin joined the Tony Blair Institute as a Strategic Counselor in 2023. In this role, she now specializes on topics of geopolitics, strategic autonomy and female leadership. Marin holds a Master’s degree in Administration Sciences from the University of Tampere.

 

ABOUT THE MODERATOR

Kal Raustiala holds the Promise Institute Chair in Comparative and International Law at UCLA Law School and is a Professor at the UCLA International Institute, where he teaches in the Program on Global Studies. Since 2007 he has served as Director of the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations. From 2012-2015 he was UCLA’s Associate Vice Provost for International Studies and Faculty Director of the International Education Office. Professor Raustiala's research focuses on international law, international relations, and intellectual property.

 

ABOUT THE LECTURE SERIES

In sponsoring the Bernard Brodie Distinguished Lecture on the Conditions of Peace, the Burkle Center for International Relations celebrates the memory of Brodie as an eminent scholar and teacher. The lectures provide a special forum for outstanding students of politics, strategy, and warfare to present their thoughts and research within the scholarly and humanist tradition exemplified by Bernard Brodie.

Established in 1980, the lecture series provides a special forum for dignitaries and scholars of politics, strategy, warfare, and peace to present their views to the UCLA community and the public.


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Duration: 1:18:37

20231004_Burkle_SannaMarin_2-zz-sjl.mp3

Transcript:

Michael Waterstone 0:04

Hello everybody, welcome. My name is Michael Waterstone, and I am the Dean here at the UCLA School of Law. I'm honored to welcome you to this terrific event today, and it's wonderful to look out and see all of your faces. Before we continue, I want to acknowledge the native people on whose land UCLA sits as a land grant institution. UCLA and the Law School acknowledge our presence on the traditional ancestral and unceded territory of the Gabrielino Tongva peoples. We pay our respects to our ancestors, elders and relatives past, present and emerging. Thank you. The Burkle Center's annual Brodie Lecture on the Conditions of Peace is always a major event on the UCLA calendar. This year, it's truly special. We're so pleased that Sanna Marin, the former prime minister of Finland, agreed to take the time to travel here and participate in this lecture.

Of course, we are all familiar with Prime Minister Marin from her recently concluded tenure as Finland's head of government from 2019 to 2023. When she started in that role, at age 34, she was the youngest state leader in the world. And she served her country, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic, with enviable skill, strength, and character. Her work was a true inspiration to millions of people, particularly to girls and women of all ages around the world. As someone who helps train the leaders of tomorrow at UCLA Law, I can say that providing that kind of encouragement to our future lawyers and states people is absolutely invaluable. Thank you for your service. And for the terrific example that you've presented throughout your career. Kal Raustiala, my colleague, will offer a more complete introduction in a moment. But I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Okko-Pekka Salmimies the Consul General of Finland in Los Angeles.

Our deepest thanks for your efforts and bringing us together for this special event today. And I also want to recognize, I believe he's here, UCLA Chancellor Emeritus Al Carnesale, who joins us today. There he is.

Welcome, and thank you for coming. So, now let me turn things over to my colleague, Professor Kal Raustiala, who directs the Burkle Center and my colleague on the law faculty. Thank you again, everybody.

Kal Raustiala 3:15

Okay, thanks, Michael. Is this on? Everyone can hear me? Great. So welcome, everyone here and online to the 2023 Bernard Brodie Lecture on the Conditions of Peace. The UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations has been doing this lecture for over four decades. We've had many illustrious speakers over the years from President Jimmy Carter to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Last year, our speaker was Luis Moreno Ocampo, the first Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Our topic has always been peace and security. This lecture was inaugurated during the Cold War. And while conflict in the world has ebbed and flowed, today we unfortunately live in darkened times, wars raging in many parts of the globe. And perhaps no conflict has raised more questions about the future of the post-war order than Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Having just returned from Europe, indeed from Finland, I can say that while the war might seem far away here in Los Angeles, it feels very close in Europe, especially in Helsinki. Our speaker today understands that threat better than most as prime minister of Finland. Sanna Marin shepherded Finland's historic accession to NATO, reversing decades of Finnish foreign policy in the process. That decision took leadership, skill and vision. As we'll surely get into, there were many components. It was controversial, but seen, I think widely, as crucial. As a first generation American, my family emigrated from Finland after the Second World War, and indeed my grandfather fought Soviet troops in the Winter War. I'm personally thrilled to have Sanna Marin here and be able to talk with her about the conditions of peace in the world today and how we might achieve it. So in a moment, I'll properly introduce her. Let me just say a little bit about how the event will unfold. So, once I'm done we'll invite Ms. Marin on stage, she and I will sit in these chairs. We'll have a conversation about, obviously, peace and security, as well as many other issues about her premiership and tenure as a political leader. Towards the end, I will open it up to questions from all of you, and ideally, from those who are watching on Zoom. So it's a bit of a hybrid, we're going to do our best to do that. So hopefully, we'll have questions coming from both live and online audiences. So just bear with me as we do that. If we call on you, or if I call on you, we have a microphone of some kind that's a bit unusual. Alexandra, am I right? No, we have normal, we have no microphone. Okay. We have no microphone. We're going to have a box. I didn't really get it. I'm glad we're not using it. So speak loudly when you have a question. And please keep your questions short and to the point. We only have one Brodie lecturer today and it's Sanna Marin. So we want short questions that she can answer and address. So now let me introduce our guest. Sanna Marin began her political career on the Tampere City Council in Finland. In 2015, she was elected to the Finnish Parliament, and in 20— and since 2017, she served as a leader of the Social Democratic Party and eventually leader of the party. Chosen as Prime Minister of Finland in 2019, as Michael just explained, at the age of 34, she served as the youngest prime minister in the world. In that role, she led Finland through both the COVID pandemic as her kind of first challenge. And then second, the war in Ukraine and Finland joining of NATO. Ms. Marin's government also passed many progressive reforms in Finland, including some of the world's most ambitious climate laws, aiming for carbon neutrality by 2035, family leave reform, major reforms in health care, education and human rights. Since leaving her position as prime minister, she has joined the Tony Blair Institute, as a strategic counselor. And in this role, she'll specialize in geopolitics, strategic autonomy and female leadership. Sanna Marin has been actively engaged in politics since she was 21 if I have the math right. She has said, "being involved and making a difference represents civil rights, for me, changing things takes commitment. The welfare state, or the ground rules for working life, should not be taken for granted. They're the result of hard work and determined efforts." The first in her family to go to college, Ms. Marin holds a master's degree from Tampere University. Throughout Scandinavia, she is widely seen as an inspirational figure, especially for young people, girls and women interested in politics. So it's an honor to have her here today for the Brodie Lecture. And please join me in welcoming her on the stage.

