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Cablegate: Thoughts On Finland As I Depart Post

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R 071338Z APR 08
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/16/2015
TAGS: PREL ECON PGOV MARR ETRD FI
SUBJECT: THOUGHTS ON FINLAND AS I DEPART POST

Classified By: Ambassador Marilyn Ware, Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).

1. (SBU) SUMMARY AND INTRODUCTION: Upon my departure
following two years of service as the US Ambassador to
Finland, I would like to thank you and President Bush for
having afforded me this tremendous opportunity. My team
and I have worked hard to nurture and strengthen the US-
Finnish bilateral relationship, actively enlisting
Finnish support for the President's Freedom Agenda and
for your own Transformational Diplomacy initiatives. I
feel we have had great success in building bridges, not
only on the government-to-government level, but also on
the people-to-people level through our innovative and
creative public diplomacy outreach. My greatest specific
achievements have come in advancing the shared US-Finnish
commitment to creating a more secure world and to
fighting international extremism and terrorism; in
increasing trade and investment and in finding solid
common ground on the volatile issues of energy and
climate change; in tapping into Finns' robust sense
of internationalism; and in truly enhancing the Finnish
public's understanding of US policies as well as its
exposure to all the best that America -- and Americans --
have to offer. I leave Finland deeply honored by the
experience of representing my country here and humbled by
what I have learned from this great nation and its
people. I offer this valedictory telegram as a means of
summarizing briefly the progress we've made, but more
importantly to outline some of the challenges,
opportunities and hard work that lie ahead for my
successors. END SUMMARY.

FINLAND: OUR GREAT NON-ALIGNED ALLY
-----------------------------------
2. (C) Finland did not become a member of NATO on my
watch, and it will most likely not become a member
until at least 2012 when President Halonen has left
office, if at all. However, the US has no better
friend outside the NATO Alliance, and the US-Finnish
military-to-military relationship is arguably the
single strongest bond we have in an already strong
bilateral relationship. Despite its small size and
nonaligned stance, the GoF is very proud of the
fact that NATO -- rightly -- views Finland as a
"security provider" and a valued partner. More
importantly, Finns from across the political
spectrum and throughout the general public remain
extremely proud of their troops who are under NATO
command in Kosovo and Afghanistan. I have worked very
hard for the past two years to raise awareness of just
how important Finland's continued commitment to those two
operations is -- not just in terms of securing peace and
security for the Afghan and Kosovar people, but also in
terms of defeating terrorism and protecting vital
security interests in Finland, in Europe and in the US.

3. (SBU) Our diplomacy on this front has been focused and
results-oriented, but also creative and "track two." For
example, I am very proud of the traditional diplomacy we
engaged in with senior Finnish officials that resulted in
their offering their first OMLT for Afghanistan and their
decision to become the second leading contributor to the
EU Police Training mission there. I am also very pleased
with US efforts across the board to support former Finnish
President Martti Ahtisaari's role as the UNSG's Special
Envoy to Kosovo and to encourage Finland to continue its
leadership role as a "framework nation" in KFOR. At the
same time, I am just as proud of the delegation of
Finnish women leaders I led on a USNATO Tour to Kosovo in
Spring 2007. The public diplomacy these women themselves
have subsequently engaged in on behalf of NATO's KFOR
Mission has kept Finnish contributions strong, and public
support for them equally robust.

ENLISTING FINLAND TO BUILD SECURITY
-----------------------------------
4. (C) Over the short- to medium-term, the US will have
many opportunities to enlist even greater Finnish support
for our transformational security priorities. Our national
interests and foreign policy agendas overlap in many
areas, but I believe our most important targets of
opportunity remain the Balkans, Afghanistan and NATO
cooperation. I have advanced these key issues into
striking range, but it will fall to my successor to push
the ball over the goal line.


