NATO's front line states respond to the Russian threat

Daily Beast:
If You Knew Putin Like We Know Putin…

Estonia’s president and Lithuania’s foreign minister talk to The Daily Beast about the menace Moscow poses to them, Europe, and the United States.

(Estonian President) Toomas Ilves: We’ve been facing this dezinformatsiya [disinformation] ever since our independence, in many ways already before that. I remember as an ambassador — in ‘93, ‘94, ‘95 — in Washington, constantly having to defend myself or my country at the State Department in the face of completely outrageous and nonsense claims made against it. People took seriously outright lies.

On Donald Trump’s questioning of whether or not the United States would defend an invaded NATO ally, as mandated by Article V of the Atlantic Charter, and his supporter Newt Gingrich’s recent comments that ‘Estonia is in the suburbs of St. Petersburg.’

Ilves: It was just odd, having been the ambassador to the United States in 1994 when the “Contract for America” was introduced [by Gingrich]. It was very explicitly put in there, “the Baltic states to join NATO.” The Republican Party position, under Mr. Gingrich, was to bring the Baltic States into NATO. Now we’re viewed as a “suburb.”

If Estonia or any member-state was invaded and Article V was not invoked, NATO will fall apart. If it fails once, the alliance will no longer exist. This is what is really the glue in Europe, too, because you never know who will be next.

And it’s worth reminding people that Article V has been invoked only once, on September 12, 2001.
They are both important allies in dealing with Russia.  They have intimate knowledge of how the Russians think and the weaknesses of their military equipment.  Estonia has prospered from throwing off the shackles of communism and has a strong technology-based economy.  It is hard to believe that Gingrich is so dismissive.  I suspect he is just trying to defend Trump's ignorance on the matter.  I get the impression that Trump just does not comprehend the threats posed by Putin.


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