Alright, thank you so much for coming. So, as I mentioned, we're going to start at the Cold War. And I'm going to presume that there's not a lot of knowledge about Finnish foreign policy... But one of the things about the Cold War was, it was a difficult time for Finland. Finland is a former part of the Russian Empire... So I guess my first question is, tells us a little bit about how you brought Finland into NATO or was it really the Finnish people?

Sanna Marin 9:15

Well, first of all, it's an honor to be here. Thank you so much for being patient, and it's so great to see you all here today... many different things and and the reason why Finland joined NATO... it's because this war in Ukraine, when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022 February on a scale that we didn't anticipate... and this shifted and changed the Finnish mentality toward NATO membership... Before the war, the majority of Finnish people, a majority of the parliamentarian parties, the majority of Finnish government, the president, all of the institutions weren't very vocal about Finland joining NATO. Actually the opposite. We always had this consensus, when it came to foreign policy and we have this paper on foreign security policy that's been widely, parlimentary also in line with opposition. So it's not only a governmental paper but it's a paper for the whole stuff of different parties and things not for women. I said that we will have the possibility to join NATO. People do the things change, we have the possibility for NATO. And we were of course very close for the NATO even before that more than before they exist in France. But we've been steadfast in our governmental programs or we can be the change that being in Finland puts on NATO. So it's there's something more, I can't tell you.

Alright, that's not working... But before the war, we didn't talk that consent. But after the war started, it was evident that Finland would have this crisis ahead of us. And the reason is quite simple. We have had wars before... And the most important thing has been its citizens. Every citizen needs to make sure that we are safe. Our country thinks we are independent, that we will secure our own society. And up to that point, the way to secure our society and make sure that we are safe as a country were to have working relations with our basic neighbor, Russia. We're in this position in the middle of the East and the West. Of course, Finland is a member of the European Union on our path has always gone that way. But we also have the difficult path with Russia.

Burkle Center 12:32

[Technical difficulties]

Kal Raustiala 12:40

So did anybody hear any of that?

Sanna Marin 12:47

I have a lot of points, but I think that nobody online heard anything but you will get the point. We're just beginning. But after that point, we saw that there is no reason in Russia's actions. There is nothing that will keep us safe. Russia will use aggressive force towards its neighbors. So we couldn't anymore rely on that working relations, on anything. And then we have to ask ourselves the question, what is the line that Russia wouldn't cross? And the only line that Russia won't cross is the NATO line. And this is the whole reason why Finland is now a member of NATO. So the NATO line is the only line that will keep us secure and safe in the future. And I have said before that actually, Finland joining NATO was an act of peace. It was an act of peace to make sure that there would never again be war in Finnish soil, like we have experienced before. So the war changed everything. It changed the whole mentality towards the alliance in Finland. The citizens, they changed and shifted their minds I think, very fast after the war started, and so did the politicians. So to answer your question, was it the politicians led us to NATO? Or was it the citizens? I think it was both, because we as politicians are also citizens of Finland. And like the citizens of Finland, also for us, to keep our society, our country, our future, safe and secure, is to make sure that there won't ever again be war in Finland. And it was also a very difficult process to have when there was a full scale war happening in Europe. And we worked through that process not only within the Finnish society, but to get there with our western neighbor, Sweden. So at the same time, we have to make sure that everybody in Finland was on board, of course, the citizens but all the political parties, all the institutions. We have this two headed way of handling foreign and security policy. We have precedent in Finland that is leading for a security policy together with the government. So both of the institutions have a role. And of course, the parliament are in top and making the final decisions on everything. So we had a process that happened actually, in quite many levels at the same time, within the government, with the president with the parliament, but also all the parties because majority of the parties were before against NATO membership. And then they had to shift and make new decisions within the parties. And in the parliamentary groups, and together with Sweden as well. So we spoke, I think almost every day with the, I spoke with the Swedish Prime Minister, then Magdalena Andersson, then changed Ulf Kristersson, which is now the Prime Minister of Sweden. And of course, our Ministers of Defense or for Foreign Affairs were in touch with their Swedish colleagues every day. So the process happened in many different places at the same time. And there was no manual, how to enter, and how to have that process and discussion within the Finnish society, while there is a war in Europe. The fear of perhaps escalation, how it will affect Ukraine, how it will affect Europe. And at the same time, I felt that it is so important to have that process at that time, because we don't want to see a situation and it was my biggest fear, and I'm so sorry, to say this out loud. But I'm no longer the Prime Minister, so I can be quite frank, my worst scenario that I could think of at that time when we were thinking, is this the right moment to have this process in Finland, the worst scenario that I could have think of if that we have Russia and Putin at the other side, and then perhaps in the future, when you will have your election, we will have Trump in the other side. And small countries like Finland or Sweden in the middle, it would be very difficult situation, we wouldn't know how these leaders might act in that kind of situation. So of course, the Biden administration and the foreign and security policy of the States was so important as well, when we have this... thinking within our society. But it was very difficult. It was difficult to handle that process in so many levels together with Sweden, when there was war, in Europe. But it looked from the outside actually quite coherent. We did all the steps in very mannered way. And actually quite fast. I think this is the one of the fastest or the fastest accession to NATO that we have ever witnessed. And hopefully Sweden will be a member of NATO as soon as possible. There are some problems with Turkey with Erdogan, and also with Hungary that haven't yet passed Swedish NATO bid or pass that passed that. But hopefully, that will happen soon. I will also tell you, it will ask why is this I will tell you, but not maybe a few questions later. But now, I'm very happy that we are a member of NATO and and we are also a very strong member because we have quite an extensive military force in Finland because of our history, even though we are a country of 5.5 million residents. Unlike many European countries, we have made sure that we have big armed forces, we have made investments in our military equipment. For example, during our governmental period, we made a decision of purchasing 64 F-35, five fighter jets to Finland to renew our fleet. We will be renewing our fleet when it comes to fighter jets and also made decisions on new fleet on ships. So so we have made sure that we are capable if there will be war, we are capable. So we are actually quite good partner in NATO.