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5. (SBU) THE BALKANS: Kosovo will remain Finland's highest
foreign policy priority, at least until the security
situation in the newly independent nation stabilizes and
development initiatives and foreign investment begin to
bear fruit. While some of our allies may be quick to
declare success and turn their attention to crises
elsewhere, we can count on Finland to retain its commitment
to Kosovo over the long haul. Admittedly, this may hamper
the GoF's ability to ramp up its military contributions in
other areas, but Finland's long-standing relationship with
Kosovo, its deep knowledge of the region, and key figures
such as Ahtisaari who give Finland so much credibility will
make that commitment something that continues to serve US
interests. Having recognized Kosovo early, Finland will
serve as a creative and pro-active member of the
International Steering Group (ISG). Of equal importance,
the GoF will use those tools to serve as a cabable and
honest broker as the EU, NATO and the rest of the
international community begin the painful process of once
again seeking to bring Serbia back from the brink and
toward trans-Atlantic
institutions.

6. (C) AFGHANISTAN: We have made great progress in our
efforts to convince the GoF to do more in Afghanistan,
especially in the area of humanitarian/development aid
and training. We also have moved Finnish decision-makers
a bit closer to taking PRT leadership at Mazar-al-Sharif.
However, looking forward, what we now need is a
significant increase in Finnish boots on the ground.
There is little hope of convincing the GoF to send
warfighters into the troubled regions of the south and
east, but I do not believe this is Finland's greatest
area of "value added." What we need to focus on is
achieving a significant increase in the number of Finnish
peacekeepers in the North, where they already have wealth
of experience and a track record of nation building
success. If the Finns take more of the burden in the
North, this could free up others currently operating
there who may be better prepared for actual combat. I
have focused my efforts over the past two years on
building political will behind a proposal to increase
Finland's contributions to NATO/ISAF from 100 to at least
250. Such an increase will not occur in 2008, mainly
because Kosovo (where Finland has 450 troops under NATO
command) quite rightly remains the national peacekeeping
priority. However, over the 2009-2011 timeframe, as
Finland eventually draws down in Kosovo, Bosnia and
elsewhere, I believe conditions will ripen for the GoF
to make significant additions to its already-respectable
100-troop contribution in northern Afghanistan.

7. (C) THE NATO RESPONSE FORCE: We have gotten the GoF
to the point where we are confident it will be among the
first non-NATO allies to formally signal its intention to
participate in the NRF. However, the road from this much-
welcomed political statement of intention to actually
bringing Finnish troops into an NRF rotation will be a
long one. Those who follow me will need to build support
in Parliament and the general public for Finland's NRF
participation and help policymakers determine where
Finland can offer the most 'value added' to the NRF.
Perhaps ironically, some of the staunchest opponents to
Finland's NRF participation are actually the greatest
proponents of sending Finnish peacekeepers abroad -- they
simply argue that Finland should not devote resources to
having troops merely "at the ready" instead of actually
on the ground in hotspots like Afghanistan, Chad or
Kosovo. I have moved Finland to the point of reaching
out to the NRF; it will fall to my successors to turn
this show of political will into actual contributions.

FREEDOM AGENDA: NEW TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY
------------------------------------------
8. (C) The USG and the GoF share the view that support
for democracy, civil society and human rights in Russia
and in Europe's new neighborhood is essential. Finland
already complements US Freedom Agenda goals by providing
support to NGOs and educational and cultural exchanges.
GoF leaders have hosted high-level meetings with
Belarusian opposition leaders, with Serb moderates, and
with pro-democracy forces in Ukraine and the Caucuses.
More importantly, the GOF recognizes the need
to speak out on heavy-handed Russian trade practices, and
senior Finnish officials have even begun mentioning the
security challenge that resurgent Russia poses. We also

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see future possibilities, perhaps even in the Middle East
or Iraq, although these are not areas of great Finnish
expertise and they will require steady reassurances and
guidance from us should they look to do more there.

