Defense Minister Delivers 'Deterrence Doctrine' Address in Parliament (2)
Defense Minister Sven Mikser delivered a political address in Parliament today, saying Europe was facing its stiffest security challenges in 20 years, outlining the achievements of the Wales summit, which he called considerable, and ending by returning to the hope and resolve installed by US President Barack Obama and other leaders this year.
"Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea do not threaten only the survival of European security architecture but it is also a direct challenge to alliance members with border on Russia, their security and sense of security," Mikser said.
"If Putin's aggressive and expansionistic policies were not met with a clear and unequivocal response, he said, it could encourage the Kremlin to take future provocative and aggressive steps against neighbors," he warned.
But he also credited NATO's Wales summit last week with laying down specific measures for making sure NATO would have the capacity to deal with the threats and communicated the deterrent power clearly.
"Although reaching a 2 percent defense spending level cannot take place realistically overnight, it is positive that Wales brought some concrete pledges in this regard."
Members who spend less than 2 percent undertook to increase spending to that level in 10 years, while all members would make sure 20 percent of their defense spending would be on major investments and R&D, Mikser noted.
"I have also heard claims that the Estonian government should have demanded and brought home even more. It can be said that eating whets the appetite for more, but certainly it should be understood that NATO is no souq or bazaar where you start by making an offer 10 times the actual value and [...] then reach a more reasonable agreement. The notion that we get a battalion by asking for a division" dates from the time Estonia had to contend with Moscow planning committees, he said.