Kal Raustiala 19:42

Great. Okay. So many things there. There's a lot.

Sanna Marin 19:45

I can continue.

Kal Raustiala 19:46

Yeah. We have a lot of time. There's a lot of questions. I have to follow up on that. But let me ask the, I guess, the first question. So I was last week in Finland at the Helsinki Security Forum, where I think you spoke the year before. And the prime minister of Estonia said at one point that defense is not escalation, weakness is escalation. So do you agree with that? And do you think that it's essential for countries in Europe today, whether in NATO or not, to build up their strength and to become — one of the big issues in NATO, of course, is whether countries member states are spending sufficiently on defense. Do you agree with that sentiment, that weakness is in a sense, provocative?

Sanna Marin 20:28

I agree. I agree. And then at the same time, we have to ask ourselves the question, what if the escalation that we're waiting for there is a full scale war in Europe happening today? So what is the escalation? There is already escalation, I don't think that we should allow fear of escalation or fear of authoritarian country or their mad leader affect our decisions. I think we should always do what is right. And the right thing to do is to make sure that Ukraine will win the war. But it's not only crucial for Ukraine, to win the war, this war is happening in Ukraine, but it's so much wider, it affects all of us. We're seeing this fight on values going on in the world. As we speak, there are more and more authoritarian regimes, that are questioning our democratic values that are acting in a way that it's not, in any sense, acceptable. And the war is, of course, the ugliest, performance of that way of thinking. So I totally agree with Kaja Kallas, the Estonian Prime Minister, on that, we should be more strong, we shouldn't show any weakness. Russia don't respect anything but strength. If we are seen as weak, then they will only continue. And this is why it's so important that Ukraine will win the war and that Russia will lose. It's not enough that there will be some kind of peace. Ukraine should win, they should gain all the land, the territory that is theirs, and Russia should really lose. I don't think that there should be any kind of face saving end for Putin of this war. I think Putin and Russia should lose the war. And that's, that's the most that we could get out of this. If they would feel at all that they have won something, they will continue. Next it will be Moldova, then it will be Western Balkans, then they will gaze on Baltic countries. So I truly believe that we should do everything we can to support Ukraine, militarily, monetarily, financially, also giving humanitarian aid, taking refugees, anything that they need. And we should make sure that they end up at the end of this very stressed, sad and tragic, events, there will be a prosperous future for Ukrainian. That they will become member of European Union, that they will become a member of NATO as well. And actually, if we look at Europe, and NATO, Ukraine would be the most strongest in within NATO. They are the ones that have the experience of war today. They have extensive military forces, they have that experience, and we truly, I believe we need them in the future. So we need to make sure that the future for Ukraine and Ukrainians are bright and good. And the future for this kind of authoritarian themes for Putin, and his fellow men are not good. So if we want to make sure that we are living in a peaceful world, then we should really build up our own capabilities when it comes to defense when it comes to secure our societies. And we should show strength, not weakness.

Kal Raustiala 24:03

Do you fully support Ukraine, joining NATO?

Sanna Marin 24:06

I fully support Ukraine, in their path towards European Union membership. And also NATO. Yeah.

Kal Raustiala 24:13

Do you think in 2014, when Russia invades Crimea, should the West, should Europe had been more aggressive then?