9. (C) RUSSIA AND THE CAUCUSES: The Finns have a unique
perspective that comes from having managed their
difficult and at times dangerous neighbor with tremendous
success since the end of WWII. That said, the Finnish
default position will be one in which it actively seeks
not to provoke the Russian bear. President Halonen, PM
Vanhanen and FM Kanerva all offered no criticism of
Russia's flawed Presidential election in March and
hastily congratulated Medvedev. Halonen, in particular,
can be expected to cultivate an especially close
relationship with the new Russian boss, just as she did
with Putin. Together, they will continue to address --
and resolve -- surprisingly parochial issues that
experience has taught Halonen will not be resolved
appropriately at the Russian bureaucratic level.
Generally speaking, senior Finnish officials accept
the prevailing view that more can be accomplished
through a close relationship with Russia than through
confrontation, and we should not expect this to change
any time soon. Instead, rather than discourage how the
Finns manage the Russian Bear, the US should continue
to try to use the relationship to advance our interests.
I have not sought to convince senior Finns to stand up
and shout at or criticize Russia publicly; rather, I
have quietly tried to build their confidence to speak
out when it is in their interest to do so. Part of the
challenge has been finding the right tenor and tone.
They showed during the Estonian Bronze Statue Crisis
that they will speak out against bellicose Russian
threats or actions, and I am increasingly confident
that in the future they will do so more in cases when
not just Finnish but also EU interests are at stake.
It will be a long process, but undoubtedly the right
Finnish instincts are there, albeit via a low key
mechanism.

10. (C) My successors will be able to continue nudging
Finnish leaders in the right direction by expressing
appreciation for what Finland (and certain prominent
Finns like Ahtisaari and EU Commissioner Olli Rehn) have
done in relation to Russia; by encouraging greater
US-EU and US-Finland coordination in dealing with Russia;
by encouraging Finns to play an even more active role in
showing public support for pro-democracy leaders; and by
urging high-level Finnish visits to countries where they
can reach out to democratic forces -- with Belarus,
Ukraine and the Balkans being perhaps the best fits in
this regard.

11. (C) IRAQ: Government officials, opinion leaders and
public opinion remain critical of the US-led invasion of
Iraq. That said, we have recently begun to see the
subtle emergence of a sense -- especially within the GoF
-- that despite lingering differences of opinion, the
entire international community bears responsibility for
helping Iraqis secure peace and rebuild the country.
Finland began to act on this positive sentiment in 2005,
when it provided some limited humanitarian funding to
Iraqis (via the UN and the EU) and sent 12 police trainers
to Jordan (under a State Department-funded law enforcement
training project that ended in 2007). Since then, the GoF
has identified no new Iraq initiatives, but I see
opportunities in the areas of rule of law, reconstruction
and human rights -- all areas where the GoF could make a
difference despite its lack of regional expertise.

12. (C) The Finns' attitude toward a possible role in Iraq
took a big step forward when I arranged the visit of
General (ret) Jack Keane, one of the primary architects
of the "Surge Strategy." Keane's presentations had
enormous impact on decision-makers in the MOD and MFA,
as well as among the public audiences he addressed.
I believe Jack's messages helped reinforce to the Finns
that we all bear responsibility for helping the Iraqi
people secure their country and move forward; he also
showed them the US is not above admitting mistakes,
adjusting its strategies, and turning to its allies and
friends for help. Actual Finnish boots on the ground
alongside Coalition Forces will remain a political
non-starter here. However, I think we have planted some
small seeds that could, with further tending, lead Finland

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toward a small but positive role in Iraqi reconstruction.

