The CW is perhaps best known for its vampires and gossip girls. That’s why viewers may be intrigued to know the network’s new show “The Messengers,” goes beyond the halls of high school to tackle in depth questions about faith and the fight between good and evil.
“Nothing is a coincidence,” says the narrator, meaning the comet that races toward Earth in the first episode is not just a random occurrence. The object crashes to earth and its impact instantly kills five people. But the story doesn’t end there. All five people killed by the comet reawaken to find out they are chosen as Angels of the Apocalypse, gifted with special powers to fight the Devil and save humanity. Scientist Vera Buckley is working in a New Mexico desert when she experiences the life changing event. More on the main characters and their unique tasks:
Vera is not the only one affected by the blast; she is instantly and mysteriously connected to four other strangers, who also collapse only to miraculously come back to life: Erin Calder, a young mother desperate to protect her 7-year-old daughter from an abusive ex-husband; Peter Moore, a troubled high school student who finally lashes out to end the constant bullying he can no longer endure; Raul Garcia, a federal agent looking to escape his undercover assignment in a violent Mexican drug cartel; and Joshua Silburn, Jr., a charismatic second-generation televangelist following in his father’s footsteps – all awaken after the blast with extraordinary gifts, from inexplicable strength to the ability to heal others.
Executive Producer Trey Callaway, who has worked on apocalyptic-type shows in the past such as NBC’s “Revolution,” explained that “The Messengers” is based on the book of Revelation. However, he said the show is more than just religion. In fact, he told Townhall, it has a little bit of everything.
“You can watch it regardless of what you believe in, whether or not you believe in anything at all and you can feel bonded to these characters," Callaway explained. "You can relate to them and their struggles, individually and collectively and at the end of every episode, there’s a moment that yanks your heart out a little bit and makes you feel a sense of love and hope and purpose that you share with your common man, regardless of where you’re coming from. It’s sexy and it’s romantic and it’s all kinds of things that I know I look for when I watch a TV series; but in addition, it’s got some real emotion in it.”
The intriguing plot line is brought to life by a very talented cast. Perhaps the most interesting casting of all is the actor who was tapped to play The Man (Devil), Diogo Morgado. Morgado, a popular actor from Portugal, just happened to play Jesus in “The Bible” miniseries.
Jon Fletcher plays Joshua (pictured above), a preacher poised to take over a mega church in Texas. He spoke with Townhall about his immediate interest in the script.
“It’s rare that something comes along that really just grabs you," Fletcher said. "So much material during pilot season gets sent and this was one that just jumped off the page to me…Joshua, it’s such an interesting journey he goes on....The thing they preach is prosperity and when he has his reawakening and dies and comes back, it’s a very different God that speaks to him. His faith is immediately rocked and it sets him off on this path that’s going to get darker before he comes back to the light. All of that was just a lot of depth and shades to play. That was quite exciting.”
Although “The Messengers” features supernatural twists and turns, Fletcher insisted the program never strays too far from reality.
“The personal struggles each one of the characters brings to the table before they’re responsible for saving the world, we don’t shy away from any of that. Being Angels is just another thing to add to their lives. They still have to deal with family, make sure their kids are okay. That’s also what makes it relatable and keeps it real. They don’t just get these gifts and they’re off on this journey trying to save the world – their real lives keep coming back to affect and haunt them.”
Callaway added that there is one more feature that makes "The Messengers" especially appealing.
“I think what really makes ‘The Messengers’ stand out for me is this sort of overarching sense of hope that comes out of it. There’s a lot of heart and a lot of hope in it. That’s one of the things that we’re most proud of.”
“The Messengers” is produced by CBS Television Series and Warner Bros. Entertainment, in association with Thunder Road Pictures. It premieres Friday, April 17 on The CW at 9 p.m. ET.
Hillary Clinton can’t seem to escape her email troubles. After admitting to a private email account, deleting over 30,000 emails she deemed personal, and refusing to turn over the server to an independent third party for review, partially because it had been wiped clean; we find out that she was asked about her personal email address in December of 2012. Around that same time, it was discovered former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson had a second email account under the pseudonym “Richard Windsor.” The LA Times reported on Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), then-Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and his investigation into Obama administration officials using personal email to communicate with staff and other government officials. It was alleged that they did this to circumvent FOIA statutes.
