The US ambassador to Estonia – a NATO ally on the fringes of Russia – abruptly resigned on Friday, telling friends that he could not comply with President Trump's apparent hostility towards institutions that had stabilized Europe since the end of the Cold War.
James D. Melville Jr.'s Decision The task of the embassy comes at a crucial moment for independent countries along Russia's western border – amidst the possibility of military conflict and as Trump suggests, America's traditional support for its Moscow allies Reconsider shadows.
"The honorable course is to resign" Melville wrote on Facebook. "Since I served under six presidents and eleven secretaries of state, I never thought it would reach that point for me."
He added, "The President said that [European Union] was set up The advantage of the United States to attack our piggy bank, or" NATO is as bad as the NAFTA "is not only factually wrong, but proves to me that it's time to go. "
Estonia is one of several formerly Soviet states – controlled states that have joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – essentially with the United States and Western Europe, whose military protects Estonia from Russian aggression.
Located between Russia and the Baltic Sea, small Estonia has been particularly cautious of former occupiers since 2007, when a massive cyber attack by Russian servers crippled the Estonian government, banks and news organizations, according to the BBC
Since then, Russia has deployed forces to other neighboring states – Georgia and Ukrain – posted e – fears that one day it might target the Baltic States.
Shortly before the US presidential elections in 2016, the Washington Post documented how NATO fighter jets routinely stormed Russian warplanes from an Estonian air force base. Both Russia and NATO have recently conducted military exercises that some analysts view as barely disguised simulations of a war over the Baltic.
As for the leaders of the two most powerful countries in this conflict: Russian President Vladimir Putin sounds more and more rigorous. Many Russians see on his western border an aggressive, expansionist military bloc – and Trump sounds increasingly approachable for the Kremlin.
Few months after Trump's presidency, the Post asked Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid if she was worried about a Russian military attack.
"Actually no," she answered. "Because of NATO."
But Kaljulaid added: "I fear now that the resolve of the Western countries in the case of Ukraine can not exist."
Trump has worried her much more since then
As special advisor Robert S. Mueller III investigates possible coordination between his presidential campaign and Moscow, Trump has suggested that the United States recognize Russia's 2014 annexation of a Ukrainian peninsula. He seems to undermine the European Union, which includes Estonia. He has accused other members of not spending enough on NATO and, according to Axios, belittling the alliance with other leaders of the world.
As Foreign Policy reported in its first report on Friday, NATO countries are afraid of Trump. The US State Department confirmed that Melville was working on the Friday announced his immediate resignation, without commenting on details or answering questions who now heads the US Embassy in Washington, Estonia
For more than three decades as a diplomat, Melville had served in US embassies in Moscow, London and Berlin before President Barack Obama appointed him ambassador to Estonia in 2015.
Trump appointed a retired naval admiral, Edward Masso, who replaced Melville late last year – withdrew the nomination last month for unknown reasons, according to Estonian public radio.
In a fac e-mail received by the post office, Melville wrote that he had planned to wait for a replacement before he would resign from public service – but that his principles would not allow him to continue under To serve Trump.
So instead he will follow diplomats like the US ambassador to Panama, who resigned from the Trump administration last year, "because my values were not his values."
"I could have stayed many more months," Melville wrote towards the end of his Facebook message. "I love Estonia, its wonderful people and its beautiful landscape."
"But by and large, I'm glad I did not stay, for all the reasons I've just explained," he continued. "So I leave willingly and with deep gratitude for having been able to serve my nation with integrity for many years, and with great confidence that America, which is always big and has been, will someday be right again."
Following is the full text of Melville's Facebook message:
I think it's such a good time to tell my friends that I'm leaving Estonia a month later, on July 29th, to leave Foreign Service and life as a private citizen after 33 years of public service.
I have always admired the professionalism of my colleagues in supporting the policy of the US government as articulated and directed by our elected leaders and their administrations, without regard to party politics. The DNA of an External Action Service is programmed to support politics, and we've been trained from the beginning that if there's ever a point where you can not do it anymore, especially if you're in a leadership position, the honorable one Course is
I served under six presidents and eleven secretaries of state and never thought it would reach me.
I really believe and have said many times that national interests do not change from one government to another. Senator Vandenberg made a big point 70 years ago when he said, "Politics stop by the water." I have spent most of my career in US-Europe relations, and I have always been very proud of the USA's role in the post-World War II era, the rebuilding of a Europe that was ideally "complete, free and at peace " would be. From the Marshall Plan on the Cold War until recently, the support of European integration was a fundamental element of US foreign policy, which directly promotes democracy, peace and prosperity.
The EU and NATO are the great and vital fruits of this policy, and the world is a much, much better place for their existence. I believe that to my mark.
So that the president the E.U. "The US is set up to attack our piggy bank," or that "NATO is as bad as NAFTA" is not only factually wrong, but proves to me that it's time to leave.
It takes me no courage to do this, and I can not hold a candle to my friends who have resigned honorably without the full pension I'm waiting for. The truth is that I had a full tour in Tallinn and wanted to retire with the confirmation of a successor. Since no one is in sight for this role, I would probably have been able to stay for many more months.
I love Estonia, its wonderful people and its beautiful landscape. Tallinn is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and I have the best public apartments I have ever had. But the bottom line is that I'm glad I did not stay, for all the reasons I've just explained.
So I leave willingly and with deep gratitude for being able to serve my country for many years and with great integrity The confidence that America, that is and always has been great, will someday be right again.
Michael Birnbaum contributed to this report.