COMMON GROUND: FINLAND'S CLIMATE AND ENERGY SUCCESS STORY
--------------------------------------------- ------------
13. (SBU) Because of its geography, climate, and
natural-resource base, Finland has a long-standing
interest in climate change and energy issues. I have used
this interest to enlist Finland as a partner in moving
the US-EU climate change dialogue away from an
outdated debate on Kyoto to meaningful progress in
curbing emissions worldwide. I worked behind the scenes
during Finland's EU Presidency in the second half of 2006
to successfully get the Finns to assert themselves with
the EU Commission to launch the inaugural High Level
Dialogue (HLD) on Climate Change, Clean Energy and
Sustainable Development. Two years later, the U.S. and
EU are participating in the Major Economies Process and
in the UN Framework Convention negotiations, but I am
proud of the fact that the HLD in Helsinki marked the
first step in our post-Kyoto relationship with the EU and
succeeded in recasting discussions in a way that
maximized the synergies between the promotion of energy
security, sustainable energy supply, innovation and
reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. We have
subsequently built on this progress by facilitating
research collaboration to develop renewable fuels and
promoting contacts between venture capitalists and the
developers of new energy technology. We also continue to
encourage Finland to be a useful partner within the EU
context. This issue is here to stay, and I encourage my
successor to continue to devote time and energy to
nurturing the dialogue.

BUILDING ON AMCHAM AND OTHER BUSINESS SUCCESSES
--------------------------------------------- --
14. (SBU) Whether as a ripe market for U.S. products or a
candidate to provide the kind of foreign direct
investment that creates American jobs, Finland is a key
partner for the U.S. During my tenure, we have seen
impressive results as more and more American companies
realize that Finland is one of the world's safest and
least corrupt countries and provides an ideal gateway to
Russia. I have highlighted this fact publicly numerous
times, including on a successful trade mission across the
U.S. in 2006, but also in many speeches throughout
Finland. We have made measurable progress. The American
Chamber of Commerce has doubled its membership since I
arrived and is held up as a model for new AmCham chapters
in the region. We have realized nearly 150 export
successes during my tenure and have expanded our reach
beyond Helsinki to establish key contacts in Finnish
cities such as Oulu, which have proven of interest to
Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Income for American
affiliates operating in Finland broke all records last
year. Finland stands at the center of the fastest
growing region in Europe and my successor will have many
opportunities to build on this success, but will also
need to vigorously defend the importance of maintaining a
Commercial attache in Helsinki as the Department of
Commerce considers consolidating its operations and
moving personnel elsewhere.

Building and Sustaining Public Diplomacy Momentum
--------------------------------------------- ----
15. (U) The Embassy has engaged in truly creative public
diplomacy initiatives during my time here. We sought to
design programs that not only reached the widest range of
Finnish audiences, but also utilized the diverse areas
of expertise, backgrounds and interests of our own
Embassy staff. We made good use of many of the
traditional public diplomacy tools, including the IIP
Speaker program, op-ed placements, television
appearances, and lectures to students, business persons
and many Finnish organizations. At the same time, I
sought out unique and "less traditional" avenues for
giving Finns a broader exposure and better understanding
of America, its policies and its people. I brought Labor
Secretary Elaine Chao to Finland; she was the first

SIPDIS
Cabinet-level visitor in 10 years. I also arranged a
meeting between PM Vanhanen and VP Cheney which received
significant press coverage.

Finland and Pennsylvania: A Historical Link
-------------------------------------------
16. (U) Examples of our PD success stories are many.
They began with my effort to draw a key historical link

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between Finland and my home state of Pennsylvania. I did
this by "bringing back" to Finland the story of John
Morton, a fourth-generation Finnish-American who joined
Benjamin Franklin as part of the Pennsylvania Delegation
and as a signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
Morton, in fact, cast the deciding vote in favor of
American independence. I took his story to the far
corners of Finland, including to the town in the western
part of the country from which his ancestors began their
journey to the US. Everywhere, Finns reacted with
enthusiasm and pride when they learned of this direct
link between their nation and a defining moment in US
history. And Morton's story linking the US to Finland
will live on here. Yet to come are seminars on both sides
of the Atlantic -- one in Philadelphia and a subsequent
one in Finland -- that will assemble scholars and
researchers who will deliver papers and ultimately
produce a book in both Finnish and English telling
Morton's story. I have enlisted enthusiastic, high-
level Finnish and American support for this project
that links the history of both our great nations.

