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Old 04-18-2007   #41
Stan
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Hi Marc,
Indeed a hard sell. We (both) got them started years ago and now it's time to go (exit strategy in US lingo).

I suppose if the 'fatherland' was across the street and Canada or the US split, I might start to wonder too.
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Old 04-21-2007   #42
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Default The Baltic States won´t patrol their own skies before 2018

AFP, April 18, 2007 reports

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The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have decided to ask NATO to continue patrolling their skies until 2018, when the three alliance newcomers expect to take over the job, an official said Friday.
"The chiefs of the Baltic defence forces decided to ask NATO to continue with the current air defence solution at least until 2018, under which other NATO members patrol our skies," Estonian military spokesman Andres Sang told AFP after a meeting of Baltic army leaders in Estonia.
"Meanwhile, the Baltic states will continue joint activities to enhance their air defence capabilities," Sang said.
"We will continue the development of the joint radar system Baltnet, carry on joint training and devise more long-term plans on how to carry on after 2018," he said.
The formal request to NATO will be made by the three governments later in the year, he said.

The current agreement over the NATO patrols runs out next year.
More established members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) have taken turns patrolling the air space of the three Baltic states since March 2004, when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the alliance.
Currently, France is policing the Baltic skies. Romania is due to take over in August.
The Baltic states, which regained their independence from the Soviet Union 16 years ago, lack sufficient aircraft and personnel to run the patrols themselves.
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Old 05-05-2007   #43
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Default President Ilves: Dear fellow countrymen!

The truth is simple: all of us, who live in Estonia, will go on living here. Despite last week. Together. Side by side.

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Let us not be misled by looters who acted in the shadow of the night – they would have taken their opportunity to steal sooner or later. They will be handled efficiently by our police and our courts.

A few days ago, I found a webpage with several snapshots of Tallinn, set up by a young woman called Maria, under an extremely relevant heading – ”We are Russians, but our homeland is Estonia”. Thank you, Maria!

We must truthfully admit that the aim of the hate-mongers was foul – they wished that Estonians and Russians should not get along. Yet the hate-mongers are bound to be disappointed, because we shall not be drawn into discord. This is the best way to show that we are above those who manipulate us. I know that our country is rich in both wise Estonians as well as wise Russians, and I know also that neither of them are as stupid as to be affected by toothless hate-mongers.
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Old 05-24-2007   #44
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Default America's Baltic Time Bomb

This morning the Cato Institute made the argument that NATO should rethink its commitments to the Baltics.

Seems the isolationists at CATO have concluded that the Baltics are worthless and don't merit defense.

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Indeed, a crisis could result if a future Russian president concludes that NATO's mere presence in the Baltic region is an intolerable intrusion into Moscow's rightful sphere of influence.
Sphere of influence ? A quick scan at Wikipedia, defines an SOI as "an area or region over which an organization or state exerts some kind of indirect cultural, economic, military or political domination." At least Wiki doesn't list Estonia under the Russian sphere of influence.

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In any case, the U.S. should never have undertaken military commitments to the Baltic republics. These obligations are a dangerous liability, and the U.S. must extricate itself from them.
A tad too late methinks ! I'm sure NATO thought long and hard about assistance to the Baltic States and concluded it was in fact feasible to defend. An attack on the Baltics would be a disaster for Europe with tens of thousands of refugees and a financial burden on Sweden and Finland.

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Old 06-11-2007   #45
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Default Democracy and Security: Core Values and Sound Policies

Estonian President Ilves' 4th of June speech in a conference on democracy

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Lack of democracy is a pre-condition for aggressive international behaviour – would North Korea, Iran, Saddam’s Iraq, Sudan or a host of other despotically ruled countries engage in or threaten war if they were democratic? – it’s unlikely. Our question at this conference is what do we, the community of democratic countries do about this?
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Since the liberation of Eastern Europe from undemocratic communist rule we have come to accept as a truism that Democracies do not go to war with each other. Before I look more carefully at what this idea entails, allow me to begin rather bluntly by asking a question I couldn’t even imagine asking when I wrote my talk: if it is true that Democracies do not go to war with each other, then what is a country that threatens to target its nuclear missiles at Europe doing in the G-8, the club of large industrial Democracies? Either the proposition is wrong or the G-8 is based on something else than a common commitment to democratic rule.
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I used to think that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were disliked because of something we did wrong. I realize now that it is because we did something right. At the same time, all of these small or smaller countries – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia, have problems with only one country, Russia. Russia on the other hand seems to have problems with lots of countries. Perhaps it is time to wonder why, and why they all happen to be countries that have chosen democracy.
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Old 06-13-2007   #46
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Default Estonian MOD meets with NATO and coalition forces

