Sep 30, 2008

You can't make this stuff up.

More good news!

Revealed: Radical cleric Bakri's pole-dancer daughter

(via Vera Izrailit)

As the daughter of firebrand cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, Yasmin Fostok might be expected to share his fanatical beliefs.

But the radical Muslim's daughter has ditched his extreme interpretation of Islam - as well as most of her clothing.

The busty blonde has been revealed as a topless, tattooed pole dancer.


Unbelievably brilliant. In the article, her dad the looney cleric gloats about how Islam has "won". No, I don't see it. I think we did.

Sep 29, 2008

Good news!

To start with an aside, the Finnish police have admitted to censoring the World Wide Web Consortium in Hesari.

But for a change, here's some properly good news:

HS: Miljoona suomalaista kirkon ulkopuolella

Evankelisluterilaiseen kirkkoon kuulumattomien suomalaisten määrä ylitti syyskuussa miljoonan rajan, Tampereen vapaa-ajattelijat ry laskee. Heistä 120 000 on käyttänyt eroakirkosta.fi -palvelua, kertoo palvelua ylläpitävä Tampereen vapaa-ajattelijat ry. Se on uskonnottomien yhdistys, jonka tavoitteena on mm. kaikkien uskontojen ja vakaumusten saattaminen tasa-arvoisiksi sekä uskonnottomien etujen valvonta.

Miljoonasta noin 830 000 henkilöä ei kuulu mihinkään uskontokuntaan.


That's right; 830,000 people in Finland don't belong to any religious denomination. That is some of the best damn news I've heard in my lifetime.

Oh, and sure, we may live in a secular society, but here's a wonderful tidbit:

Uskontokuntiin kuulumattomien osuus on noussut erityisesti vuonna 2003 säädetyn uskonnonvapauslain jälkeen. Valtaosa kirkosta eroavista ei liity mihinkään uskontokuntaan.


My boldface. Indeed, we passed a law on religious freedom that made leaving the church easy in 2003.

If Finland did what is really ethically right, it would treat all religious groups as common-law organizations. Then it would be illegal for anyone to make their children members. Incidentally, that would destroy Western Christianity.

And good riddance to it.

Sep 27, 2008

Let's censor again!

According to the Finnish Pirate Party's blog, today the Finnish police have blocked acess to the World Wide Web Consortium's website under the Prevention of Child Pornography law.

From Wikipedia:

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web (abbreviated WWW or W3). It is arranged as a consortium where member organizations maintain full-time staff for the purpose of working together in the development of standards for the World Wide Web. As of February 2008, the W3C had 434 members.

W3C also engages in education and outreach, develops software and serves as an open forum for discussion about the Web. It was founded and is headed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Their website was censored earlier today, but now it seems to be accesible.

Of course, we don't know it was censored, because the censorship list is secret, and the police won't answer questions about it. But earlier today, several people tried to access the site and got the Finnish police's anti-child porn block message.

What's there to say? The Finnish police are both ridiculously inept and very, very frightening.

My concise post on Finnish internet censorship is Finland and the Freedom of Expression: part II.

Sep 26, 2008

On killing

Over the last few days, it's been tough to get the Kauhajoki shooting out of my mind. I tried to get some of my thoughts in order today, so here goes.

I'm very surprised that this spate of school shootings and seemingly random killings in Finland is making me reconsider my opinion on violent video games and movies. I say this with two very important caveats:

- I'm a libertarian. I don't support banning anything.
- I don't, for one moment, believe that a video game or a movie, any more than a book, website, traffic sign or cherry tree can somehow make an otherwise normal person start flipping out and killing people.

Having said that, I think it's important that we think about the Kauhajoki killings in context. Exactly like after Jokela, I'm seeing newspaper articles and columns, public statements, blog posts and Facebook status updates in which people moralize about killing. That's why it seems worthwhile to ask the question: what kind of attitudes can we expect people who grow up in our society to have about killing? How do we, as a culture, think about the ethics of killing?

I want to start off by looking at three news items from this past week. For the sake of convenience, they're from Helsingin Sanomat, Finland's biggest daily paper.

The first news item was Jukka Tarkka's review of a doctoral thesis on how the Finnish secret police deported people to Nazi concentration camps in the Second World War. Of course, this isn't really news to most historians. What is news is that there's evidence the Finnish secret police knew exactly how the Gestapo ran things in Germany.

