Paavo hurried, knowing his uncle Hillar was a stickler for punctuality.
Uncle Hillar stood beneath the flag, the thermos tucked beneath his arm as always. And as always, he tapped his watch with his finger.
“Oh, come on,” said Paavo. “I bet it’s not even two minutes.”
Hillar shook his head. “On time is on time, and anything after is late.”
He unscrewed the cap and poured two cups of the bitter coffee they both loved. “So, what is new on your internets?”
Paavo smiled, despite the grimness of his news. “It looks like Putin is going to do it. If he invades, Kaljulaid will have to invoke Article V. After that…” He trailed off.
“Let me tell you something, nephew. When I was a boy, Stalin tried to crush us. Then Hitler, then Stalin again. But in 1991 we finally won our freedom.” Hillar sipped his coffee. “Estonians don’t crush so easily.”
A note on this story:
When Estonia regained its independence after the Soviet collapse in 1991, Narva became a border town. Street signs are in Estonian script and official business is carried out in Estonian. Anyone who becomes a citizen must speak the language. But most of Narva’s population is ethnically Russian, and many are either Russian citizens or stateless residents of Estonia with gray “alien passports.”
Western security officials fear this makes Narva a prime target for Vladimir Putin, who might mimic Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014,
But doing this in Estonia would have major consequences: Estonia is a member of NATO. Article V of NATO’s Washington Treaty requires the 29 member countries, including and especially the United States, to come to the defense of other member states.
Anyone paying attention to current events has grave reason to be concerned. World War I began over much less.