Europe: The Specter of Finlandization
THE term “Finlandization”-meaning that process or state of affairs in which, under the cloak of maintaining friendly relations with the Soviet Union, the sovereignty of a country becomes reduced-has entered the political dictionary despite the protests of Helsinki, Helsinki’s Western well-wishers, the Russians, and some American neo-isolationists. There is an element of injustice whenever geographical terms acquire a political meaning-not everything in Byzantium was Byzantine, not everything in the Levant was Levantine, not everyone in Shanghai is shanghaied, and if the Balkans were balkanized, it was largely the fault of outside powers. “Finlandization,” in any case, is here to stay: it has become the subject of articles, books, and even doctoral dissertations.
Though the term is of recent date, its origins are by no means certain. The phenomenon was allegedly first described in 1953 by the Austrian Foreign Minister Karl Gruber, warning his government not to follow the Finnish example. He did not, however, actually coin the term. Professor Richard Lowenthal said in a 1974 interview with Time magazine that he may have been the first to use the term sometime in 1966, when the Warsaw Pact countries, at their meeting in Bucharest, suggested the dissolution of all military blocs. Subsequently, the term was used by Pierre Hassner, myself, and many other writers.
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