Finland joined the Antipersonnel (AP) Landmine Ban Treaty despite an overwhelming belief that their national defence doctrine depended upon the deployment of landmines, and the refusal of their neighbour Russia to participate. This decision appears to go against the core responsibility of government – to do all in its power to defend the territorial integrity of the state. But in fact, it reveals a more holistic sense of security, in which vital interests are seen as wrapped up in the wider interests of a strong and cohesive international community. This example has important parallels in the security and defence policies of other states. The belief that national security justifies the deployment of any weapon system that may harm international cohesion or threaten international security is not universally shared. National security is more than the capability to defend the realm.
The debate is analysed in BASIC’s latest report by Ville Majamaa – A Small Sacrifice for Security: Why Finland gave up its landmines.