Sanna Marin 24:21

Absolutely, absolutely. And I said this also before, for example, in the Munich Security Conference — was it this year or early this year — that we made a big mistake in 2014? And I think we should be honest to ourselves when we were as Western countries as Europeans, we should look ourselves in the mirror and say that, yeah, we made mistakes. We wouldn't be in this situation. We wouldn't have war in Europe, or it would be much less unlikely to have this kind of situation in Europe right now if we would have acted differently 2014. Then we didn't show strength. We didn't show strength. There wasn't so heavy sanctions put in place. There wasn't actually that kind of reaction from the international community, from European Union, from nobody, that this was wrong. Everybody just was like, well, okay, this is a very sad incident, but let's continue business with Russia. And let's continue with that energy supply that comes from Russia. And let's continue our lives. And it was, and this is so sad that Crimea was lost. But like, let's move on. Some sanctions, some reaction, but not the reaction that should have been there. If we should, if we would have acted more strongly in 2014, I don't think that Putin would have had that idea that he can just repeat that. I think that he really thought that he could just walk across Ukraine straight to Kyiv changed the government, for a pro Russian government. Take the country over and it would be what handled like that in couple weeks, special military operation, as he calls it. So this was his idea. And he really thought that the Ukrainians would welcome him with open arms. And they were really surprised when the Ukrainians said that no way, we are fighting to the end. And they really resisted the invasion of the Russians. And the Ukrainians, they're fighting every day. So bravely so strongly, they are united. And I'm also so proud that this time that this happened, we were much more prepared for the situation and rise on the occasion than before. We were able, for example, to agree on on many sanctions beforehand, European Union together with United States together with Great Britain. So there were already sanctions to put on place straight away. We gathered convenient, straight after the war, make these decisions. Also, different countries make decisions on arm deliveries that were on think of before for its, for example, Germany, it was a big shift for the term, Germany's policies send arms to Ukraine, because of their history of the Nazi Germany and very difficult history. But they have. So it was a major shift, that they would have sent arms to Ukraine, and provide this kind of help. So we were more prepared than before, but it would be better not to have war than to have one. So yes, we made mistakes, 2014. I don't blame. It's not like a blame game. I don't believe in that. It doesn't help anything. And of course, there has been reasons why we have acted the way we have as Western countries. But now we have to realize that we don't get the logic or we haven't get the logic of our territory and regimes and leaders. We have thought, and it's very logical, we have thought that creating very tight economical ties with Russia, on energy on gas, for example, on on different matters, creating this very close accountable ties, it would prevent the war, because it would be so costly, it would cost so much money, and everything international relations, that the war will ever happen. But this is our logic. This is our logic. It's not the Russians logic, they think different things, ideology. They think that Great Russia is the Great Russia and and then everybody that don't understand that they can just like run over. So they have different logic than we do. So there was a logic, but we have made mistakes, make any mistakes, and we should have listened to our Baltic friends, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and also Poland, and others that has been under Soviet control under Soviet power, because they know the Russian logic, they know how they think. And if we had listened to them before, then we would have been even more prepared for the situation. And now we have to wake up, like everywhere in the world. As democratic countries, we have to wake up and realize that these are authoritarian regimes. These leaders, they don't think like we do, they don't have the same logic. And that we, that's why I agree with Kaja Kallas that says that we should show power and strength, not weakness, because this is the only thing that this leaders understand.

Kal Raustiala 29:52

Great. So you sort of answered your own point. You said along the way you didn't want to blame but that there were reasons why perhaps in 2014, we didn't have the proper reaction that we should have with hindsight. So you reverted to kind of the interest in economic connections and thinking that maybe that would would forestall conflict. Is there more to it? I mean, how would you just explain how you think people in 2014 misapprehended so badly Russian intentions?

Sanna Marin 30:24

Well, there are many reasons. I have referred to Mr. Fukuyama's concept of end of history. It was something that we thought before that after the World Wars, this market based democracy would bloom and everything would just go forward and progress would happen. And it was the wars, that would be the end of like this kind of ideology thinking. But this didn't happen. We are seeing this alternative in countries, Russia is not the only one. Of course we know also, many problems with China, and also others that think very differently. And that the market based and like rule based order, they it just don't continue. But actually there is a backlash happening right now. And we need to understand that in order to survive in this different fields and different surroundings, we have to face the facts. Stop being naive. It's very hard for people and for leaders to do that. Because people always want the future that they want. They want to believe that we can continue as we are, we can continue trade, we can continue their economic growth, we can continue the things that they are because it's convenient for us. It's convenient, it's nice. We want a bright future, we want everything to stay at was and then we don't want to face the fact that actually the world is much uglier place, that there are countries and leaders that think very differently than we do. And we don't change our views perhaps early enough, but only at the point where we have to. And this is what happened with Ukraine. And in the future when we are looking forward. One of my biggest worry is that I've also spoken a lot of through the concept of European strategic autonomy or open autonomy is to do with new technologies. If we don't realize fast enough that we cannot be dependent on the new technologies, the digital world on authoritarian countries, then we are really screwed. Our societies are digitalized already. In the future, we will be totally digitalized everything from schools, from transportation from our hospitals, from our security, for air for everything, everything will be digitalized. And we will need so much. There's so much of these technologies, whether it's AI, whether it's semiconductors, or chips or, or quantum technologies or whatever. I'm not an expert on this. But still, if we don't realize this soon enough, and we have those dependencies on these altering countries, whether it's China or whatever, then we really have critical vulnerabilities in our society. And it will affect also our decision making when it comes to foreign and security policy. For example, Russia, is using gas and energy as a leverage towards Europe during the war. They started actually, from energy 2021 said, the whole fall, they caught the export of energy, made sure that our storage is were empty when the war happened. And they have using energy as a language and as a tool for war the whole time. And in the future, when we're looking about technology. I'm certain that these authoritarian countries will use technology and all parts of that asset tool as a weapon towards democratic countries if there would be some kind of incidence. And that's why it's so important to realize how the world is today to prepare for different kinds of situations, to make sure that we also have those capabilities in the future by our own. So we need to tighten cooperation between democratic countries with EU between European Union and United States, Canada, South America, also African countries, especially in Asia, Japan, South Korea, also India and the whole Indo Pacific region, we need to have those trading routes between democratic countries. We need to have the capabilities to produce, create, to innovate new technologies, and make sure that if something would happen, we will have that backup. So I'm not suggesting that we would like can't loose from China, it's not possible. We're so interconnected already. But we need to prepare for different scenarios and different situations. In COVID, we noticed that we were too dependent on medicine on medical supply, when it comes to certain Eastern countries. During the war, energy is used as a weapon. And in the future, it will be an added technology. So we need to prepare. And Finland it's actually the country for preparedness. We don't want bad things to happen. But we are always preparing for maybe the world may take us to places that we don't really want to go go. And that's why we need to prepare for also for the worst scenarios.

Kal Raustiala 36:15

I want to come back to Finnish preparedness in a moment. But let me ask you just about the — Are we okay with microphones? They're good. Okay — I'm sure that you're not going to agree with Macron on this point. But he said in 2022, and others have suggested, that Ukraine could eventually undergo something like Finlandization as an endpoint to the war. I'm confident you don't agree. But can you first explain what Finlandization means to an audience that might not be familiar? And then why you either agree or disagree?

