“The Brussels Diary With Yana Toom”: Helme, Trump Dream and European Union


Мart Helme is no longer the Minister of the Interior. Some say it serves him right. Of course others stress that the man had to step down because he told the truth – that the US election was rigged etc. etc.

I am ambivalent. It’s no secret that I am not fond of Helme. However, the official reaction astonished me. On the one hand, it is permitted to show resentment towards Russians, black people and gays. I suppose, what can we do? It’s called freedom of speech. On the other hand, when Mart Helme with the same mouth expresses his views on the US, that proceeds to break the camel’s back – it’s the end of the world! The president quickly convenes the national defence committee! There was an attack on our primary ally! The security of Estonia is threatened!

For once, even I agree with Reinsalu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in that the U.S. knows itself what to do and our politicians have to be responsible for what is happening in our own country. For some reason, though, Reinsalu only cares about that when the US is criticised. When the talk is about Russia, he himself behaves the same way. I googled some news titles: ‘Reinsalu encourages Russia to adhere to the country's constitution’, ‘Reinsalu: Estonia condemns the attempts of Russia to falsify history’, ‘Reinsalu again claimed that there is a threat from “unpredictable Russia”’ and so on.

The actions of a state should be logical. If we are truth-tellers, then let us express our especially valuable opinions about everybody and not judge Helme. If we do judge Helme, then let us tone down our rhetoric about the country that is actually right next to us, which cannot be said about the US. Let us not spoil relations with our neighbour – otherwise, Estonia's security could indeed be put on the line.

If we are bold – then let us go forward; let us call out others. However, I do not remember our president responding in the same to Trump when in November 2018 at the meeting with her and the leaders of Latvia and Lithuania he confused the Baltic States with the Balkans and bundled us all in together in the break-up of Yugoslavia. For some reason, we were either timid or confused at that time. After all, our main ally.

I repeat – I am ambivalent about this situation. Unfortunately, I listened to the radio broadcast and even dropped my knife into my soup. Mart Helme spoke about having a dream before the U.S. elections: that Trump was walking on a field covered with blood and strewn with intestines. And then Helme understood that Trump would win!

The scary part is not criticism of the US as such but that a government minister earnestly describes his dreams complete with intestines and Trump. This craziness affects all others – ministers, diplomats, members of the European parliament. The EU is just not used to politicians' erotic fantasies and stories about intestines. One rotten apple spoils the barrel; and here, in Brussels, the mental incompetence of one minister casts a shadow over the reputation of the entire country. ‘What? This person was elected in Estonia? And you wanted to become the rapporteur of this social issue? Well, you see, we have a queue here ...’

Other than that – no, Estonia will not be kicked out of the NATO and EU for that. We do want Europe to take us seriously, though. To achieve that, we need principles and to refrain from spouting nonsense on air.