Estonia is not planning to attack anyone, but to deter possible attackers
The representatives of the factions of the Riigikogu discussed security topics in the Riigikogu Toimetised conversation circle on 15 November. Raivo Aeg (Pro Patria and Res Publica Union), Hannes Hanso (Social Democratic Party), Uno Kaskpeit (Conservative People’s Party of Estonia), Ants Laaneots (Estonian Reform Party), Ain Lutsepp (Estonian Free Party) and Tiit Terik (Estonian Centre Party) participated in the discussion.
Hannes Hanso: The plans we make have to be realistic and aimed at deterrence. Estonia has never made plans to attack anybody, and will not have such plans in the future either. In politics, diplomacy, and also in the defence sector, we simply have to do everything in order that nobody made any plans to attack Estonia. That the price the aggressor had to pay would be unproportionally high and not worth the effort. One of the issues here is our own defence capability, but the other side is how we have positioned ourselves in the international context – as a NATO ally, as a member of the European Union.
Ants Laaneots: Let us look at the broad-based national defence. The idea is that all people with all the means available in the country participate in national defence. It involves several components – naturally military defence, and also civil defence, economic defence, psychological defence, etc. Broad-based national defence strategy does not establish which government institution is specifically responsible and for what. That would be necessary, and it is also necessary to integrate the existing opportunities better.
Tiit Terik: Speaking about defending ourselves, I think that there should be three components present. First, the will to defend your country, second, the relevant knowledge and skills, and naturally also the means for it, or the arms. National defence, as in the case of broad-based national defence, is not only armed resistance to the aggressor, but also every citizen knowing what is their duty in the crisis situation. Or, every person in our country should be aware what is their task in the moment of crisis situation, and this does not always have to be armed resistance.
Uno Kaskpeit: We need civil defence. All shelters from the Soviet period have been demolished, and nobody thinks what should be in their place. And this at once raises the question that if we have a crisis, what we should do. Besides that, more attention should be paid to training the teams of conscripts. At least 85–90% of our young men should do conscription service. If they all are not fit for garrison service, they do not have to run. They will be taught army life, and how to use weapons. We should return to the territorial defence system.
Ain Lutsepp: Today’s world, in which we live, is undergoing great changes. In the present situation, it is not possible for countries to divide their security threats into domestic and external threats, or the responsibility of the police and the military intelligence. The threats are comprehensive. It is also necessary to take into account that when the cyber technology and all other military technologies are developing extremely rapidly, it is not the strongest that survive, but those who are able to adapt to those changes the most rapidly, and to react to them. The most important thing is how the society reacts to the changes in the security situation and is able to preserve the capability to defend its values.
Raivo Aeg: There are no more such things as conventional conflicts. All kinds of hybrid variants have emerged. We have this wisdom now. We have seen this in the example of Ukraine. However, the question today is what are the resources and activities that we have not seen yet, but the potential opponent is already planning and has not presented to us yet, so that we cannot take them into consideration. It is necessary to continue with implementing the broad-based national defence concept, and a strong coordinator is needed for that.