Sanna Marin 36:55

Yeah, so Finlandization is a concept or — it has been misunderstand, historically, from different countries, and I — have seen it. I'm not a historian, so there might be a better person to explain this. But for Finland, it has meant like self control, control of making decisions. So we have always been aware of our big neighbor. And we have controlled ourselves and let that affect our own decisions in different parts of society and politics. So we have had this like, before censor, censorship, of our own — self censorship of our own doings. So it's not a good concept. We want countries to be free. We want countries to make their own decisions in their own perspectives. We want to enhance that. We don't want to build Ukraine as a country that would make their decisions based on Russia, or what might Russia do, or what might Russia think. So I don't think or support the idea that Ukraine should just like, let Ukraine be in this kind of middle ground, some kind of grey zone. For Russia, I think that would be a mistake. Because then we would see a conflict rise again, within five years or 10 years. That's why it's also so important that Ukraine will win the war, gain the territory, and we should support Ukraine for their own decisions. So Zelensky, President Zelensky of Ukraine has shown or given this peace plan of his own, I think we should support that. They need the global community's support widely. So they need right, now they, have said what they need, what they want, they need arms, they need all the support for the society. They need to rebuild not only after the war, but actually every day. There's been, for example, infrastructure demolished every day. So they need to rebuild constantly. So they need financial support. But then they also need the support of the international community for their peace plan. I think we should support this. So it's their decision, and we should support, we shouldn't decide over them. And that's why I don't like the way of thinking of United States or France or Germany or European Union or anybody to discuss above Ukraine or in the sight of Ukraine. Ukraine should always be in the center, they should decide on ways to support. If we don't support them this way, then for especially for small countries' point of view, the world is quite dangerous place. If we don't have those rules, those international rules and values that we promote, then the smaller countries always lose, that don't have that leverage that don't have that power that don't have that extensive military force or anything, we don't have those rules. If we don't support those rules, then the smaller ones will fail.

Kal Raustiala 40:47

Let me go back to preparation. So you mentioned this briefly, when I was in Helsinki, a couple of days ago, someone I think maybe the mayor referred to Finland as a nation of preppers. And I got to tour one of these underground, I don't know what you call them, but they're like a bomb shelter. But more than just for bombs, they're for a place to hide. The population of Helsinki is 600,000, something like that. And there's room for many, many hundreds of thousands more in these. Every building has to have one. And there's enormous complexes of this. This is an example of Finnish preparation, the level of preparation. So tell us a little more about how Finland has prepared over the years. You mentioned, you know, the military, in a moment you can say more about that. I brought up the shelters. But there's a lot of ways in which Finland is very prepared for conflict. So say a little more about that, and why that's so significant.

Sanna Marin 41:44

So how much time do you have? Because it's actually a quite complex and multi layered question. Everything starts when you're preparing for worst times, everything starts at level trusts. If you have trusts within your society, then you are prepared in very difficult situations. We saw this throughout COVID. We saw this throughout the war, throughout the NATO accession in this government in our governmental period. So you need to have that level of basic trust in your society. So when something happens, people listen to authorities. They listen to government, to their leaders to authorities. They can trust that if they're being told something, they can trust them on that. So everything starts on that level, and how you build that trust within your society, it doesn't happen overnight. You need all the structures of from rule of law, to democracy, to freedom of press and speech and all the civil rights that you need to respect, then we have been building for decades, the Nordic welfare system that people can trust in different situations in their lives. We have a very good education system, from early childhood to universities that don't have tuition. So the education is in core of Finnish society. We have made many, many reforms over decades to enhance equality, so that women and men have the same opportunities in life. We have the social and health care system and the Social Security system that enables people from different backgrounds to have good and meaningful lives. So we have that Nordic welfare model, not only Finland, but in Sweden, in Norway, in Denmark, in the Northern part in Iceland, in the Northern part of Europe. So that also builds that trust that people from different backgrounds have the opportunities in life. And I have also said that actually the American Dream that anybody can become anything, it's most reachable in Nordic countries, because we have those structures in our society that I'm very proud of. And actually, we made many reforms also during our governmental period, on that Finnish 98% of our government program, even there was a pandemic and of war and I'm very proud of that major reforms on education, social health care, you name it. So you need that trust in your society to be prepared from different situation. If you have that trust, then everything else can be built on that. And of course, there are the concrete things as well. We have those shelters for our citizens if there would be bombings or if the war would would, once again and become reality. So we have all those shelters for bomb shelters and shelters for people and, and we have this network of that we have all them underground pathways throughout Helsinki. I have also as prime minister went through those, and so you can get all the institution and decision decision makers on the positions where if something would happen, we will still have that democratic process ongoing, and it cannot be in the case. And of course, we are prepared or also from food security, for example, we have storage for grain, and food and medicine. And also we had storage for masks and everything like that before the COVID. When the pandemic happened, we realized, like straight away that yeah, this is too little, we need much, much more. So we weren't prepared enough, but more prepared than many other countries. So we have been preparing for many different ways in many different scenarios, from pandemics to war to, to environmental crises or different disasters that might occur or happen. So yes, Finland is a nation for preparation. And when you look at world peace, we have mandatory military in Finland for males. It's voluntary for women. Hopefully, in the future, it would be more equal. Maybe some kind of system where everybody has to do something, both women and men, you can do it in military or you can do that on civil service or crisis management or whatever.

Kal Raustiala 46:53

Do you support that?

Sanna Marin 46:53

I support that? Yeah, I support that. Um, and I think that will be in the future. But the time hasn't been right. Right, right now, and we didn't introduce this kind of legislation throughout our governmental period. But we have that this group that we're thinking what should be done, also parliamentary group on that. So we have a huge military forces in Finland that I think the wartime capabilities, almost 800,000 soldiers. And that's a lot. And we have the reserve, that is 200,000 or something, I'm sure. I'm looking at the front row in our consulate. So 900 in total wartime and then 250,000.

