11.02 Urmas Reinsalu

Urmas Reinsalu - "Estonian interests in word politics"

Introductory remarks on these matters.

The main objective of a small nation in global field of politics is to survive. Estonian interest in maintaining a transatlantic relationship between American and European partners, and that it would continue. Global trends, everything is diminishing, including the world order, and only solution is to cooperate. This has been going for some time, isolationism even before Trump. Estonian interest is to keep transatlantic ties solid. Also, maintaining dialogue in the Middle-East.

Trump vision departs from up until now agreed vision on the way forward. Confident on managing that transatlantic ties will not be broken. Estonia must have more influence in foreign affairs, softly speaking isn’t enough. Looking for more cooperation, especially with like-minded nations, such as the Arctic council. Arctic has risen and will rise in geostrategic importance in these next decades. This is the first time in modern history for Estonia to create platform, three sea initiation, not a political union, but more of an economic (gas, lng, etc.) cooperation. Eastern Europe has potential, although historically has been kept down, especially in infrastructure. Need to balance foreigns and has been initiated by United States, three years ago in Warsaw, since when nothing as of so far hasn’t happened. Hope that as Estonia takes up initiative in this, that something will change. Dialogue in a far more wider perspective than just strict security concerns. Freedom of religion alliance? Pompeo’s idea, to cooperate in human rights according to UN. According to studies, more than 80% of world’s population suffers under religious identity.

Consistency of nonrecognition policy (Crimea, South-Ossetia etc.). This policy has been one of the foundation stone of Estonia, where Vatican, USA and Ireland and others were consistent through the Cold war. Need of a strong deterrence in this region, against Russia and international terrorism. China is considered a challenge. Estonia’s geostrategic importance, thankful for EFP units in Baltics. Biggest scenarios, such as 10000s US troops deployed in Europe, particularly in this region.

Extra investments 100bn to secure this flank of NATO. Other than the military capability, is the power of will and determination of principles. Estonia pointing out Russia’s crimes, on daily bases cyber attacks, Russia has widened its scope of operations using proxies. Most concerning. More of capacity can be witnessed in Syria, Libya, Africa in general, where proxies make power moves.

Foreign councils priorities, international law, eagerness to support UN reforms. In cases of mass atrocities and crimes against humanity there should be total veto on these actions by other states. Willing to see Estonia rising in world as digital-cyber specialist, in these asymmetrical conflicts, where kinetic engagements aren’t used. Importance of keeping EU cooperating in Eastern Europe via Eastern Partnership countries.

Estonia supporting EU’s enlargement, in North-Macedon and Serbia? Balkans aren’t in a vacuum, the negative political control isn’t working.

Climate objectives, Estonia supporting EU and Paris treaty. Additional taxes should though be decided on the basis of national sovereignty, compromises on local mining industries. Future of EU – May new initiative, which will consist on parliaments and governments, Estonia doesn’t see opening further centralisation of EU’s competences.

International law based world order must and will stay functional, and will improve.

These were the introductory remarks.

Q: What about China? Preferred approaches? Value based or pragmatic?

A: Universal principles of human rights should for all democratic countries be absolutes, also in dealing with other countries. Estonia doesn’t consider China a security threat, but West should look at the case of China for it’s rise on global politics in many ways. “NO alternative concept” approach. Russian way of life not feasible, but China’s is. Chinese way of life an ample alternative to ours today. The results of our decisions will affect next generations.

Q: EKRE’s domestic defence policies problematic for national defence? Threat of Russia?

A: Government is mixed well enough for communications. Not so dramatic. Russia, it’s 1/10 considering manpower. Russia’s capability of snap exercises has impressively risen in the recent past and the scale of those exercises has risen well too. Interesting times we live in.

Q: Crimea and Donbass, a frozen conflict and is it a topic in the security council?

A: Still a discussed topic and since people are still dying, it will stay on topic. We should not pressure Ukraine to get Donbass back by any means necessary, for it’s up to Ukraine. Debating borders should come after debating aggressor-victim relations. We should perhaps be more defensive?

Q: Personal stance on assassination of Soleimani? Is Estonia more of an European or US ally if there should be a conflict?

A: US was justified to kill Soleimani as self-defence. US has been holding itself back, although temperature rising. Discussions with Iran’s foreign minister, his vision which Reinsalu opposes… Who’s side to take? A transatlantic side, we’re working on that matter, our side is the national security.

Q: Position of a possibility of Scotland and Catalonia joining the EU?

A: The issues of separation are the sole the decision in these countries. Commisions EU not taking hard positions.

Q: Concerns of Turkey closing with Russia?

A: Cooperation between Turkey and Russia was pragmatic, although hasn’t worked out all that well in Syria etc. London summit, first strong step. Eastern B9 meeting in March In Lithuania. Turkey’s consistent nonrecognition policy on Crimea is very much appreciated.

Q: How many troops are coming here and what can we expect from Russia?

A: Russia’s point of view is more psychological, 1 or 100 or 1000 is the same in terms of narrative. Militarily, Russia’s most realistic predictions consider attack on their western, not southern, flank. US-Poland cooperation. US soldiers in Baltics a particularly important.

Q: In case of Russian aggressions to Finland, what will Estonia do?

A: Solidarity with Finland, EU’s solidarity towards Finland. Finland is concerned with cyber capacities. Finland wise to urgently join NATO when threatened.

Q: Education and e-solutions a tool for soft power for Estonia?

A: Digital image is the most radiating factor from Estonia. A very positive image. PISA test marketing. Selling education models, like Finland.

Q: On cyber warfare. Estonia’s initiations there.

A: Doing work. Club of cyber accidents… Cyber war capabilities not that considerate of countries’ wealth.

Q: On relations of Russia and Belarus in the future.

A: Belarus is trying to avoid to become part of Russia in any part, including in juristic. Putin’s outreach in Belarus is unknown. Some correlation between Putin polls and foreign aggression.