U.S. media: developments giving Estonia pause

U.S. Ambassador to Estonia James D. Melville announced on social media late Friday night that he will resign as a sign of protest against the policy of President Donald Trump.

“For thepresident to says that the [European Union] “was set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank,”or that “NATOis as bad as NAFTA”is not just factually wrong but proves to me that it is time to go,”Melville wrote on Facebook. The ambassador said he will be leaving Estonia on July 29.

Washington Post journalist Avi Selk writes in his analysis of Melville’s resignation that “the sudden resignation” comes at a bad time for countries bordering Russia when the chance of military conflict is in the air and Trump is rethinking USA’s support for allies living in Moscow’s shadow.

“BothRussiaandNATOhave recently staged military exercises that some analysts see as thinly disguised simulations of a war over the Baltic region,” Selk writes. He reminds the American reader that Estonia is one of several formerly Soviet-controlled countries that have joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization — essentially allying with the United States and Western Europe, whose militaries protect Estonia against Russian aggression.

“The recent behavior of the leaders of the two most powerful countries in the world is worrying in light of a potential conflict,” Selk writes. "Russian President Vladimir Putin sounds increasingly hawkish towardwhat many Russians seeas an aggressive, expansionist military bloc on their country's western border — and Trump sounds increasingly amenable to the Kremlin's point of view.”

The author recalls the interview President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid gave the Washington Post a few months ago where she says she is not afraid because Estonia is in NATO.

Selk finds that Trump has given Kaljulaid a lot more to worry about since then. Trump hassuggestedthat the United States may recognize Russia's 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.He hasappeared to underminethe European Union. He hasaccusedNATO members of not spending enough on defense and —as Axios has reported— directly disparaged the alliance in front of other world leaders.

Washington Post recalls how Estonia’s neighbor Sweden handed out leaflets warning people to prepare for a possible war.

American foreign affairs magazine Foreign Policy writes in its coverage of Melville’s resignation that NATO members are afraid Trump might corner them further at an upcoming summit – before meeting with President Vladimir Putin, who is among the few world leaders Trump has never badmouthed, in Helsinki.

American news portals have written that a scenario similar to what happened at the G7 summit in Canada and Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-un is possible also the week after next: a meeting with allies is scheduled to take place in Brussels on July 11-12 that will end in a squabble and be followed by a triumphant meeting with a man who clearly does not share America’s interests in Helsinki on July 16.

Melville is not the first high-ranking U.S. diplomat to have resigned over Trump’s policy. The resignation of ambassador to Panama John Feeley has created a lot of reverberation in the American press. The man said in interviews that he could not continue serving under Trump because “his values are not my values”.

CNN recalled how U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson resigned in March for the same reason as Feeley and Melville – Trump’s utterances, in this case concerning Mexico.

All three ambassadors were career diplomats who got their postings after years of work in the foreign service, not “political ambassadors” appointed – as per American tradition – to represent the country for supporting the president.

Washington Post columnist Max Boot wrote at length on how Trump, meeting Putin in Helsinki, wants to “Finlandize” the USA by offering the following definition for the term: creating a situation where a country avoids confrontation with the interests of a more powerful counterpart (in this case, Russia) without being its political ally.

As Trump has mentioned the possibility of the USA recognizing Crimea as part of Russia because “everyone speaks Russian there”, Boot recommends the Baltics remain mindful.

The owners and editorial staff of the New York Times write in a joint opinion piece the paper publishes next to ordinary editorials from time to time that the Trump-Putin summit might turn out dangerously friendly and that unpredictable Trump might announce the withdrawal of American troops from the Baltic countries the aim of whom is to deter Russia from taking aggressive steps in the region – just like he unexpectedly canceled a U.S. – South Korean joint military exercise after meeting with the leader of North Korea.

Luckily, the editorial finds, “Mr. Trump’s national security advisers have a more realistic view of the Russian threat than himself. As do the Republicans who control the Senate. They are more obligated than ever to try and convince Mr. Trump that what’s at stake in meeting with Putin is national security, and that he must prepare for the meeting very carefully.”

NATO Diplomacy ambassador
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
No rates yet
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and one of the owners of construction group Nordecon, Toomas Luman, finds that a prime ministerial candidate should first and foremost be able to answer the question of what will become of the demographic crisis in Estonia. The businessman sees controlled introduction of foreign labor as the solution. A digital construction cluster was created in Estonia a few years back to bring innovation to the s...
Last year saw 27,125 registered offenses, up 0.5 percent from the year before. Violent crime was up by 12 percent to 8,249 offenses. PHOTO: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire / Press Association Images / Scanpix Growth was biggest for domestic violence – the police launched criminal proceedings in 3,607 cases that constitutes an increase of more than one-third – annual growth of 37 percent from 2,632 cases in 2017. At the same time, reports of domestic violence we...
TALLINN - Ahead of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, tens of thousands of British citizens have chosen the citizenship of some other country, but only one Brit has recently chosen an Estonian citizenship. Spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior told BNS that only one British citizen submitted an application for Estonian citizenship last year and the applicant was also granted the citizenship. Before that, no Brits had soug...
TALLINN - Experts from Finland, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands highlighted the importance of decentralization and granting local governments greater decision-making powers at a conference titled "Strong local government -- strong state?" in Tallinn on Wednesday.  All Nordic countries have chosen a model granting local governments significant decision-making powers, thus the central government does not prescribe how local governments are to fulfill the...
The language learning application Drops by game developer Planb Labs, established in Estonia by Hungarian founders, was named Google Play's best app of 2018. With the number of downloads surpassing 10 million, Drops was named Google's app of the year as the revenue of Planb Labs, a company registered in Estonia, increased fivefold, CNBC said. The developer's revenue grew from €335,000 in 2017 to €1.7 million in 2018. The company's shareholders include Hung...
TALLINN - The Estonian Health Board has banned the distribution of chlorine dioxide, also marketed as the Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS), the A-component of an unused product, meaning the sodium chlorite solution, must be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility. Ester Opik, head of the Health Board's North regional department, said that the banning of the distribution of the product was caused by the fact that MMS, distributed as a cosmetics produ...
Nature cannot abide a vacancy, as the saying goes. If just one year ago, Estonia was battling the sale of MMS and the practice of giving it to children, a new “miracle cure” called Advanced TRS has appeared on the market now. Even though the make-up of the substance is different, the promise to cure autism and cleanse the body of heavy metals, which kind of extreme detox is accompanied by severe side-effects, sounds all too familiar. TRS is recommended to...
Allied NATO battalions will soon mark two years serving in the Baltics. They have worked better than expected but would need prepositioned heavy weaponry and a functional contingency plan in case of a crisis, a report by the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) finds. “We do not know how Russia would have acted had we not welcomed allies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in 2017. I’m afraid they would have tested our resolve,” one of...
The time of filing income tax returns is nearly upon us. The new income tax system, in effect since last year, will obligate many women who went on maternity leave toward the end of the year to make additional income tax payments, while those who give birth in the middle or at the beginning of the year have no such obligation. What this means is that some women will owe the state simply for giving birth “at the wrong time”. Laura Roop, who went on maternit...