"The Estonian Minister of Defence, Mr. Jaak Aaviksoo, met with the Deputy Commander of the NATO Training Mission, Major General Ernesto Alviano, and the commander of the next training mission, Lieutenant General James Dubik. Minister Aaviksoo also met the Commander of the Multi-National Force (Iraq MNF-I), General David Petraeus, who oversees all forces in Iraq."

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Mr. Aaviksoo and General Petraus discussed the current situation of the Iraqi operation and changes in the security situation in Iraq. The general confirmed that co-operation with the Estonians is excellent and Estonian platoon serves as an invaluable ally for the USA combat forces.

The minister rated the operations of the NATO Training Mission very highly and confirmed that Estonia will continue to participate in the mission. He stated that the international community must definitely continue to support the Iraqi security forces with training. “The operations of the NATO Training Mission will acquire even higher importance as the security situation improves,” the Minister of Defence said. He added: “Therefore, being NATO members, we’re glad to see that the organisation has taken an obligation to contribute to the training and supplying of the Iraqi army.” Two Estonian staff officers are currently serving in the NATO Training Mission.

Estonia has contributed weapons (2,400 AKs and 2.4 million rounds of ammunition) and a computer class with 11 work stations within the framework of the NATO Training Mission in 2005. Estonia has also supported the training provided to the Iraqi forces through the Trust Fund. The contribution made in 2005 and 2006 amounted to 50,000 and 50,000 EUR, respectively.

The Minister of Defence will return to Estonia on Saturday.
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Old 06-27-2007   #47
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Default President Ilves meets with Secretary Gates

The Estonian Head of State met with SECDEF Gates to discuss a number of initiatives, including support to Georgia for future NATO membership.

President Bush recently approved an Estonian plan to create a NATO Center of Excellence.

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President Ilves and Secretary of Defense Gates spoke in detail about the NATO cyber-defense center planned for Estonia, about the practical questions related to its creation and the participation of the United States in this project, for which United States President George W. Bush expressed his support during yesterday’s meeting with the Estonian Head of State.

“Cyber-security is one of the greatest challenges at the beginning of our century and one facet is the technical and legislative solutions needed to defeat cybercrime and cyberattacks,” noted President Ilves.

The Estonian Head of State and United States Secretary of Defense also spoke about bringing the Georgian and Ukrainian armed forces into compliance with NATO standards, which both Estonia and the United States are supporting.
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Old 06-28-2007   #48
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Default Estonian President affirmed his country's role as a Western ally

From today's VOA PRESS RELEASE - Washington, D.C., June 28, 2007

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During the on-camera interview topics ranged from Estonia sending troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, questions of cyber security, and relations with Russia.

Discussing Estonia's memberships in NATO and the European Union and the potential complications in relations with Russia, President Ilves stated, "we are Western Allies". Then he continued, "...there are people who basically don't think that Eastern Europeans should have the same rights and freedoms as Western Europeans. I think it's a spurious argument."

Asked about Estonia's role in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Ilves commented that it is the duty of NATO democracies to support one another and said, "We are there because it's the right thing to do."

Recognizing Estonia's important role implementing computer technologies, President Ilves advocated establishing a legal framework to address the challenges of cyber security.
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Old 06-28-2007   #49
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Default Fallen Estonian Soldiers, But Continued Support to Coalition

Yesterday evening on Camp Bastion in Southern Afghanistan, Estonian soldiers held a memorial ceremony for two fallen Estonian soldiers, the first Estonians lost in Afghanistan. The two soldiers were members of a mine clearance team in the Helmandy province and were reportedly killed in a missile attack.

The news reached Estonia on the evening of the 23rd, when the nation was celebrating both mid-summer and Victory Day.