Kal Raustiala 47:52

So that's about 20% of the population.

Sanna Marin 47:54

Yeah, so it's a lot. And our equipment are working. Like we're, like really, we're seeing today when when different countries are sending material to Ukraine, and they have gone through their storage is what they have their what tanks or whatever. Like many of those, they have that but it doesn't work, because they haven't made sure that all the equipments are being taken care of. So actually, Finland, I think we have the like, the biggest level of different kinds of equipment, from tanks to anything that actually works. So if something would happen, we would have that preparedness also within our country, and hopefully, rest of Europe as soon as possible.

Kal Raustiala 48:43

I was impressed in the shelters that one of the points that was made is they're not just dusty shelters, they're used. They're soccer fields, they're hockey rinks, they're little bouncy houses for little kids to go play on the theory that you need to use these facilities at all times to make sure the lights work that everything is operating, that there isn't a leak gets very smart. So it was

Sanna Marin 49:05

Actually yeah, one of these are in a place called Hakaniemi. I mean, I've lived there throughout the last or when I served as parliamentarian, and we had our daughter. She's now five years old. And she was born through during that that period of time. And we spent a lot of time in one of these shelters. There was this kid's playground. That was for kids under one years old. So she spent a lot of time there like great place for kids having fun and all kinds of like trampolines and everything like in there. So yeah.

Kal Raustiala 49:34

Yeah, really impressive. Okay, transition away from the war. So I want because I'm gonna talk about a couple of other things and then we're gonna open it up. So, first, what do you see as the biggest challenge for Finland, for Europe right now? Aside from Ukraine, so obviously, that's overwhelming at the moment. But taking that out of the equation, we're at the tail end of COVID. You can talk about COVID, if you like, but what do you see as the most important issue or issues? If you were Prime Minister today? Or were you advising any other European leader?

Sanna Marin 50:17

Well, there are many things. But of course, the biggest problem that we have is climate, climate change, loss of biodiversity, the transition that we need to make within our societies in our economies. We have to make sure that we are working once more sustainable ways in the futures. And this has to be this has to have, this has to happen throughout the whole societies, in every level in every part of the society. So of course, climate loss of biodiversity, if we dismiss this, or if we don't handle this, like right now, we will be in big trouble. Like, that's a fact. So of course, we need that international aura, we need the agreements. But we also, I'm an optimistic at the end. And I want to believe that even though we have, we have big problems ahead of us, and we are witnessing it right now that the heatwave here in Los Angeles, or, or the wildfires everywhere in the world, or problems in our environment, in total, I still want to be an optimistic. I want to believe that we can solve these matters, partially throughout technology, working together. And actually the war in Ukraine gives us a reason, an urgency also, when it comes to reforming our energy system and network in Europe right now. We are building so much more faster, sustainable energy network in Europe, renewables, but also making sure that our rich storage and everything works much better in the future. So I want to believe that these kinds of events, that happen also gives us opportunities to perform better when it comes to, for example, climate or biodiversity. So of course, this is a big part of the major challenges that we are facing, but also the technology that I mentioned earlier. This is something that we really have to take serious. And it's super hard, because these technologies, they are evolving so fast, and the pace will only increase. So of course, I as a former politician, wonder how the legislation, how our values, how our how the things that we keep, as granted today will also be a reality in the future when it comes to AI or all the new technologies. And this is a tricky part, I don't have the solution, because the technologies are innovated so fastly and and evolve so fastly that their legislation never keeps on track on that. I would only advise to work much more better together as private and public sector. We need more cooperation between these companies, tech companies, legislators and politicians and institutions. I think we should work together. We shouldn't think that this future won't happen. It will. So I think cooperation is the key here as well. And still like we could end up on Terminator. I don't know. Hopefully not, or some else sci fi future.

Kal Raustiala 54:15

So last question, and then I'm gonna open it up. So technology, you mentioned a couple of different ways. But it's also changed politics, the way politics works. And you as prime minister, were pretty savvy about social media. You have a pretty big social media presence. I mean, I think if you compare the population of Finland to like your followings, like you probably might have the biggest. So how do you think that that technology has changed politics? How did it change it for you? And how do you think it's changing politics generally?

Sanna Marin 54:44

Well, of course, social media changed, has changed and is changing the democratic system. Elections, for example, the recent elections in Europe have shown really, that social media platforms also disinformation, hate speech. Everything affects massively, also the outcomes of elections. I think you will see that here in state, in states. So already in last presidential elections, but I think this upcoming ones, it will only have more and more effect. This different platforms, and also misinformation and everything like this will be used. So it's a real problem for democracies, and also for the participation of different people in the decision making process. We know already that women, for example, really think, can they enter political life? Do they want to take a stand? Well, when they get like, intense hate online, like, very violent, sexualized, very intense hate online, and the reason for this is happening is to silence women. The reason why this is happening is to make women think, can I enter political life can I take part on decision making, when it will affect my life this way, and also different minorities. And this is a phenomena. It's not a new phenomena. We have always which witnessed hate against women, against minorities, against people from different religion, it has always been a tool or some part of society to take control and gain power. But now the platform is totally different. Because it's online. It's on social media platforms. And many, many people think that, do they dare to hype? Do they have the courage to participate? And this is a big problem from the perspective of democracies in the future. With many people think that I cannot participate, I don't have the strength to fight on that kind of harassment, then we will be in trouble when it comes to the Democratic perspective. And I'm also in social media. My, my advice to you is that don't read that. Like don't read or what if someone asked what they say about you, like, most of their accounts are bots, they're not real. There are like one person somewhere in the world, like keeping 20 or 50 different accounts, and a lot of them are like bots, only, like sending hate. Don't read that they are only trying to silence you.