This is unlikely to raise many eyebrows, however. In Finland the entire population is educated to believe that Finland's part in the Second World War was only the glorious and heroic defense of our independence from the evil Bolsheviks, and there can be nothing ethically reproachable about it. Historically Finland can do no wrong. This logic stretches as far as it needs to. Because the Finnish defense of its independence in the "Winter War" was heroic, it follows that Finland's invasion of the Soviet Union is 1941 was also heroic and morally unimpeachable. Similarly, occupying Soviet territory and shutting Russians into concentration camps to starve or be deported to Germany must also be heroic and correct, because to question one aspect of the war is to imply that the war in general might have had questionable moral aspects. This is unacceptable, therefore deporting people to the Gestapo must be morally correct.

As it happens, I've already heard the doctoral thesis lambasted as some stupid girl who doesn't understand anything about history, trying to tarnish Finland's glorious image with her horrible stories of how we were supposedly friends with the Nazis. I have no doubt someone will be inspired to mount a defense of Finnish heroism in the Second World War because of this despicable attack on our nation's moral integrity.

When Finnish people have killed in uniform, we consider it glorious, heroic and worthy of emulation. Some years ago, RAY (the Finnish state gambling organization) ran a series of ads showing public figures from the 2000's in 1940s army uniform, asking: Could we do what they did? Obviously, they were implying that we should ask whether we would be capable of heroically defending our country. At the same time, in practice, they're asking: could we kill people like they did? And this is presented as a good thing, something to strive for. Both the Jokela and Kauhajoki shooters must have seen those ads.

It's a well-known thing in the Finnish Internet world that no-one in their right mind should ever read the reader comments appended to Helsingin Sanomat articles online. There's an article on the Kauhajoki shooter washing out from his military training, Matti Saari ei pärjännyt armeijassa. The discussion, as can be expected, drifted toward military service in Finland. Here are some choice comments:

adam | 24.9.2008 14:29
Ei, ei armeijassa opeteta tappamista, vaan hengissä selviämistä.

Henkka | 25.9.2008 12:18
Armeijassa ei opeteta tappamaan vaan puolustaman itseään ja maatamme! En kokenut kertaakaan, että olisin tappanut ketään ampumalla tauluun...

Realisti | 25.9.2008 12:28
Tarvitsee muistaa, että armeijassa ei opeta tappamaan ihmistä vaan vihollista. Siinä on iso ero. Näin minulle opetettiin armeijassa.

Quite simple! In the army, you're not taught to kill, you're taught to defend yourself. You do this by killing. The first poster would have it that killing is, in fact, not killing but surviving. The last commentator says that you're not killing people, you're killing the enemy. How wonderful! If the aliens invade Earth, apparently the Finnish army is prepared. Or maybe they mean that whoever counts as an "enemy" doesn't count as a person. By that logic, the Jokela and Kauhajoki shooters didn't kill any people either. I'm sure that given their avowed misanthropy, they considered their victims their enemies.

To sum up, killing is considered a heroic, glorious thing. The killers are exalted and their victims are dehumanized into a faceless, non-human "enemy". Does that sound familiar? It's exactly the ideology that both the Jokela and Kauhajoki shooters professed, and one that resonates with almost every school shooting in the world. We condemn this ideology and call it murder in connection with school shootings, but we exalt and teach it and call it virtuous when the killers wear a uniform. Clearly in this sense our culture does not condemn killing. Instead it teaches an ambivalent attitude to killing, where the ethics are relative.


Another newspaper item from this week: HS: Teemu Mäki professoriksi Taideteolliseen korkeakouluun. In other words, Finnish "artist" Teemu Mäki has been appointed to a professorship at the Helsinki University of Industrial Art and Design, or whatever TaiK is called these days.

This is the guy whose claim to fame is that he made a video in which he kills a cat and masturbates on its decapitated body. I can't make this stuff up. Apparently, according to Mäki, he adopted a cat from the Helsinki animal shelter, but then decided he doesn't want a pet after all, and killed the cat with an axe. He videotaped the killing, and when he was done, he masturbated onto the dead cat. And now he's being made a professor at Finland's state-run university of art.

As an aside, in 2004 Finnish historian and Green party parliamentary candidate Jukka Relander defended him in Metro. If there was ever any doubt Relander is an idiot, let there now be none.

