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EU > Estonia > Kuressaare

World Politics

Kuressaare, EE (View on map)

11 September 2007. Six years have passed since it became obvious that the world would not be the same place again. Terrorism, fundamentalism and their counter-variants are at the same time fighting for freedom and destroying it. Far away from the real world, I am trying to get a hold of the Estonian view on global politics.

Aare (22):

`I want to join the professional army to make my contribution to world peace`
Aare (22, photo) is about to join Estonia`s professional army. He knows that he may have to join or replace his colleagues who are already serving in Iraq. Aare is not too fond of that idea, but he likes to work for the army and if that means he needs to go to Iraq, then that`s part of it. He sees his army ambitions as a contribution to world peace, and hopes to be able to help the situation calm-down. Mariana (18) has friends who are serving in Iraq. She doesn`t like the idea of that at all. But apart from worries about Estonian people serving in Iraq, she is not afraid of terrorism.

Everybody I speak to agrees that is not very likely that terrorism will set foot on Saaremaa soil. The island is far away om everywhere, it is quiet and even under Soviet occupation, it maintained a relatively independent status. Nobody really considers refraining from travelling, but some scary imaginations may pop up when they pass foreign airports on the way. As Tauno (22) puts it: 'there are a lot of crazy people on this planet, and a lot of misconceptions about religion.`

Villu (36) is convinced that terrorism is not a source of problems, but a result of those. He further lines out that Estonia as a nation tends to have sympathy with countries who are occuppied by other countries. `We know what it`s like to live under oppression of a nation that thinks it has the right to command you around.` He refers to the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel, but also mentions the crisis in Serbia. That case draws particular attention in Estonia, because of the involvement of Estonia`s neighbour Russia as a firm supporter to Serbia`s claimed rights to Kosovo.

Dubious motives
Priit (24) agrees that terrorist threat is hardly felt on the Saaremaa island, or even in Estonia as a whole. `It would not even make sense to attack Estonia, because it is such an insignificant country. It wouldn`t make interesting headlines. What reason would they have to attack Estonia?` Priit thinks that the United States have put the world in a dangerous position by starting the Iraq war on false pretences. He suspects that the reasons for going to war were mainly economical: domestic for a start to boost the industry and international to prevent Iraq from starting to sell oil in Euros. He calls the foreign policy of the United States typical behaviour for a superpower faced with fading hegemony.

The negative feelings towards the United States are balanced out in an unexpected way. When I ask Priit whether he fears to see Estonia under Russian rule again, for the third time that would be, he says that NATO and the EU will prevent that from happening. Just to be sure, I also checked whether people feared that the European Union would take over the position of the Soviet Union in reducing the role of the national government. But so far, that suggestion made people smile rather than worry.

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