Kal Raustiala 57:46

Good advice. Okay, so questions. So raise your hand again, we don't have mics, we have some. Thank you. So I would like to start with questions from students. So student hands up. Let's start right over here. Try to speak loudly.

Audience Question 1 58:05

My question for you is, do you think undergraduate students at global universities have the ability to make an impact on global peace?

Sanna Marin 58:17

Of course, of course you can. You can do so much for the world. I believe that that every one of us has them. When we live in democratic countries, we have the possibility to make a difference. Of course, the possibilities and opportunities are different for different people. It helps if you come from a wealthy family, it helps if you are male, it helps if you're white, of course. We know that there are these structures within our society that put people on different positions when it comes to their vote or their capability of making change. We shouldn't ignore that, we should like realize that people have different positions when it comes to affecting, affecting democratically. But still, I would say of course, if you want to make a change in the world, you can, but it takes work. It takes work. It's not only like one post on social media. It's not like one like it takes work. And I will give you an example, for example, that many reforms that we did in our governmental period, from parental leave, or social and health care or education or climate neutrality targets or you name it. It was an outcome of much wider work that began a long time ago. I was still very young or younger than now. I worked in student politics, for example, or in the youth movement. And we're participating in our party's program making concerning these reforms. We put those reforms or the aims or the targets like 10 to 15 years in our programs, and then worked throughout those. And when we won the election, 2019, we wrote those in our governmental program. And now it's a reality. But it always takes time, things don't happen overnight. And if we expect a change to happen overnight, then we can be very frustrated, that not to happen. So it takes a lot of work, nothing happens immediately. So you really need to want things and work on things and commit the things to happen. But together, you have all the power, you have all the power, you can do anything. But you need each other as well. So I think, like, gather forces. And I'm doing things.

Kal Raustiala 1:01:07

Other questions? Wow, a lot of hands. Also, I'm gonna go — I know I have —

Audience Question 2 1:01:26

Thank you so much Ms. Marin for this great discussion. I'm an American born and raised in Ukraine. So thanks to (muffled audio) that you had, and all the people in Finland for all the help that you provided to Ukraine. We couldn't be more thankful. And of course, thank you for setting an example to the rest of the democratic world about what it means to stay behind your words. So the questions that I have is, also Finland is a part of European Union, and NATO now, there is countries like Hungary, and now Slovakia, who just elected a prime minister that is very pro Russian. Is there anything that the rest of the democratic countries can do to stop the influence or spreading the Russian propaganda that is coming out of these countries? Because nowadays, even in the United States, there's a lot of people that focus Russian propaganda.

Kal Raustiala 1:02:24

Let me just briefly repeat the question. So the question, as I understood it, is, we've seen pro Russian governments come in, you mentioned Hungary, Slovakia. What can we do in the West, in Europe, to address pro Russian sentiments coming out of those places? And perhaps implicit in that is should we do anything at all about that?

Sanna Marin 1:02:47

Well, thank you so much for the question. I think this is a crucial one. And it's very problematic. And I was mentioned that hopefully, Sweden will enter NATO as soon as possible. And the key reason it's happening is because of Turkey. Because of President Erdogan, that hasn't yet passed that. That that membership, not yet ratified. And the reason for that is, of course, that they want things. Things from Sweden, change of the legislation on tourism, which they have done already. So Sweden have they said that they will take, but also we know, and we knew straight away that there's also different things that Turkey wants. And this has been very profitable for President Erdogan. He has won election. Yeah, has used Sweden as part of internal politics. From this perspective, he has been able to negotiate or many things. I know that, we know that they want to negotiate with United States on fighter jets, for example. So it has been very profitable for President Erdogan to prolong them, Sweden's accession to NATO. But the real problem is, how does NATO work? When this when we let this continue? It doesn't look strong. It looks weak. And you referred to Hungary, and some of the countries as well. So I think it's a big problem when we have countries within our European Union or NATO, that can act like this. But how to handle that. That's a much more difficult question. I don't have the right answer, but I have raised the question but that in some way we should have that discussion within European Union. We should have that discussion within NATO. It's very, very difficult. I don't know how to handle that. But we also saw in Russia, that progress happening over time, Russia didn't just like land on war in Ukraine. It started 15 years ago, first, silent, silent in the opposition, free press, media, civil society making changes in the legislation. So Russia actually took a very, very dangerous step during Putin's period of president or prime minister and then President again. So the change happened over time. And the end of that change shift from from certain kind of Russia did this one authoritarian regime happen during 15 years, 10 to 15 years. And we are seeing the same kind of progress happening right now in Europe, with more far right parties, populistic parties winning elections. Slovakia was one example we but we also had very close elections in Spain. Luckily, the far right isn't in government there. But but we have this this parties in government also in Nordic countries, as we speak, in Sweden, the Swedish Democrats, they are not in the government, but the government works on their support, so they can influence a lot of the politics. In Finland, the true Finns are in the government right now together with moderates or the Conservative Party. So actually, that accession of this far right, parties happen on the help of conservative parties, in many cases. And in Hungary, we have seen this very worrying, development happening over years. And if we don't stop this process within European Union, or within Europe, whether it is Hungary, Poland, or some of the countries that we are seeing this kind of worrying development, then in the future, we might have this kind of I don't know, maybe this is not very nice things to say. But we will see this kind of mini Russians within our communities, European Union, NATO, so we should have that discussion. But how? I don't know. I don't know. It's very difficult one.

Kal Raustiala 1:07:57

Do you think there should be a test for who's in the European Union or NATO that they need to be a liberal democracy and not only a democracy?

