Briefs

Estonia - 22-29 January 2016

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • EESTI - 22-29 jaanuar 2016  Artiklit saab lugeda ka eesti keeles
1. „USA excludes Baltic States from NATO

In the beginning of December last year, Forbes published an article by Doug Bandow titled „Why Is America In NATO? Adding Montenegro As Another Meaningless Facebook Friend“ . The article contained a short paragraph on Baltic States:

Expansion to the Baltic States turns out to have been a huge mistake, bringing in helpless nations which the rest of Europe has no interest in defending, countries of no geopolitical importance to America but involved in bitter disputes with Russia. If anything bad happens, America will be expected to confront, with minimal support from its European “allies”—who likely will run for cover in Brussels—nuclear-armed Russia over a controversy of far greater interest in Moscow than Washington. U.S. security has suffered dramatically from adding Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.“

Based on that short paragraph and the comment by Nikolay Dimlevich, advisor of the Russian High-Tech Development Foundation, given to Radio Sputnik, on 12th of January, RIA Novosti published an article titled „Политолог: Forbes дал "щелчок по носу" лидерам Прибалтики“ („Political scientist: Forbes brought Baltic leaders down a peg“) . 
The article stated that:

-  Forbes is not just another journal; it reflects the views of highest political and economic elite of United States; - the economic and political elite of United States do not understand why NATO needs Baltic States;
- the Forbes’s article gave the signal to the leaders of the Baltic states that it is necessary to reduce the anti-Russian hysteria;
- the leaders of the Baltic States constantly provoke NATO; 
- the Baltic States do not contribute to their own defense;
- the Baltic States are like little dogs who bark at an elephant, and Forbes brought Baltic leaders down a peg.

There are several factual and logical fallacies in the article: 

False facts. It is not true that Baltic States do not contribute to their own defense. Estonian defense budget is 2% of GDP (Estonia is one of the few NATO members who meets NATO's defense budget goals )
Facts vs interpretation. The article in Forbes said nothing about anti-Russian hysteria of the leaders of the Baltic States. 
Totum pro parte (the whole for a part): the views of Doug Bandow are shown as equal to the views of Forbes, and the views of Forbes are shown as equal to the political elite of the United States. Doug Bandow is used in position of which it is only a part and is not representative for the whole.

At the same day, Rubaltic.ru published the article titled „The Americans are Considering Excluding the Baltics from NATO“  (the web page address says „Baltics go home“. The article stated that:
  
- The Baltic States are the dead weight to Washington, which USA will drop overboard as soon as the need arises.
- Since Forbes hasn’t said a single word about “imperial ambitions” or “aggressive neighbor”, the conflict between Russia and the Baltics, as expressed America’s leading business journal, is mainly the Baltics’ fault. 
- Baltic States provoke Russia, but at the same time they are too small and defenseless to take the responsibility and expect others to do it on their behalf.
- The United States put itself under the threat of nuclear war with Russia due to verbal incontinence of the leaders of Baltic States.
- The Forbes article is not just an article, because Forbes is not just a business journal. Forbes is the journal through which the United States business and political elite speak their minds. 

Additionally to the fallacies made in RIA Novosti article, Rubaltic´s article takes one step further on the scale of totum pro parte (the whole for a part): not only the views of Doug Bandow are shown as equal to the views of Forbes, and the views of Forbes are shown as equal to the political elite of the United States, but also the views of the political elite of the United States are shown as the views of Washington, which means, these are the views of the United States of America. 

Argumentum ex silentio (an argument from silence). Since there was nothing said in Forbes´s article about “imperial ambitions” or “aggressive neighbor”, the Forbes’s position is that the Baltic States are responsible of the conflict between Russia and the Baltic States. The conclusion is drawn from the absence of comment.

These two articles (and the original one in Forbes) were brought up again on 26th of January in two versions. 
Newsinfo.ru published a piece titled “Forbes: Прибалтике надо перестать быть цепной собакой США”  (“Forbes: The Baltic States must stop being the chain dog of the United States”), where was said that:

The Baltic States act like a chain dogs of the United States, but they bark too loud. As we know, some owner cut vocal chords of hysterical dogs in order to reduce excessive barking.

Another article at the same day was published in Внешнеэкономические связи (Foreign Economic Relations) titled „В США бьют тревогу: Прибалтика перегнула палку в адрес России“  („The alarm from United States: Baltic States have gone too far against Russia“), where was said that:

It has been realized in the United States that to keep the Baltic States in NATO is useless for the States, and the advise was given to Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia to restrain from the anti-Russian hysteria.

In both articles the source of the information was blurred: for the reader it´s easy to make the conclusion that that was Forbes (or even Washington) who blamed the Baltic States on having “anti-Russian hysteria” instead of the commentator Nikolay Dimlevich. 

In the beginning of February, Eesti Päevaleht, Estonian daily newspaper, published the opinion article by Yana Toom, member of European Parliament and Center Party of Estonia, titled “We need the honest debate on the goals of Estonian foreign policy”  The article was also published online, both in Estonian and Russian . 
Yana Toom wrote in the article: 

- Estonia supports Washington’s attempt to isolate Russia; 
- Russia would start the military actions on Estonian borders only if it needs to; the presence of NATO in Estonia does not decrease the threat but increases it.

The Estonian and Russian versions of the article had altogether 326 comments, and many of them were supportive towards Yana Toom´s ideas. 

2. Other cases

- On the Finno-Ugric nations attempt to create “progressively, steadily and systematically, and most importantly – quietly“ the “Finno-Ugric world” as a contrast to “Russian world” and as the important component in the information war to fight Russian imperialism .