Pat Buchanan

All week, young toughs in Moscow have besieged the Estonian embassy to harass Ambassador Marina Kaljurand. Her bodyguards had to use a mace-like spray to drive back the thugs, who call Estonia a "fascist country." Estonian diplomats and their families are being pulled out of Moscow and sent home.

Relations between the countries are about to rupture, if the Kremlin does not reign in the bully-boys.

Behind this nasty quarrel is the decision by Estonia to move the giant statue of a Red Army soldier, and the remains of Soviet soldiers, from the center of its capital, Tallinn, to a military cemetery. In Tallinn, patriots and nationalists have clashed with citizens of Russian ancestry over the perceived insult to Mother Russia and the "liberators" of Estonia from the Nazis.

Both points of view in this quarrel are understandable.

To Russians, who lost millions of their grandfathers, fathers and uncles in the Great Patriotic War, the Red Army liberated Europe from Nazism, and their sacrifices ought to be honored. And the Estonians are a pack of ingrates.

To Estonians, the Red Army did not liberate anyone. Having won their independence from the Russian Empire in World War I, they were raped by Russia -- to whom they had been ceded as part of the Hitler-Stalin Pact. In June 1940, the Red Army stormed into the three Baltic republics, butchered the elites and shipped scores of thousands off to Stalin's labor camps never to be seen again.

While the Soviets were expelled from the Baltic republics by the Germans in 1941, they returned in 1944 and held the Baltic peoples in captivity until the Evil Empire collapsed. It was only then that Estonia regained her independence and freedom.

Why should Estonians honor a Red Army that brutalized them and, after driving out the Germans, re-enslaved them for half a century?

Why should this issue be of interest to America?

If President Putin decide the Estonians need a lesson, and sends troops to teach it, the United States, under NATO, would have to treat Russian intervention in Estonia as an attack upon the United States, and declare war on behalf of Estonia.

So we come face to face with the idiocy of having moved NATO onto Russia's front porch, and having given war guarantees to three little nations with historic animosities toward a nuclear power that has the ability to inflict 1,000 times the destruction upon us as Iran.

Latvia, too, is now a member of NATO. And Latvia, too, has a quarrel with Moscow over its treatment of the descendants of those Russians whom Stalin moved into Latvia to alter its ethnic character. Their children and grandchildren have grown up in Latvia, and know no other home, though they are unwelcome to ethnic Latvians.

Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
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