Analysis of the News: “Colonel McGregor: US Will Plant Missiles in Finland to Start War with Russia”

January 2024.

As part of the program Regional Initiative for combating disinformation “Western Balkans Combatting disinformation Center: Exposing malicious influences through fact-checking and Analytical Journalism“, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

“Colonel McGregor: US Will Plant Missiles in Finland to Start War with Russia””

In the previous period, we went through and analyzed a significant number of news and articles, but one conclusion permeated a significant number of the analyses we were faced with, namely that of the United States trying to start a war with Russia over Finland.

As the very title of the article that the Webtribune portal emphasizes, “Colonel McGregor: The US will place missiles in Finland to start a war with Russia“, which conveys the opinion of analysts Douglas McGregor, The United States is preparing for war with Russia over Finland. The question worth asking is how is this conclusion reached. And how did the US plan its war over Finland?

In order to answer these two questions, we must touch upon the wider geopolitical context. Namely, from the very beginning of the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine, there has been general fear and awakening of security dilemmas among the countries of Europe and the European Union in particular, which is located on the very border with Ukraine. The reason for this is simple, and that is the first significant war since the breakup of Yugoslavia, which contains the risk of expanding and involving additional actors. In this connection, there is a special security threat to EU member states, as well as to the rest of Europe, which entails a series of decisions seeking to further strengthen security on the territory of the European Union. Therefore, Finland as a member of the European Union, as well as Sweden, submitted a request for accession to the NATO alliance, in order to additionally secure the sovereign territories of their countries. Finland fulfilled the accession criteria in a short period of time following the general consensus of the member states of the NATO alliance, while Sweden is waiting for the final ratification by Hungary and Turkey.

With the entry of Finland into the NATO alliance, the threat to the Russian Federation from the Kremlin’s point of view has been raised one ladder, given that Finland is geographically located on the very edge of Western and Northwestern Russia. The rhetoric of the officials of the Russian Federation is in line with that synchronized and redirected toward Finland, which includes regular threats, accusations, and different types of subterfuge aimed at presenting Russia as a victim.

The dynamics of this rhetoric befits all NATO member countries located near Russia, it also included Ukraine before the invasion by Russia. Certainly, I do not emphasize that Russia is aiming to attack Finland, but rather pointing out the fact that Russia does not want to see the expansion of the NATO alliance. Accordingly, the new bilateral agreement – Defense Cooperation Agreement signed between the USA and Finland, additionally strives to secure Finnish territory. From the Kremlin’s point of view, on the other hand, it is an attack on Russia and a provocation that draws a potential attack. Thus, quoting an analyst, Larry Johnson, talks about US attempting to provoke a direct conflict with Russia that will result in the destruction of the USA.

This disinformation narrative that we often encounter is modified in the context of the accession of new NATO members, namely Finland, but essentially tries to convey to the audience the message that securing sovereign states leads to provocation of Russia.

As noted at the beginning of the text, when asked how and why the US is planning an attack on Russia, the answer is provided by disinformation itself, which is distributed on a significant scale by the foreign pro-Russian portals, and that is the agreement on security cooperation between Finland and the USA, as well as the very accession of Finland to the NATO alliance, which is presented as an act of provocation and an attack on Russia.

Author: Đorđe Terek