Sanna Marin 1:08:08

This is also a very difficult question, because, of course, we want and need Turkey within NATO as its strategic position. And it's much better, even though these countries has problems that we should address more strongly. We should address and have that discussion. I don't have the answer how to do that. But we should have that discussion. And we should make sure that this progress don't continue the way that this it has gone so far. But still, it's better to have those countries as democracies within our discussion than outside. So Turkey, of course, would be much more problematic if it would be outside of NATO, even though it's problematic within NATO as well. So but we don't have like 100% good answers or good solutions in the world. We only have like, solutions that are good and bad, like two sides of a coin.

Kal Raustiala 1:09:20

Okay, I'm gonna go to a question from the overflow room. So the question is Finland and Russia had important or strong economic relations before the war. What's been the effects since the war? Is there any trade? What is the kind of connection between the two countries now?

Sanna Marin 1:09:36

Well, of course, we still have a long border with Russia and this is a geological fact that we cannot escape even though we would like to. I can only like, and I said this also that okay, we have Russia. For example, Japan has China, Russia and North Korea so so we are in a better position. But there are geological facts that we cannot unseen. We have cut, I think, all of the energy supplies from Russia. So no, we are not the energy dependent. And as I said before that we are a country of preparedness. Actually, energy was one thing that we were prepared also with Russia. So we have been building renewables, and we have been building our own energy security for a long time. So we weren't as dependent on Russian energy than many, many other countries in Europe. So it wasn't as hard for us to cut those ties fully, very fast than the many other countries are handling this situation right now. And we also caught no other kind of ties and put all the sanctions in place, of course, as soon as possible. There are still some problems when it comes to I don't know, do I want to save these things out loud? Maybe the Russian know, of course, they know already. But we are still somehow dependent on for example, uranium, coming from Russia. We have nuclear power plants in Finland, that work on Russian uranium. And we need to change our reactors to use different kinds of uranium in our reactors. So so there are still some critical matters, but we are handling this. We, we have uranium in our storage for couple of years, and we are doing this changes. Like we need to, so I wouldn't worry, but but still.

Kal Raustiala 1:11:52

Good. I don't think you're giving anything away. They know.

Sanna Marin 1:11:54

They know. Yeah. It's common knowledge.

Kal Raustiala 1:11:56

Okay, I'm gonna gather a couple of questions since we're almost at the end. So over here.

Audience Question 3 1:12:04

I'm a Historian of Peace at UCLA. Thank you very much for this thought provoking conversation. The conditions at the national army should lead Ukraine (muffled audio) non negotiable. However, we have a fundamental problem with our international system. Russia is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. And it's sitting on the board of an organization that it seeks to destroy, or at least to inactivate. You know, this is not new, and traces back to Joseph Stalin. But here, I would like to remind this example of the League of Nations in December of 1939 when the Soviet Union was expelled from that organization, after its invasion of Finland one month earlier. But today, in 2023, how are we going to solve this institutional bedrock?

Kal Raustiala 1:13:31

I'm gonna take one more, and then you can answer them, as you like. Over here, and go ahead.

Audience Question 4 1:13:38

Yeah, yes. Yeah. I just want to say thanks for your talk, it's really important that you spoke a little bit about resource dependence and dependence on Russia. There was a talk of the Brookings Institute about three weeks ago, and a fellow wrote the point of integrating international security goals with sustainable development goals, in the sense of building like, very quickly, I think, under your watch, moving from Russian oil dependence to using, you know, technologies that progress, no water or wind or I guess, non computable energy sources, and that helped them you know, gain some sort of self determination. There are other countries as you spoke about, that are connected to Russia in the same way as you were through oil or the uranium. Is there any sort of model that we can do for other countries, other developing countries that are tied to erratic governments by way of research credits. Are there models in which they can integrate sustainable development as sort of a national security directive or something like that?

Kal Raustiala 1:14:43

Okay, let me briefly restate two very complex questions. So the second was about sustainable development and the SDGs resource dependency and how Finland's model of moving away from dependency on Russian oil and gas might be a model for others. The first question was about the fact pointed out the fact that the Security Council has as its five permanent members, Russia, and this is a really fundamental problem. Can we do something about it and make the point of during the league era that the Soviet Union was expelled? Could that happen again today? Could we do something about the Security Council today? Take those as you wish.

Sanna Marin 1:15:22

Yeah, of course, we should do something. But how? That's the problem. It's a real problem that that Russia is a member, a permanent member of the Security Council. Of course, it is. It's a, it's so not logical to have a country that is in war. In that institution, of course, we should do something but how, that's another matter. And it's a real pity, that the rule based order that we decided together after the World Wars, and all the goals that we have, when it comes to human rights, rule of law, and democracy, the progress of the world are now being questioned more and more, and the international community is polarized, more or less. I think it's so important also, for countries in Europe, the States and elsewhere, to have discussions and real cooperation and real understanding of of third countries in Africa, also in South America, in Asia. I think we should build real partnerships, and understanding and gain that trust from these countries, because we know that Russia, and China is using a lot of energy and an involvement in these countries trying to persuade them from their perspective. So I think we should also use much more time within these countries to make sure that we are on the right track. But how to do that? If I if I have this answers, I wouldn't be sitting here. I will be sitting somewhere else. And then the the question, should we learn something from Finland? I think, yes, of course, we can learn something from Finland. I think we can learn many things from the United States. I think we can learn from each other. But it's very important to realize that actually, when it comes to energy policy, or technology, or many other fields, they are also fields of security, they are also fields of peace, they are also fields of keeping our society safe. So it's not only isolated part of society, for example, energy policies is so important from also the perspective of security. Not only energy security, but also we're seeing like heavy power using this as a weapon. So it's another field that we should focus on.

Kal Raustiala 1:18:24

Thank you so much for coming. Really glad to have you. I hope you come back to UCLA. So thank you. Thank you.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


Duration: 1:18:37

20231004_Burkle_SannaMarin_2-zz-sjl.mp3

Sponsor(s): Burkle Center for International Relations, Center for European and Russian Studies