Baltic States Have Most to Fear from Trump Victory

The three Baltic republics rely on the NATO security commitment Donald Trump has called into question.

Estonian prime minister Taavi Rõivas and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen deliver a news conference in Brussels, April 3, 2014
Estonian prime minister Taavi Rõivas and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen deliver a news conference in Brussels, April 3, 2014 (NATO)

For Eastern Europe and the Baltic states in particular, a Donald Trump presidency could be disastrous. The Republican has created doubt about whether or not the United States would honor NATO’s collective defense clause, Article 5, under his leadership.

Hillary Clinton, the likely winner on Tuesday, will have to ease Eastern European anxieties while at the same time supporting a genuine European defense policy that is based on a considerable hike in budgets.

Vanguard

The Baltics have been the vanguards of higher defense spending. This is why it is so important that while the world’s eyes are set on the United States, a political crisis is unfolding in Estonia, arguably the showcase state of the former East Bloc and so far a staunch NATO ally.

Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas of the Reform Party, which has been in government since 1999, will probably be voted out of office this week and there is a fair chance that the next government will be lead by the opposition Center Party.

The Center Party has recently changed its pro-Russian leader to appear more presentable, but it aims to maintain a cooperation protocol with Vladimir Putin’s United Russia — a protocol that party leaders claim was never put in actual use.

The next American president may face a painful blow by Russia in a strategically important part of Europe.