Thursday, July 12, 2012

Of Banks, Thanks and Tanks

Further to this:

There is an ever-louder discussion of why exactly Estonia should help bail out the Southern Eurozone countries. Here's a link to an interview with our Finance Minister (in Estonian). Although the current cabinet is full of people who often speak more directly and more insultingly than most European politicians, and Ligi is one of those people, I think there is room for an independent voice to provide more clarity still.

We're part of the bailout because Germany wants us there, and why Germany is willing to bail out those countries is actually irrelevant to Estonia's own internal political discussion. Estonia has benefited very heavily from European solidarity in financial terms. Being on the other side of that solidarity now, helping out others instead of just receiving help, not only repays some of the moral debt we owe to Europe, but accrues moral credit. We're pulling our weight, even though it's a difficult thing for us to do, and we have good short-term reasons not to do it. It makes the rest of the continent see us as an integral part of Europe. It is a favor we're doing, and the fact that we're not doing it for our own obvious gain is what allows us to expect a favor from Europe at some indeterminate point in the future. And that's where it comes down to the unspoken but well-understood, and well-founded, paranoia that underlies Estonia's political discourse, the ultimate purpose that the failing, dysfunctional, spent generation of Estonian statespeople still understands far better than the millennial generation which takes Europe for granted.

A strong bond with a weak Europe is still Estonia's best geopolitical choice.

Today, Estonian money protects Spain's banks; so that tomorrow, Spain's tanks would protect Estonia's borders.

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