Rep. Issa's letter to Clinton asked if the former secretary of state had used a private email address. The State Department never responded until Clinton had left her cabinet position, only giving the committee the department protocols for using email (via NYT) [emphasis mine]:
Hillary Rodham Clinton was directly asked by congressional investigators in a December 2012 letter whether she had used a private email account while serving as secretary of state, according to letters obtained by The New York Times.
But Mrs. Clinton did not reply to the letter. And when the State Department answered in March 2013, nearly two months after she left office, it ignored the question and provided no response.
The query was posed to Mrs. Clinton in a Dec. 13, 2012, letter from Representative Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Mr. Issa was leading an investigation into how the Obama administration handled its officials’ use of personal email.
“Have you or any senior agency official ever used a personal email account to conduct official business?” Mr. Issa wrote to Mrs. Clinton. “If so, please identify the account used.”
Mr. Issa also asked Mrs. Clinton, “Does the agency require employees to certify on a periodic basis or at the end of their employment with the agency they have turned over any communications involving official business that they have sent or received using nonofficial accounts?”
Mr. Issa’s letter also sought written documentation of the department’s policies for the use of personal email for government business. Mrs. Clinton left the State Department on Feb. 1, 2013, seven weeks after the letter was sent to her.
When Mr. Issa received a response from the State Department on March 27, all he got was a description of the department’s email policies. According to the letter, any employee using a personal account “should make it clear that his or her personal email is not being used for official business.”
Well, it’s no wonder why a majority of voters in swing states don’t think she’s honest. Additionally, it reinforces the notion that State is still highly protective of the former first lady; Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin noted that many reporters strongly believe this. Also, is this another example of the Clintons playing by their own rules? If this happened, how can State just ignore a letter sent by the House Oversight Committee chairman? Nevertheless, we probably would have discovered Hillary’s private email address sooner if the department had an Inspector General. The official position was vacant for the entirety of Hillary’s tenure as secretary of state. Again, this development speaks to the 2016 prohibitive Democratic nominee’s honesty and integrity. Even the most die-hard Clintonites have to be saying to themselves that the optics–and this whole situation in general–didn’t look good before–and it’s now worse.
It's tax day 2015 and the RNC is reminding voters about how long, chaotic, wasteful, inefficient and well, taxing, the U.S. tax code is.
Two weeks ago, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said the agency ignores 60 percent of calls from taxpayers due to a lack of resources. Strangely, the IRS has found time and money to produce videos, purchase furniture and to buy toys for the agency.
While you’re busting your butt to pay the Internal Revenue Service, your friends at the IRS are in the middle of a wild spending spree.
The Daily Caller obtained a letter that Senate Finance Committee chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch sent to IRS commissioner John Koskinen Tuesday that revealed a bunch of insane purchases the IRS recently made, including a few million dollars in office furniture on the eve of the end of the fiscal year (when agencies have to spend the rest of their budget or else face budget cuts the next year).
President Obama has packed more than 20 new tax increases into his proposed 2016 budget, which Republicans roundly blasted Monday as a tax-and-spend agenda that won't get their support.
Together, the tax increases total more than $2 trillion over the next decade. The president plans to use much of that to fund new middle-class tax cuts, as well as ambitious spending programs for highway construction, education benefits and more.
Comment below about your tax experience this year.
Two years ago today two bombs exploded near the finish line at the annual Boston Marathon. Horrifying photos immediately began circulating in the aftermath of the devastation, an act of terrorism which left three young people dead.* Those of us not present that day wondered how, in both our rage and anguish, such wanton violence could have happened at such a peaceful and family-friendly event.
