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The Finlandization of Asia

Most Asian countries have refrained from vocal or vociferous condemnations of Russia’s war on Ukraine. This makes a united front between the US, South Korea, and Japan all the more important to regional security.

TOKYO – “Finlandization” describes the commitment to strategic neutrality that a small country might make, in order to avoid provoking a much larger and more powerful neighbor. The term is derived from Finland’s longstanding policy of strict military non-alignment with either the Soviet Union or the West – a policy that it maintained vis-à-vis Russia after the end of the Cold War but that its recent application for NATO membership has upended. But even as Finland abandons Finlandization, many Asian countries may well be set to adopt it.