In his comments to the Estonian press, President Ilves called on the nation to continue supporting the international missions. “They were not just soldiers but mine clearance specialists whose duty it was to clear Afghanistan. This shows how difficult and dangerous our struggle is together with Afghans for a peaceful Afghanistan. This shows that we have no right to break this mission.”

Joint statement from Estonia's Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs

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These members of the Estonian Defence Forces lost their lives in defending the security of the Republic of Estonia by fighting against the global threat of terrorism. We are participating in the operation in Afghanistan at the request of the Afghan Government, as a NATO member, shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the democratic world, as a family of 37 countries contributing to the stability of the world and making it a better place in which to live.”

It is regretful that we have to pay such a high price in defence of our values. Only we can defend our values; not even our allies will defend our values if we are not ready to defend them ourselves.

Today we take for granted that ensuring stability and peace in the world is the duty of a responsible nation. Estonia will continue to contribute to the operation in Afghanistan at this difficult moment, as we cannot let terror, death and destruction prevail, seeds which have been sown by terrorists.
Kadri Liik, Director of the Tallinn-based International Center for Defense Studies opined "Estonians generally supported the Afghanistan mission. The Middle East is a direct concern for Estonia, with or without America. If things boil over there, there are direct implications for Estonia. Noone in government has bothered to make a more sophisticated argument than that we have to support our allies.”

Last edited by Stan; 09-11-2007 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 06-28-2007   #50
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Good post, Stan. Perhaps our best friends truly are the smaller nations.
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Old 11-06-2007   #51
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Default Estonia supports Georgia in destroying hazardous weapons

Estonia has decided to participate in a NATO and PFP Countries project aimed at supporting Georgia in destroying out-dated and dangerous unguided missiles and rockets.

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The project involves destroying 8780 S-8 unguided missiles and Alazan and Crystal anti-hail rockets located in the former Vartsikhe and Depolistkaro air defence bases in Georgia.
The unguided missiles and rockets that are to be demilitarised are long pass their expected life and are kept in unsuitable storage conditions, and as such have become a threat to the environment.

According to the Estonian Minister of Defence, supporting Georgia means increasing the security of not only the region itself but also on a greater scale. “If they were to end up in the wrong hands, such weapons could also cause much harm in NATO area of operations.
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Old 11-29-2007   #52
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Default Estonia reiterates support for maintaining troops

Estonia's prime minister reiterated on Wednesday, during a visit to meet with U.S. officials, his country's commitment to maintaining troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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PM Andrus Ansip said that his government was motivated by the two countries' security needs and his own country's history.

"We got huge help when this help was needed for Estonia," he said at a press event after a meeting with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. "Now to help others, this is our moral duty, so we will stay in Iraq and Afghanistan until our help is no longer needed in those countries."
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Old 11-29-2007   #53
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Cool Character

It was one of the first lessons I learned when I was young and I will never forget it.

One cannot necessarily count on the goodwill and support of those who give less than what they have available in your time of need, but when others offer up more than they can afford to help you, then you know they are true friends.

Estonia, and many others have shown this willingness to support despite the difficulties, and I think we could also put Mr. Blair in that considering he basically sacrificed his political capital in support of that which he believes in.

Good friends are hard to find, Real friends are hard to miss
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Old 11-29-2007   #54
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Default No permanent friends, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.

Lord Palmerston's quote still holds true. Sentimentality makes for good speeches and press releases, but when the rubber meets the road, it generally doesn't last long.

If a new President took a more conciliatory line towards Russia, I doubt we'd see Estonian troops in Iraq or Afghanistan for very long - and indeed why should we?
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Old 11-29-2007   #55
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Interesting point, Tequila !

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Originally Posted by tequila View Post
Lord Palmerston's quote still holds true. Sentimentality makes for good speeches and press releases, but when the rubber meets the road, it generally doesn't last long.

If a new President took a more conciliatory line towards Russia, I doubt we'd see Estonian troops in Iraq or Afghanistan for very long - and indeed why should we?
It may be good speech material for Lord whoever, but telling the US SecDef you promise pretty much means you will, come hell or high water.