Fast forward two years and one of the perpetrators will never harm anyone again and his brother faces the death penalty. But today should not be about the terrorists. It should be about those who have survived and who have shown remarkable courage after living through such a traumatic and life-changing experience. It should be about those who were exhausted after running 26.2 miles but ran to the nearest hospital to donate blood anyway. It should be about those who opened their homes and their lives to shaken spectators and runners. And above all, it should be about honoring the victims and remembering their families.
From the governor of Massachusetts:
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, who seek to make sense of that awful day two years ago. #OneBostonDay— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) April 15, 2015
Those most affected by the events of 2 years ago have shown us all the way back - with their courage, grace & determination. #OneBostonDay— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) April 15, 2015
They honor the past, remember & treasure loved ones lost & injured, & look forward to a better future. We strive for the same. #OneBostonDay— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) April 15, 2015
From the mayor of Boston:
Please join us in a moment of silence today. pic.twitter.com/pujsnOeDdk— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) April 15, 2015
From Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA):
In the face of this horrific terrorist attack, Boston came together to lift each other up & help us heal. #OneBostonDay— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) April 15, 2015
Today, we honor the victims & survivors of the Marathon bombing with the 1st annual #OneBostonDay – giving back through acts of service.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) April 15, 2015
Learn more about #OneBostonDay here.
*UPDATE: Officer Sean Collier was also shot and killed by the terrorists as they were trying to flee Boston.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday approved legislation requiring President Barack Obama to send a final nuclear deal with Iran to Congress for review after adjusting the bill to make it more palatable to many Democrats. The White House initially opposed the bill, but Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the compromise measure appeared to address many of the administration’s concerns, and that Mr. Obama would be willing to sign it. The unanimous committee vote reflected the strong support for the bill by both parties, including Democrats who were persuaded to back the compromise written by the committee’s chairman, Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), and its top Democrat, Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland.
Under their agreement, Congress would have 30 days to initially review a final agreement struck to diminish Iran’s nuclear capabilities. The measure was already close to a veto-proof majority in Congress. Lawmakers would then be able to vote to approve or disapprove the deal or take no action. If Congress passed a resolution rejecting the deal, Mr. Obama would have 12 days to veto the measure. If he vetoed it, Congress would have 10 days to try to override his veto, which requires a two-thirds majority…The agreement Tuesday would also remove a provision requiring the president to certify that Iran isn’t directly involved in carrying out terrorist attacks against the U.S. and American citizens. Instead, the administration would have to provide detailed reports to Congress on Iran’s terrorist activities and certify to lawmakers every 90 days that Iran is complying with the nuclear agreement.
Vladimir Putin blew a geopolitical raspberry at the Obama Administration on Monday by authorizing the sale of Russia’s S-300 missile system to Iran. The Kremlin is offering the mullahs an air-defense capability so sophisticated that it would render Iran’s nuclear installations far more difficult and costly to attack should Tehran seek to build a bomb. Feeling better about that Iranian nuclear deal now? The origins of this Russian sideswipe go back to 2007, when Moscow and Tehran signed an $800 million contract for delivery of five S-300 squadrons. But in 2010 then-President Dmitry Medvedev stopped the sale under pressure from the U.S. and Israel. The United Nations Security Council the same year passed an arms-embargo resolution barring the sale of major conventional systems to the Tehran regime. That resolution is still in effect, but the Kremlin no longer feels like abiding by it. With the latest negotiating deadline passed and without any nuclear agreement in place, Moscow will dispatch the S-300s “promptly” to the Islamic Republic, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
Yesterday President Obama announced he was taking Cuba off of the state sponsor of terror list just shortly after meeting with dictator Raul Castro at a summit in Panama. His argument? Cuba hasn't engaged in terror sponsorship in six months, so they've been taken off.
In his report to Congress, Obama certified that “the government of Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding six-month period,” and “has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.”
Obama's given reason to remove Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism is something: pic.twitter.com/E7COe1o6vC— Doug Powers (@ThePowersThatBe) April 15, 2015
Never mind the decades of terror sponsorship from the communist state. What about activity from seven months ago, does that count?
