Estonian interior minister vexes with Nato blurts

In an interview with Finnish daily Iltalehti on 19 November, the Estonian Minister of the Interior Mart Helme said that his country is working together with Latvia and Lithuania on a defence "Plan B": an alternative to Nato in case the Alliance fails to intervene in the event of a Russian attack. Is this a reckless faux pas or an option for other member states, too?

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Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

Faux pas plays right into Kremlin's hands

Eesti Päevaleht is worried about the potential fallout of the statement:

“Yes, defence strategies must be prepared for all possible contingencies, including a spontaneous change of course by Donald Trump. And perhaps Helme simply overestimated the implications of Trump's routine behaviour. However the fact that an influential Estonian minister went public with such doubts plays so clearly into the hands of Kremlin propaganda that one has to ask whether all this really is a coincidence. Helme should have learned by now how heavily a minister's words weigh.”

Õhtuleht (EE) /

Alternative defence plan must not be taboo

Õhtuleht considers public outrage inappropriate:

“If even a wise farmer doesn't put all his eggs in one basket, it would be very surprising if we didn't have a Plan B for national defence. ... Sometimes it seems as if everything that comes out of Helme's mouth has to be badmouthed simply because of his personality, even if of course he himself is partly to blame for this reflex. Now the only question is whether he lied when he talked about an emergency plan that doesn't really exist or whether he divulged a state secret.”

Webcafé (BG) /

Bulgaria should also look for other partners

Not just Estonia but Bulgaria, too, should think about whether Nato can be relied on, warns Webcafé:

“Countries like Estonia and Bulgaria are among the most vulnerable in Nato because of their strategic position. ... While for the Estonians closer cooperation with their neighbours Germany and the US would be a potential Plan B, the situation in Bulgaria is more complicated. ... We are still gravitating within Russia's sphere of influence. For Moscow, we are nothing more than a satellite state that has entered the wrong orbit but will sooner or later be recaptured. ... We share a border with Turkey, which has one of the most modern armies in the world, the second largest in NATO. But can we really rely on Ankara to step in and help us unreservedly in an emergency?”