Estonia's current President just so happened to live and study (since childhood) in Canada and the USA. Guess who he thinks Estonia should be sentimental with and supportive of? Not Russia
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Old 11-29-2007   #56
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Question

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Originally Posted by tequila View Post
No permanent friends, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.
In this context would it be best to try get other countries to be more friendly towards us , or should we focus on the alignment of their interests and ours?

Or maybe we just continue with the general premise that what we want is what is best for the people whereever they may be ,and those who feel the same stand with us.

Be careful when trying to use business ideals in determining cause for action in reference to social society.

Just like the difference between business ethics and personal mores, interests and ideological motivations are apples and oranges and must be seen as such.

Great speakers in history give orations on ideals, and hopes associated with actions because they were aware of that difference.

A lot of things are cut and dry but international interactions ain't one of them.
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Old 12-09-2007   #57
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Default ...as a farewell to Estonian Platoon 15

Estonian Army 1st Lt. Kaido Kivistik, platoon leader for Estonian Platoon 15, congratulates Lionville, Ala., native Spc. Wesley Guy, a mechanic with Troop B, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, during an award ceremony at Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 3.

More at the link...
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Old 12-16-2007   #58
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Default Prospect of Joining NATO is Stimulus for Carrying out Reforms

In speaking about the operation in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasized that success can not be achieved by using military means alone.

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“The situation in Afghanistan demands the implementation of more civil measures. Primarily, international organizations like the UN and the European Union should increase their contributions and expand their activities alongside NATO,” said Paet.


The main topics discussed at the meeting were the NATO-led operation in Afghanistan, the situation in Kosovo and in the Western Balkans in general, and issues related to NATO enlargement and relations with partner countries. A meeting of the NATO-Russia Council and NATO Ukraine-Commission also took place, as did a meeting between NATO allies and the Mediterranean Dialogue countries.


The foreign policy leaders also discussed matters related to NATO enlargement. At the moment, Croatia, Macedonia and Albania are preparing to become members of the alliance within the framework of the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP). An invitation to join may be issued to these nations at the next NATO summit in April 2008, depending on how successfully the countries do their “homework” of implementing reforms. According to Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, the results-based enlargement process will increase the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic region. “The prospect of acceding to NATO is a motivator for all European nations to move forward on the path to reforms, integration and democracy,” said Paet. The foreign ministers will continue to discuss the potential expansion of NATO at their next meeting in March of next year.
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Old 12-20-2007   #59
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Default Continued Support from Estonia's Government

Estonia's parliament backs military presence in Iraq until 2009

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TALLINN, December 19 (RIA Novosti) - Estonia's parliament voted 53-29 in favor of extending the country's military deployment in Iraq until the end of 2008, the parliamentary press service reported on Wednesday.

The move followed a UN resolution on Tuesday extending the mandate for the U.S.-led multinational force (MNF) in the country for another year.

The country has been involved in the Iraqi campaign since 2003 and has around 150 troops currently deployed there and in Afghanistan.

Latvia, another Baltic NATO member, has dramatically reduced the number of soldiers in Iraq, while Lithuania has completely withdrawn its forces.

Estonia's government has budgeted 37.6 million kroons (about $3 million) to support the 2008 Iraqi mission.
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Old 02-08-2008   #60
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Default Baltics blaze NATO trail for former Communist allies

Less than four years after they joined NATO, former Soviet republics Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have been advising their one-time Communist allies on how to join the 26-nation military alliance.

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...the Baltics were once more in the centre of attention on Thursday as NATOs defence ministers gathered in the Lithuanian capital,...

Three former communist countries - Albania, Croatia and Macedonia - are currently candidates for the membership. And the Baltic states have already held several talks with them on NATO integration.

The Baltic states assistance extends beyond promoting the Adriatic countries membership of NATO. They have offered the Adriatic countries development aid out of a sense of solidarity and strategic interests in Brussels, David Galbreath, a political observer at the University of Aberdeen...

For Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, sharing the EU and NATO experience stems from their sense of "corporate responsibility" to assist other countries in transition to common European values, Galbreath said.

The Baltics have also been lobbying NATO to extend membership to the former Soviet states of Georgia and Ukraine, encouraging NATO to withstand pressure from Moscow, which sees Georgia and Ukraine in its sphere of influence.
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