But where's our principled moral stand on killing? Where's the outrage? Indeed, the Helsingin Sanomat news item on the topic doesn't even mention the infamous video, which did cause a big outcry at the time. But now we've apparently just forgotten. Hesari's "NYT-liite" interviewed him briefly this week, and that interview is the newspaper item in question. NYT mentioned he's the guy who killed the cat, but basically just asked him some normal questions. In an aside, he flippantly remarked he doesn't really care about animal rights. I'm sure he doesn't.

His appointment has excited practically no comment. A moral stand on killing? I don't see one. In Mäki's case, and incidentally Relander's defense of it, killing is an ethically neutral thing. The same attitude is widespread in Finland on the topic of animal rights; the "fox girl" (kettutyttö) argument that killing animals in a painful way, practically torturing them, is wrong, is simply dismissed. The viability of the fur trade is judged by economic criteria. Killing is simply accepted.


At this point I'd like to digress briefly on the topic of violent movies and computer games. As I've said, I don't believe they cause or in any way contribute to violent crime. What they do, in my opinion what they must, contribute to is the cultural values we attach to violence. In one part of our culture, killing in condemned and wrong. In another, it's glorious and heroic. In yet a third, it's ethically neutral. In the world of movies and video games, violence is interesting, arousing and "cool". That may not make anyone go out and kill people, but it does contribute to the general ambivalence and even acceptance of violence. That's worth thinking about.


The third news item of the week is, of course, the Kauhajoki shooting itself. Here, we have a principled stand on killing. It's wrong and horrible that Matti Saari killed all those people. I don't disagree at all. It's just that over the course of this week simply following Helsingin Sanomat is enough to see that our attitude to killing is not very principled. In some cases we condemn it, in others we exalt it. Is it any wonder that some people can take our moral codes, apply them differently, and come to the conclusion that it is morally acceptable, if not even virtuous, for them to go to school and start killing people?

In fact, I claim I know where these school shooters get their ideology from, lock, stock and barrel: nationalism. Their "misanthropy" is in fact nothing more than a sort of individual nationalism; they consider themselves a nation of one. We teach their ideology in our schools and our compulsory military service. Killing is either acceptable or not, depending on who you're killing and on whose orders. If you're killing the enemy, it's not murdering people, it's defending yourself against the enemy; depending on how you define who you're killing, it's either heroic or criminal.

The school shooters share our code of ethics. They use the same morality as our culture at large to justify what they do. I think there's something wrong with those ethics.

Sep 24, 2008

Kauhajoki: why?

Only a brief thought on the school shooting. At the moment, media publicity in Finland is concentrating on gun legistlation, why the police didn't confiscate the shooter's gun the day before the shooting, and whose fault this all is.

I'll tell you whose fault Jokela and Kauhajoki are. Ours. Our society produces young people who are desperately unhappy, and are completely alienated from society. They become so alienated, through being so hurt, that they no longer see anything worth living for and actually start to hate their fellow people.

I mentioned Olavi Sydänmaanlakka in an earlier post. Here's what he had to say:

Nuorisopalveluiden johtaja Olavi Sydänmaanlakka HelsinkiMissiosta sanoo, ettei hän valitettavasti yllättynyt Kauhajoen ammuskelusta. Hän työskentelee väkivaltaisten nuorten kanssa.

- Niitä tarinoita kuullessani se maailma tulee tutuksi. Työssäni kysyn usein, miten näin pääsee tapahtumaan, että ihmiset jäävät yksin elämänsä kanssa.

Sydänmaanlakka kertoo MTV:n Huomenta Suomessa, että juuri kukaan ei halua istua hänen asiakkaidensa kanssa. Heitä ei haluta tapaamisiin.

- Me väistelemme pelottavaa asiaa, joka kansakunnassamme asuu.


Along similar lines:

MTV3: Väkivaltatutkija: Kopioijia tulee varmasti

Viime kuukausina nuorten miesten tekemät vakavat väkivallanteot ovat nousseet suurin kirjaimin otsikoihin. Lehden mukaan yhteiskunnassa tulisi laajemminkin nyt pohtia sitä, mitä tällaisten tapahtumien taustalla on.

- Pitäisi selvittää ja pohtia, miksi tällaisen arvomaailman omaavia ihmisiä syntyy. Tehdäänkö koulussa tai yhteiskunnassa jotakin väärin? hän kysyy.


