December 23, 2010

English summary

This issue of Diplomaatia focuses on international institutions and treaties, gives an overview of NATO’s Lisbon Summit and highlights some of the central developments in the year 2010. In addition, it offers a brief insight into two countries – Moldova and Burma – that are still struggling for democracy, even though elections were held there this November. The book reviews section contains more general discussions on the state of democracy and history.

This issue of Diplomaatia focuses on international institutions and treaties, gives an overview of NATO’s Lisbon Summit and highlights some of the central developments in the year 2010. In addition, it offers a brief insight into two countries – Moldova and Burma – that are still struggling for democracy, even though elections were held there this November. The book reviews section contains more general discussions on the state of democracy and history.

English summary

This issue of Diplomaatia focuses on international institutions and treaties, gives an overview of NATO’s Lisbon Summit and highlights some of the central developments in the year 2010. In addition, it offers a brief insight into two countries – Moldova and Burma – that are still struggling for democracy, even though elections were held there this November. The book reviews section contains more general discussions on the state of democracy and history.
In the opening article, Sven Mikser, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Estonian Parliament, looks back at the foreign policy year 2010. He calls it the ‘year of lingering crises,’ referring to the economic crisis in the US and Europe, the emerging growth of extreme nationalism in some European countries, the still unresolved conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, and the Iranian nuclear threat; a new and noteworthy development in the Middle East is the neo-Ottomanist shift in Turkey’s foreign policy. Mikser states that the number of crises to be solved has not really diminished in 2010.
Margus Kolga, Estonia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, writes about the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), from which Russia withdrew a few years ago, ‘suspending’ its participation. Kolga analyses the background and stages of the Treaty and the difficulties of its re-enforcement. He argues that even if the signing of the Treaty could hardly produce perfect openness and transparency, it is an important goal to strive for because arms control treaties generally increase regional stability at least to a certain extent.
Analyst Vladimir Jushkin examines Russia-NATO and Russia-EU relations as processes of seduction. He outlines the ‘seduction narratives’ and characterises Russia’s relations with NATO and the EU, through arms trade and missile defence. In spite of the apparent goodwill that they expose, Jushkin asks whether Russia is motivated by a sincere will to improve its relations with the West or is only interested in temporary alliances while they are inevitable for Russia to regain its strength. To support his scepticism, Jushkin quotes some pro-authoritarian, imperialist-sounding visions from people close to the current Russian administration.
Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of Russia in Global Affairs, argues that the sudden turn in Russia-NATO relations occurs in a world in which the power and significance of both have been notably reduced. He argues that despite the friendly rhetoric, MAD as a stabilising factor has not totally disappeared, but it looks increasingly senseless in today’s world.
Security experts Andres Vosman and Raul Rikk offer an overview of NATO’s Lisbon Summit, held on November 19–20, its goals, main issues and achievements. According to Vosman, its key outcome of historic significance was the adoption of a new Strategic Concept. Rikk analyses the Summit focusing on cyber security, noting that the new Strategic Concept mentions cyber security for the first time as an area of equal importance with other security policy areas.
This Diplomaatia also includes articles about two very different countries where elections were held this November, although neither of them can really be described as a democracy. Of the two, Moldova appears to be on an elusive and slippery road toward true democracy, while Burma offers little hope on that front, despite the fact that its ruling junta recently released the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from her long house arrest.
Andres Herkel, an Estonian MP, and Marianne Mikko, a politician and a former MEP, explore the state of affairs in Moldova. Mikko looks at Moldovan political parties and their changing position as the result of the elections, while Herkel focuses on the nation’s emerging but fragile national identity, as the influence of Russia in the East and Romania in the West is still strong.
In contrast, the November elections in Burma were widely dismissed as a sham. Researchers Karin Dean from the University of Tallinn and Alexander Horstman from the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen talk about the situation in Burma and the complicated relations between the regime, the opposition and the numerous ethnic minorities. It appears that the regime, which calls itself a ‘disciplined democracy’ in analogy with other specified kinds of (non-)democracy, has managed to ruin the country through tyranny, war and self-isolation while claiming to defend it from disastrous influences from the outside world.
The book reviews also focus on democracy and the consequences of the lack of it on different levels – from everyday cynicism to totalitarianism and war. Luukas Ilves reviews James Fishkin’s account of deliberative democracy as a way to counteract alienation and cynicism in existing democracies. Edward Lucas reviews Timothy Snyder’s already much-discussed history book, Bloodlands, offering a perspective on what the book and the debate it triggered mean for the understanding of Europe’s history in the West. In the third review, Ingmar Haav writes about a book on the relationship between Israel and the Republic of South Africa.

Filed under: Paper issueTagged with:

No comment yet, add your voice below!


Add a Comment