Tag: Estonia

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Matt Schoenfeldt and Wyatt Harper are joined by British Army Officer, Dave Calder. Dave walks us through his NATO deployment to Estonia and helps us understand the role NATO is playing in the Baltics. He also shares with us a unique project he is working on at the British Staff Course. Follow us on iTunes […]

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This week on Banter, AEI Resident Scholar and Director of Russian Studies Leon Aron discusses the threat Vladimir Putin’s Russia poses to six countries in Europe and Central Asia. Dr. Aron recently released a new collection of essays titled “To Have and to Hold: Putin’s Quest for Control in the Former Soviet Empire.” The essays assess the likelihood and form of potential Russian intervention in six neighboring countries: Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Dr. Aron hosted a release event for the essays at AEI featuring the compilation’s authors and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) for a discussion on the threat Russia poses to the West on the eve of his reelection.

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I’ve been given a writing assignment this week, and I was hoping that Ricochet members could counsel me. I got an email yesterday for an Estonian daily newspaper to write a piece for this weekend’s edition of their weekly supplemental magazine about what, from the perspective an American, the “feelings, fears and hopes” are of the […]

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In my post about Estonia I said that, so strong is my childhood desire to see that country again, that I once got arrested trying to sneak across the border from the Russian side. What happened was this. After my second year in law school I got myself a summer clerkship with a fancy New […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Dying for Narva? Our Foolish NATO Commitment.

 

imageI confess I have a soft spot for Estonia. I visited for my first and only time when I was six years old. Unlike the other Soviet workers and peasants, who every August flocked en masse to the rocky shores of the Black Sea, my family preferred the wide, uncrowded, sandy beaches, cool northern waters, and fragrant pine forests of the Baltic. The three Baltic capitals – Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius – were ancient Hanseatic merchant towns that, despite 30-some years of Communism, mass-deportations, and Russian colonization, had managed to preserve their distinct Baltic character and culture. To my parents, the whole region – but especially Estonia – looked and felt like Scandinavia or, at least, what they imagined Scandinavia to look and feel like.

Tallinn itself I remember as a medieval jewel straight out of a storybook, with winding cobblestone streets, Gothic windows, and a skyline marked by crow-stepped gables, church spires, fortress towers, and red tile roofs crowned by bronze weathervanes and finials. There were pubs, coffee houses, and jazz clubs. The food tasted different. This place felt … Western. Someone told my mother that, if one stood at the water’s edge on dark nights when atmospheric conditions were just right, one could faintly see the lights of Helsinki across the Gulf of Finland. I clearly remember her standing on the beach at night squinting at the horizon, trying to catch a glimpse of the world beyond the Iron Curtain.

For years afterward, I made childish drawings of Nordic Baroque towers and spires, trying to capture the magic of that place. I often wanted to return, but Tallinn was the one place where my childhood steps remained un-retraced. It was not one of the world’s great capitals, it was off the beaten track and, until the summer after my second year in law school, the right opportunity never seemed to present itself. That summer I tried to visit, but was arrested crossing the Russo-Estonian border, which is kind of a funny story.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Would You Support Sending Americans to Fight for the Survival of Estonia or Latvia?

 

Graham Allison, an entirely reputable scholar of International Affairs at Harvard University, and Dimitri K. Simes, president of the Center for the National Interest, recently published a piece reminding us that Russia is a nuclear power “capable of literally erasing the United States from the map.”

And while most Americans dismiss the possibility of a US-Russian war, they do not:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Teachable Moment for Rand Paul?

 

We now have on our hands Barack Obama’s War, for our latest Middle Eastern war belongs entirely to him. And someone — let it be me! — should alert Sen. Rand Paul to this teachable moment, for Obama’s War (which Rand Paul supports) was brought on by the very policy of non-intervention that he, his father, and the Cato Institute all championed. As Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has testified in word and deed, there is essentially no difference on foreign affairs between left-wing Democratics and arch-libertarians who sometimes vote Republican.

This war might have been avoided. Had Obama taken the trouble to arrange for a few thousand American soldiers to remain in Iraq — as he easily could have — the Iraqi’s coalition government between Shia, Sunni, and Kurd would have held, despite Maliki’s perfidy. That, in turn, would have prevented al-Qaeda’s reemergence in the Sunni-dominated provinces of Iraq. Moreover, ISIS would not be in control of great swathes of Syria had the president followed the advice of his advisors and allies and backed the secular-minded opposition to Bashar al-Assad from the start.

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Charles Krauthammer reinforces my doubts about NATO under current leadership. Is NATO still a serious alliance? Does Putin fear it? Would the alliance be called into action to defend some members but not others?  Preview Open

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. A Modest Appreciation of Vox.com

 

Do be sure to check out this brilliant, marvelous, incandescently stupendous piece by our very own Messiah of the Moment, Max “I used to be Otto von Bismarck in a previous life” Fisher, in which Fisher explains the Obama Administration’s attempt to deter Vladimir Putin from gobbling up any of the Baltic states. Especially wonderful and heartwarming is Fisher’s tendency to breathlessly explain the principles of deterrence to his audience as though (a) he just learned about those principles and (b) his audience consists exclusively of two-year olds. Consider the following excerpt:

President Obama gave a speech on Wednesday, in a city most Americans have never heard of, committing the United States to possible war against Russia. He said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a Western military alliance better known as NATO, would fight to defend eastern European members like Estonia against any foreign aggression. In other words, if Russian President Vladimir Putin invades Estonia or Latvia as he invaded Ukraine, then Putin would trigger war with the US and most of Europe.