Damn straight we're doing things wrong. Like Sydänmaanlakka, I can't say I'm surprised by the Kauhajoki shootings. We're doing exactly what we did after Jokela: being angry, looking for people to blame, moralizing. We're looking for solutions in physical security, gun control or thorwing more money at things. In so doing, we're completely ignoring the cause of these tragedies. What makes a young Finnish man, either 18 or 22, hate his fellow man so much he commits suicide and takes ten people with him?

There's something deeply wrong with our society on a large scale. Mental health problems among children and young people are rampant, and it's now gotten so bad we have school shootings. We need to find out what makes these people so unhappy, so alienated, so brutalized and dehumanized that they start killing people. Until we do, and address that problem, we'll have more atrocities like this. I said it after Jokela, and I'll say it again now.

I know for a fact we won't do this. Instead, we'll blame the police for not acting, blame the kid's parents, write him off as a single lunatic, and go on with our lives. And all the while more children are being brutalized and alienated. It's at times like this that I really despair of our society, because I know we won't fix this problem.

The death count is now 21; nine from Jokela, one from Savio and 11 from Kauhajoki. How many more people need to die before we fix the problem?

Sep 23, 2008

Kauhajoki

Nine people were killed today in a school shooting at Kauhajoki (hs.fi).

The shooting is almost identical to last year's Jokela school shooting, in which nine people also died. Additionally, this summer a mentally disturbed young man stabbed a random person in Savio.

I'll make a proper blog post on this as soon as I've gathered my thoughts. For now, I have to say that after Savio, I made a point of wondering how many people will have to die before we, as a society, address the real issue behind these events. Namely, what makes young people living in our society feel so alienated, dehumanized and brutalized that they decide to start killing their fellow men? It is a point of psychological fact that people, in general, are not wired to kill other people. It takes a lot of effort to overcome that wiring, and it's not a simple thing to do. For these people to do what they've done speaks to a very deep problem.

After Jokela and Savio, we've done nothing. After Kauhajoki, the body count is 19. How many more have to die before we do something?

Sep 16, 2008

The Times on Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin, the pastor and the prophecy: judgment day is not far away

The one that got my attention was Sarah Palin: feminist triumph? Spoiler alert: the answer is yes. And I agree.

Also, if you check out this Times page, you'll learn the photo of Sarah Palin in a bikini toting a gun is a fake. Personally, I thought that was obvious: she has much better legs than that.

Sep 15, 2008

First Napster, then blogs

Say what you want about Metallica's new album, Death Magnetic. All I know is it has the most ridiculous album title I remember this side of the millenium, and I've heard two songs off it. They both sucked big time. Basically that means I'm not really interested.

One thing about Metallica hasn't changed, though: when it comes to the Internet, they're still dicks. (via somethingawful.com)

I'm actually starting to positively dislike Metallica now.

Sep 5, 2008

Referencing

A couple of things off my mind before I head out to Kotka:

*Tarja Cronberg, chief wallah of the Finnish Green party, said some stupid crap in Pravda, which I don't need to comment on because Vera Izrailit already did.

*an organization to advance free speech is being founded in Finland; I don't need to comment on it because Lasse Pitkäniemi already did.

*I'd like to say something about the background leading up to the Russian attack on Georgia, just to dispel any notions that it somehow isn't classic Russian imperialism; I don't need to, because vapaasana.net already did.

The Internet is labor-saving!

Soccer

There's a YouTube video titled "If you watch this 100 times you will still laugh".

Dude, you will.

Sep 3, 2008

A generation gap

I've been watching Finnish Big Brother again, as I have done every time they had it. The first season was interesting, the second season was so boring I stopped watching, and the previous one was also somewhat interesting.

SubTV showed several seasons of Big Brother UK years ago, before Finland had its own Big Brother, and that got me hooked to the format. The older UK seasons were interesting; they'd actually got some characters to live in the house and it was interesting watching them interact, form a social network and tackle the challenges.

I'm sad that the organizers of Finnish BB are apparently convinced that the way to get interesting stuff to happen is to get people drunk, and as a consequence everyone on Finnish BB gets wasted every weekend. The last few seasons the entire series has revolved around four days of waiting, one day of partying, one day of hangover and eviction day. I'm sorry, but that's boring.

I watch the show for a few simple reasons. It's interesting to see the contestants enter the house, because as you're introduced to them, I make a snap judgement on all of them. I try to determine, during their introduction, what kind of a person this particular contestant is and whether they're going to be succesful. I then watch the show to test my judgements. It's an interesting experiment to run on your social observation skills.