17. (U) Beyond the John Morton initiative, PD programs
and grants have supported American studies and the
discussion of the trans-Atlantic relationship. We have
given grants to fund American studies seminars,
performances by American musicians, and projects with the
League of Finnish-American Societies such as Welcome to
America (a guidebook to the US in Finnish) and a fold-out
brochure in Finnish that gives a timeline of U.S. history
for high school students. We provided support for a
major Pixar exhibition at the Helsinki City Art Museum,
which garnered considerable press coverage and general
interest in American innovation and artistic excellence.
Our officers have gone out to talk to schools, university
and community organizations about the U.S. presidential
elections and other aspects of America, such as our
national parks. Indeed, as the word gets out that we are
willing to come talk, the invitations to meet and give a
speech have been increasing. My own speeches on
Afghanistan, Kosovo and other topics have highlighted the
need for a strong transatlantic relationship for
addressing certain international problems together.

Public Support for Finland's Role in Afghanistan
--------------------------------------------- ---
18. (U) We have had other PD successes as well.
Through the great support of our Speakers Bureau in
Washington and my own contacts, we have brought to
Finland a range of Iraq, Afghanistan and Middle East
experts to discuss the challenges of those regions, US
policies there, and how Finland and the US could better
cooperate. These included strategic thinkers and policy
masterminds such as General Jack Keane, the architect of
the successful Iraq "Surge" policy, and Professor John
Alterman, a Middle East expert from CSIS. But they have
also included other important voices, such as the
American women entrepreneurs of Arzu, who gave up lives
on Wall Street to help Afghan women start their own
businesses, market their products at fair value, and
create opportunities for their families. We hosted Connie
Duckworth, a former Goldman Sachs executive and the
founder of Arzu. Arzu has dedicated itself to providing
economic self-reliance, education and health care
to Afghan women through this sustainable carpet-making
cottage industry. Afghan carpets woven by Arzu's weavers
adorn walls in the offices of President Tarja Halonen and
First Lady Laura Bush -- a touching symbol of the
commitment Finns and Americans share in helping Afghan
women rebuild their country.)

Seven City Outreach Program
---------------------------
19. (U) A final, sustainable PD success I would like to
highlight is an initiative we call our Seven Cities
Outreach. Under this program, my team and I selected
(originally) five key Finnish cities outside the Helsinki
metro area and paired one willing officer with each. I
charged the officers to establish personal relationships
with mayors, universities, journalists, civic groups,
cultural leaders, chambers of commerce, local high schools,
and other "locals" who had a key role in these cities. I
joined the officers in traveling to their cities -- to
introduce myself and the Embassy but also to formally
introduce them to the officer who would be their Embassy
point of contact. Our goal was two-fold: first, we sought

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the "outside the capital" perspectives of Finns from
throughout this great country; and second, we sought
proactively to create the PD opportunities that would allow
us to provide a discussion of US policies and offer
consistent American presence in each city. Our officers
have become experts on their cities and know exactly which
audiences to tap when I or a Washington visitor agrees to
"go upcountry," and I myself traveled to an additional ten
cities. Our results surprised even us: The program has
expanded to seven cities; our quarterly visits are welcomed
and anticipated by the broad base of new contacts we've
built; and the PD targets of opportunity we've addressed
with journalists, students and Finns from all walks of
life span the length and breadth of US foreign policy
objectives. Indeed, at least three different Finnish
Ministers of Government have told me frankly that of all
the initiatives the Embassy has undertaken over the past
two years, this is the very best. My successors will no
doubt chart their own courses in terms of PD priorities,
and the range of effective means for engaging the Finnish
public is limited only by one's own creativity and
imagination. But if any initiative has the potential to
expand and take on even greater life under new
leadership, it is the Seven City Outreach, and I would
urge those who follow me to help it grow and blossom in
new directions.
HYATT

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