May 6, 2016

A Glance in the Mirror—Who Are We?


The refugee crisis and Muslim extremism have forced the West, more specifically Europe, to discuss the values they are willing to stand for. Simply put: who are we and where are we going? The convictions of Muslim extremists do not coincide with ours, and this has led us to cast a critical glance over our history and choices.

Diplomat and historian Mikael Laidre writes about developments in liberal democracy and its relationship with other streams of political thought and religions. “Over the centuries, the Western (anti)civilisation has gone through big changes, overthrown and uprooted the heritage of Christianity and ancient Greece and Rome, and established an order that is largely based on liberal democracy,” writes Laidre. “The system is unique in the sense that it views the world through a prism that allows categorising all other civilisations and ideologies as ‘radical’ but on their way to ‘moderation’—a path in which they should be encouraged and supported.”
Three experts—Tiit Kärner, Hille Hanso and Milvi Martina Piir—comment on Laidre’s article.
Magnus Christiansson, a Swedish defence analyst, also explores the weaknesses of Europe and liberal democracy. “Today we can conclude that the triumph of the European project, which showed so many vital signs in the 1990s, was an illusion. Its vitality was not due to the superiority of liberal values, but rather explained by a lack of any existential challenge to Europe,” claims Christiansson.
Merle Maigre, Security Adviser to the President of the Republic of Estonia, describes how the term “Suwalki Gap” entered international use. She also discusses the gap’s importance for the security of Estonia, the other Baltic States and Poland.
Diplomaatia interviews warfare specialist Professor Martin van Creveld. He is convinced that some refugees will become terrorists. However, he claims that it will be the alienation of the second generation in exile, not the first, that will create suitable grounds for the spread of Muslim extremism.
Diplomat Priit Pallum provides an overview of the free trade agreement being negotiated between the European Union and the US. He says that the agreement will not enter into force any time soon because the negotiations are complicated and the ratification process will be lengthy.
MA student Karl-Gerhard Lille writes about Donald Trump, the controversial Republican US presidential hopeful, in a slightly different key.
Kaarel Piirimäe reviews a collection of military articles by General Nikolai Reek.


This article was published in ICDS Diplomaatia magazine.

Filed under: Commentary