Lest I forget thee, O Tallinn by mattsteinglass
November 5, 2008, 12:30 am
Filed under: Europe, Russia, War

Daniel Larison is generally against NATO expansion and blustery McCainish efforts to extend US military solidarity to small countries bordering Russia where the US has no strategic interests. And I generally agree with him – the whole “plucky Georgia” narrative was shot through with Slavophobia and deliberate ignorance of the consequences of supporting independence for Kosovo. But here, he seems to me to take the argument too far, perhaps out of a misplaced desire for logical consistency:

Estonia should never have been admitted to NATO, because America is certainly not going to risk WWIII to protect Estonia.  The sooner that everyone understands that, and the less they talk about new Cold Wars, the better.

If NATO is not intended to guarantee the security of well-run European democratic states like Estonia against potential coercion by militaristic and less democratic neighbors, I don’t know what it’s for. The Baltics were integrated into NATO at a moment when the risk of immediate conflict with Russia was minimal, but with a sense that this might change at some point, and that it was important to draw a firm line locking them into the European zone. That goal has been accomplished, and it seems in retrospect like it was a good idea. Estonia is not Georgia. Its membership in Europe is well established, it is contiguous with the rest of democratic Europe, it is part of Scandinavia. I see no reason why the US should grant a security guarantee to Greece but not to Estonia.


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