As I noted yesterday, Cuba is in fact still a state sponsor of terror and its allies are enemies of the United States. One of those enemies is Iran, the world's biggest sponsor of terrorism against the U.S. and Israel around the world through Hezbollah and Hamas. More from the Center for Security Policy:
Iran, Cuba and Venezuela have developed a close and cooperative relationship against the U.S. and in support of terrorist groups and states. The three regimes increasingly coordinate their policies and resources in a three way partnership aimed at counteracting and circumventing U.S. policies in the Middle East and Latin America. Within this relationship, Cuba plays a strategic role in terms of geography (proximity to the U.S.), intelligence gathering (both electronic eavesdropping and human espionage) and logistics.
President Obama has once again chosen a far-left legacy over U.S. national security.
DNC Chairwoman and late term abortion advocate Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who threatened to call President Obama a sexist if he fired her after the 2014 midterm elections, is concerned GOP presidential candidate and Senator Rand Paul wants to "let women die."
"We believe a decision on a woman’s reproductive choices is best left between a woman and her doctor and I am still waiting for Rand Paul to say whether or not he supporting exceptions when a woman is raped, going to force a woman to carry a baby to term and not allow her to make that choice? When she’s the victim of rape, the victim of incest? Are we going to let a woman die? Would Rand Paul let a woman die because she’s carrying a baby or is he going to let her make that choice with her doctor?" she said during an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer last night.
Interesting how Wasserman Schultz didn't mention late term abortionist Kermit Gosnell and all of the women he let die in his filthy "clinic."
When asked about aborting a 7-month old baby, Wasserman Schultz is heard laughing before doubling down on the Democrat Party stance of being "pro-choice." You can watch by clicking on the image below.
During an interview with The Kelly File, Wasserman Schultz tripled down on providing zero restrictions for abortion, even in the third trimester.
Despite what Wasserman Schultz and the DNC will claim, that their abortion stance is in line with the women of America, it isn't. According to 2014 polling from Marist, the vast majority of Americans, including those who identify as pro-choice and women, oppose late term abortion and believe it should be banned after three months of pregnancy.
A new survey of Americans finds strong support for abortion restrictions – including among those who identify as “strongly pro-choice.” Eighty-four percent of Americans would limit abortion to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy, with 58 percent of strongly pro-choice Americans supporting such limits.
The Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll also found that almost three-quarters of Americans (74 percent) favor a ban on abortions after 20 weeks except to save the life of the mother, a majority of Americans (53 percent) believe life begins at conception, and more than 6 in 10 (62 percent) think abortion is morally wrong.
More than 8 in 10 Americans (84 percent) do not see the abortion debate as an all or nothing proposition, saying that laws can protect both the well-being of a woman and the life of the unborn.
Other key findings of the survey include:
• 80 percent support parental notification before a minor can obtain an abortion.
• 79 percent support a 24-hour waiting period prior to having an abortion.
• 76 percent oppose allowing abortions to be performed by non-doctors.
• 62 percent want to change laws to allow for some restrictions on abortion.
• 58 percent support showing a woman an ultrasound image of her baby at least a day before an abortion.
• 57 percent believe abortion does a woman more harm than good in the long run.
• 55 percent — including 6 in 10 Millennials (adults 18 to 32) — want continued debate on the abortion issue.
On a related note, the survey also found that more than 7 in 10 Americans (71 percent) also believe that freedom of religion should be protected above government laws.
Liberal Democrats running the Party are the extremists, not Rand Paul or those who believe in abolishing late-term abortion.H/T Mediaite
It’s the feminist left’s favorite issue: equal pay. The inaccurate 77¢ statistic gets replayed over the airwaves, and the false war on women narratives get rehashed. Of course, no one is for wage discrimination. Well, at least sentient beings are not for justifying pay discrepancies based on gender. There are two federal laws on the books that prohibit pay discrimination based on gender. Also, American women are killing it, but it appears those leading the feminist charge are more content with Perpetual War theory than acknowledging that the pay gap has an expiration date–and that young women today have virtually wiped it out.