Other than that, I'm generally interested in the show as a social psych experiment. Putting a dozen (give or take a few) people in an isolated place, on a competitive reality show, is interesting to observe. Everyone, as they go in, chooses some kind of personality that they want to project and some kind of strategy for winning. They create a public persona that they use to interact with others.

**

I seem to recall it was Sandy Stone, whose lecture I was priviledged to see a few years back, who said that we're becoming very good at "avataring" ourselves. I believe we are, too, as so many people of my generation already have several different identities we use. I have one identity that writes this blog: a fairly strictly defined "public persona". Another identity of me is a Wikipedia editor, and I prefer to keep that public persona anonymous and unconnected to anything else I do. Yet another public identity publishes articles in magazines; a fourth one is on Facebook.

In addition to these faces, I have still another when I study, and yet another when I work. Most of us also unconsciously, or perhaps consciously, adopt different identities when interacting with different people. That's a lot of avatars to keep track of!

I find this whole process immensely interesting, and I believe Big Brother is one arena where it can be viewed in action. Also, it's fascinating to see how the competitors face up to stress and frustration. I won't mince words: from my perspective, practically all of the Finnish BB contestants have been spoiled little children who throw tantrums every time things don't go their way. The sight of (nominally) adult people begging Big Brother for more alcohol, or their cigarettes back, or whatever, is, to me, unbelievably pathetic. It's interesting, and almost funny, to watch them try to cope with a world in which they're not being pampered.

When I was doing my "alternate service", i.e. the punishment I'm allocated for not serving in the army, Olavi Sydänmaanlakka gave a talk to us during our basic training. He's been a youth worker for ages, and he talked about his experiences with young people in general, and their problems. His thesis was that the most important thing parents can teach their children is how to cope with adversity. When things are going badly and everything isn't working out, children look to their parents to see how they should respond (is mom having a temper tantrum?), and their parents also control the ways their children respond directly (are you allowed to throw a tantrum?).

These days, that's exactly what parents don't teach their kids. With the advent of quality time, parents try to make their children's lives perfect and see to it that they're never sad. Also, the going thing for over a decade has been parents who try to be their children's friends, not their parents. I've heard first-hand accounts of parents who will ask preschoolers whether it's okay with them that they do something or go somewhere. I don't know about you, but I think that's taking things a little far.

The end result is people with poor impulse control who can't face adversity. The kind of adults who have a hissy fit the minute things don't go the way they want. In short, the kind of people Finnish BB is mostly populated by. Based on his behavior so far in the house, Niko this season is the outstanding example.

Of course, taking publicity-hungry spoiled kids and making them really face up to adversity would be an excellent reality show. This season kicked off with Big Brother announcing the housemates are going to be living healthy, and their cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, sugar and meat products were all confiscated. Predictably, nearly everyone was enraged, disconsolate and heartbroken, and it seemed like it would make for some excellent TV.

But no. This lasted for a week, and now they have their smokes and drinks back. I find that just criminal. There are a lot of smokers in the house; if Big Brother helped them kick the habit, it might actually save someone's life. But they wussed out.

**

This is undoubtedly because the party they had last weekend showed what this season's theme is: sex. If I had to guess, this year's criterion for selecting contestants was whether they'd have sex on live TV. And apparently nearly all of them will. This Monday they all got drunk (for the second time), got their tits out (for the second time) and several of them paired up to, erm, as an American cop would put it, engage in activities of a sexual nature.

If anyone reading this still remembers, the title of this blog post is "A generation gap". That's what exists right now between myself and the TV screen when I watch Big Brother. I don't know if I'm exaggerating, but the way these people are carrying on on live TV is totally alien to me. Something like half a million people watch the show over the first couple of weeks; in fact, this season has already broken records. You're getting your tits out in front of 10% of the population of your country. You're getting drunk, acting like an idiot and having sex in front of every tenth person in Finland.

What is wrong with you people?

I seriously cannot relate to this. Are there people like that in our generation, and were their ambitions of making an exhibition of themselves in front of the nation simply unrealized? It seems incredible to me that people will do what they do.

