Matti Vanhanen: Don’t worry so much!

[WED JAN 11 2017, B12-B13; ’Matti Vanhanen: Jäitä huolihattuun!’ Minna Akimo]


Almost half of Finns are afraid of Trump’s presidency. Photo: Mark Lyons / EPA






Donald Trump’s rise to power frightens Finnish people.

Matti Vanhanen says the fear is somewhat justified.







According to experts, Finnish people’s fear of Donald Trump’s coming to power as the President of the United States is understandable.

– There is actual reason for worry, says Mika Aaltola, project manager of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

Aaltola says the problems of the important western countries can have unexpectedly ill effects on the rest of the world.

– There is an old proverb that applies: Someone sneezes in Washington, all of Europe gets the flu. I can see why people are worried about the election results. They have reason to, he says.


Aaltola asserts conflicts occurring very close to Europe incite more anxiety. And the consistency associated with Washington is starting to crack.

– Conflicts happen anyway, but the EU is weaker than it used to be. The increase in anxiety makes sense, and people have more reason to worry about the future now than they did ten years ago.

Aaltola does, however, point out that Finland has reacted fearfully to US elections many times before.

– Jimmy Carter’s loss to Ronald Reagan was absolutely terrifying, and Bill Clinton’s win over George Bush Sr. was also deemed problematic, Aaltola compares.


According to a questionnaire conducted by the joint national newsroom Lännen Media, almost half of Finnish people are afraid of Trump’s inauguration. Reasons include increased jeopardy to world peace and to global economy.

Climate change and enivronmental matters also incite fears toward the future president. Problems with climate and environment are global, and require international co-operation.

– Climate change, cyber security, and environmental issues are global matters, not only those of the US and Russia. If the US doesn’t comply with environmental protection agreements, everything becomes uncertain, says Benita Heiskanen of the John Morton Center of the University of Turku.


According to chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Matti Vanhanen, the fear of superpower politics, that Finnish people feel, is justified. Trump has stated that the US is going to work closer with Russia and the country’s president, Vladimir Putin.

Worst case scenario, it may come to two superpowers deciding things for and over smaller countries.

– I think the fear is justified. A return to a world of great powers, where organizations like the UN and the EU have no say. For smaller countries, this would be unsettling, Vanhanen says.

Although Vanhanen understands the fear and worry, he urges Finns to simmer down, for Trump isn’t even in office yet.

– Best case scenario, the tension between Russia and the West warms up gradually, so that we can better make sure that Russia complies with statutory co-operation. It needs to be the common goal.


Lännen Media conducted research on fear of Trump

* The survey prepared by market research company Taloustutkimus was carried out on the first week of the year.

* 1078 were interviewed.

* Finnish people were the most worried about what happens to world peace with Trump in office.

* Differences between men and women were clear. 60% of women said they were very or extremely worried.

* 34% of men felt the same.

* Voters of the Finns Party and of the Christian Democrats are the least worried about Trump.

* Voters of the Greens and of the Swedish People’s Party were the most worried.

* Over half of the people surveyed also said they despised Trump’s personality and appearance.

* Over half of the people surveyed felt disturbed by Trump’s comments on immigration and opinions on women.


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