Let’s discuss the laws that prohibit pay discrimination. Before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, he signed the Equal Pay Act into law:
Prohibition of sex discrimination
(1) No employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section shall discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees in such establishment at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in such establishment for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where such payment is made pursuant to (i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (iv) a differential based on any other factor other than sex: Provided, That an employer who is paying a wage rate differential in violation of this subsection shall not, in order to comply with the provisions of this subsection, reduce the wage rate of any employee.
(2) No labor organization, or its agents, representing employees of an employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section shall cause or attempt to cause such an employer to discriminate against an employee in violation of paragraph (1) of this subsection.
(3) For purposes of administration and enforcement, any amounts owing to any employee which have been withheld in violation of this subsection shall be deemed to be unpaid minimum wages or unpaid overtime compensation under this chapter.
(4) As used in this subsection, the term “labor organization” means any organization of any kind, or any agency or employee representation committee or plan, in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment, or conditions of work.
Then, we have Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act:
UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES
SEC. 2000e-2. [Section 703]
(a) Employer practices
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer -
(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or
(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
(b) Employment agency practices
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employment agency to fail or refuse to refer for employment, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, or to classify or refer for employment any individual on the basis of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
(c) Labor organization practices
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for a labor organization-
(1) to exclude or to expel from its membership, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;
(2) to limit, segregate, or classify its membership or applicants for membership, or to classify or fail or refuse to refer for employment any individual, in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities, or would limit such employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee or as an applicant for employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or
(3) to cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against an individual in violation of this section.
Right now, young women are out-earning their male peers in urban areas; a statement confirmed as “mostly true” by left-leaning Politifact. The Wall Street Journal reported how well young American women were doing five years ago. This isn’t news; some studies show that women earn the same amount of money as men (via MarketWatch):
American women are winners, although it’s hard to believe from the Equal Pay Day rhetoric. Department of Education data show that in 2012, the latest available, they earned 57% of bachelor’s degrees, 60% of master’s degrees and 51% of doctorates, as well as almost half of doctor of medicine and law degrees. The unemployment rate for adult women, at 4.9%, is now lower than that for adult men, at 5.1%.
The latest figures show that comparing men and women who work 40 hours weekly yields a wage ratio of 90%, even before accounting for different education, jobs or experience, which brings the wage ratio closer to 95%. Many studies, such as those by Professor June O’Neill of Baruch College and Professor Marianne Bertrand of the University of Chicago, show that when women work at the same jobs as men, with the same accumulated lifetime work experience, they earn essentially the same salary.
The changing job market has certainly allowed women to adapt and increase their economic influence in America’s job market. From this infographic from NerdWallet, you can see how male-dominated jobs are on the decline, while sectors of the economy where women rule have increased substantially. Gentlemen, the days of not obtaining a college degree and making it into the middle class through construction and manufacturing are coming to a close.
They also found 22 cities where women outearn men.
Yet, there are many ways to cut the pay gap data. According to Pew Research, young women now make 93¢–not 77¢–for every dollar made by their male peers. That’s “essentially the same.” Moreover, each new bloc of young women has increased their earnings in five-year intervals starting from 1980. While the overall gap for women in the workforce is now around 84¢ for every dollar men make, it used to be 64¢ in 1980. It’s tremendous progress. Yet, there are a number of reasons why a pay gap still exists:
In spite of its narrowing, the gender pay gap persists. Why is this? In our survey, women were more likely to say they had taken career interruptions to care for their family. And research has shown that these types of interruptions can have an impact on long-term earnings. Roughly four-in-ten mothers say they have taken a significant amount of time off from work (39%) or reduced their work hours (42%) to care for a child or other family member. Roughly a quarter (27%) say they have quit work altogether to take care of these familial responsibilities. (Fewer men say the same. For example, just 24% of fathers say they have taken a significant amount of time off to care for a child or other family member.)
Even though women have increased their presence in higher-paying jobs traditionally dominated by men, such as professional and managerial positions, women as a whole continue to work in lower-paying occupations than men do. And some part of the pay gap may also be due to gender discrimination –women are about twice as likely as men to say they had been discriminated against at work because of their gender (18% vs. 10%).