Part of the answer to my question (WHY?!?) was provided by the mother of one of the contestants. Cheryllin äiti BB Extrassa: Olen ylpeä Cheryllin tekemisistä talossa! She describes her daughter as a "full ten". Remember, this is her daughter who gets drunk and gets her tits out in front of 500,000 people on live TV. She then abandoned a guy she'd been all lovey-dovey with for several days to take (the obviously closet homosexual) Mr. Tampere up to the suite and have sex with him on live TV. Mom says she's proud of her daughter!

Geez. No wonder the kids are like that.

I'm exaggerating the whole generation gap thing, or at least I think I am. I'm only a couple of years older than BB-Cheryll, and there are people in that house who are older than me. It just doesn't feel that way, though. How did I somehow get cross-attached to an older generation that didn't want to show their genitals on Finnish television?

**

In closing, Mannerheimin lastensuojeluliitto has some good stuff (in Finnish) on bringing up children here. Remember to be good parents, everybody!

Sep 2, 2008

Poker shirt proposal

There was a guy on the World Poker Tour the other night wearing a plain black hoodie with the text: "I'm all in." Now, that just sucks on so many levels. First of all, it's lame; also, it's boring. No limit poker is so thoroughly overrated that its catchphrases are on lame shirts.

Anyway, that got us thinking; what would be better poker shirt prints?

"I'm all in!" with small print: "In ten years, I'll be ashamed to own this shirt."
"I fold."
"I tentatively bet, but will fold to a reraise."
"I can dodge bullets, baby!"
"I don't know how to play poker, so I'll either go all in or fold."
"*I* think J-4 is an interesting hand..."
"I'm looking for a meaningless catchphrase ("pass the sugar" was taken)"
"Your ad here! (please!)" (the "Haved Khan special")
"The World Poker Tour: I watch it for Shana Hiatt."
"I won the WSOP on a phenomenal run of luck, constantly broke the rules of the game and made a record payday doing it. Why don't you guys like me?"
"I only play no limit. The other kinds are harder than the slot machines."
"This is not a tell."
"[poker catchphrase]."

I'm biased, I know, but I think any of those would be better than the original.

Another one we could never publish, because it's probably trademarked already, would be the ultimate poker shirt:

"If luck wasn't involved, I'd always win."

Phil, we love you.

Sep 1, 2008

Being stupid about world politics

Disarm: The Lesson of the Georgia Fiasco: Daily Article by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., at mises.org.

Rockwell challenges the idea that deterrence and mutual armament can resolve the crisis in Georgia. Instead, in the title of the article, he calls for disarmament. He concludes:

As Neilson wrote, "Citizens who desire peace can indulge in no greater folly than that which is summed up in the phrase, 'the best way to preserve peace is to prepare for war.' … Governments have made the war; only the peoples can make an unarmed peace."

A lovely sentiment. I'm writing this a couple of hundred kilometers from the Russian border, in an unaligned country with a woefully inadequate military. Yeah. Disarm. I'm sure that'll stop the Russians.

Seriously, American libertarians often have this problem. Their solution to all international problems is isolationism. Here, Rockwell is content to issue some fuzzy, feel-good ideas about disarming and peace, because as an American, his foreign policy position can be that his country should never get involved in foreign policy.

Here in Europe, it's a bit different. What Putin is doing to Georgia mirrors almost precisely what Hitler did to Czechoslovakia: create or encourage dissent in a breakaway region, and when the government acts against that dissent, use it as an excuse to invade the country.

In Finland, by the way, because we're still Finlandized, several prominent newspapers and magazines condemned Georgia's "invasion" of South Ossetia. De jure, South Ossetia is a part of Georgia. A country can't invade itself!

Now that the European Union has chosen not to implement sanctions against Russia (sanctions which Finland, naturally, opposed all along), we're effectively taking the same path as the Western powers took when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia: do nothing. After the Czechs, it was Poland, and then it was war. It might not be war this time, but we can't know that. Ukraine will likely be next, but that's only because Estonia had the foresight to join NATO.

We have no such foresight. Then again, Finland likely won't need to be defended against the Russians; we didn't need to be defended against the Soviets because after 1944, we gave in to all their demands and did exactly what they wanted us to. Finnish politicians are already hitting their stride. Our beloved president, Tarja Halonen, condemned American imperialist aggression in Iraq (okay, I don't remember what she called it exactly), but stayed totally silent on Georgia. Only last week did she finally sort of almost say Russia did a bad thing, but not quite.

This country will be re-Finlandized in a decade.