The military historian and former presidential adviser Leo Kunnas said the Central African Reupblic (CAR) mission was not a NATO operation and as such, Estonia should not take part in it.
"We should focus on NATO operations, as we have few resources and we need them to build our own primary independent defense capability," said Kunnas, a lieutenant colonel in the reserves, in an interview with uudised.err.ee.
He added that one strong military organisation - NATO - was better than having two weak ones, which he said would in that case be NATO and the EU.
He said the European powers could not equal the US. "That transatlantic tie is very important for us," he said.
Kunnas cited Denmark, which has made it a policy not to take part in EU military operations but only in NATO, as an example for Estonia to follow.
Another reason not to participate in the CAR mission, according to Kunnas, is that France, the organizer of the mission, has what he called close military ties with Russia.
"France has its own national interests in relations with Russia. It cooperates closely with Russia on weaponry and equipment and a certain part of it could be used against us in the event of war," he said referring to the Mistrals France has built for Russia. "Should we be thanking France for the cooperation?"
Kunnas's third reason was the fact that Estonia had never taken part in colonizing Africa - not as an independent state, as part of tsarist Russia or as part of the Soviet Union.
The Cabinet has made a decision, subject to approval by Parliament, to send up to 55 troops the CAR for a price tag of 2.7 million euros.