Caring for a family member or raising a child shouldn’t be blamed for pay gap disparity, nor should picking a field of study that doesn’t necessarily yield high pay upon entering the job market. Yet, when it comes to discrimination, it should be challenged–and women have existing federal laws they can cite in any potential lawsuit they may file if they feel shortchanged in the workplace.
In all, it’s already against the law to pay someone less based on gender. As for the pay gap, there are many ways to cut it, and it’s not a black and white issue. But American women are rising–and the gap is closing. So, can we retire the 77¢ myth?
Last Note: How do feminists feel about the White House paying their female staffers less than male staffers? Were they outraged when Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dianne Fiennstein (D-CA), and soon-to-be former Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), were exposed for also paying their female staffer less than their male peers, while pushing for the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2012?
I can wait.
With tension high in the Baltic States over the possibility of a Russian invasion, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has called for a permanent NATO force to be stationed in the state to preempt Russian aggression.
In response, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, currently on a state visit to Estonia, has assured Estonian officials of German support in a quick response to any such attack.
“Your concerns are also our concerns,” Von der Leyen told reporters in Tallinn, according to Deutsche Welle. She explained that Estonia should not “underestimate NATO's response capabilities.”
But Ilves’ request may not be an underestimation. He remains skeptical that NATO forces would be successful in fending off a Russian invasion, simply due to the response time that would be required to quell the aggression.
“It would get here in, what, a week? Five days?” Ilves said in an interview with The Telegraph last weekend. “But if you look at the exercises that are done by our neighbour, they’re basically instantaneous. They’re here and it’s over in four hours.”
NATO is currently setting up a “very high readiness Spearhead Force” of 5,000 troops. Lead elements of the force are able to move within 48 hours of a call, a NATO official told Townhall.
NATO Force Integration Units were established in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania after a defense meeting in February 2015 to facilitate the rapid deployment of NATO forces to the region, but no NATO troops have been permanently deployed to the area.
“NATO will defend all allies against any threat,” a NATO official told Townhall. “Since the start of the crisis caused by Russia's aggressive actions in Ukraine we've enhanced our presence in the east of the alliance with more planes, ships and forces… If anyone would even think of attacking an ally, they would be met by all 28 NATO allies.”
Nevertheless, it is increasingly clear that Russia is preparing for action.
“We have observed a dramatic increase in military flights,” Ilves said. “We have seen massive snap exercises at our borders. We have seen a heightened level of antagonistic rhetoric and threatening rhetoric where Estonia is not singled out, but we are part of a group of countries who are mentioned in a threatening way.”
Estonia shares 183 miles of border with Russia, of which much is accessible by lake. The northern border town Narva is a prime target for Russian forces.
“We are very appreciative of the arrival of U.S. troops last spring,” Tanel Sepp, Deputy Chief of Mission of Estonia’s Embassy in Washington told Townhall. “There was no question whether the U.S. and NATO troops were necessary.”
Training exercises with nations throughout the NATO alliance are increasingly frequent in the Baltics.
“We get exercises that take place behind our borders that have 40,000 to 80,000 soldiers,” Ilves said. “Yet we are accused of escalating the situation – or the United States is accused because they are the only ones with boots on the ground here – and Russia says that it will have to take counter-measures.”
In May, armed forces from Belgium, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States will assemble for a large training exercise in Estonia called “Siil,” which means “Hedgehog” in Estonian.
“Siil” will be “the biggest military exercise in the history of Estonia,” Sepp told Townhall.
The Baltic states will rely on NATO forces in the case of a Russian attack, but the key in support -- and the reason for Ilves’ statement -- is timing. Estonia’s capital city Tallinn is a short two-and-a-half hour drive from the Russian border. A 48-hour scramble time for NATO forces may be too late.
And such a support failure would have colossal consequences.
“If someone says ‘no’, at that point NATO ceases to exist,” Ilves said. “The minute a collective alliance fails to live up to its agreement to collective defence, then from that moment on, everybody is on the run.”
"The guy in the orange pants is pretty quick!"