August 26, 2008

English summary

This October Diplomaatia celebrates a small birthday – it’s now exactly two years since Diplomaatia entered the Estonian media-space and during that time, 25 issues have been published. Hence, the current issue is focused less on the hot topics of the day and more on the specifics of analyzing foreign policy.

This October Diplomaatia celebrates a small birthday – it’s now exactly two years since Diplomaatia entered the Estonian media-space and during that time, 25 issues have been published. Hence, the current issue is focused less on the hot topics of the day and more on the specifics of analyzing foreign policy.

English summary

This October Diplomaatia celebrates a small birthday – it’s now exactly two years since Diplomaatia entered the Estonian media-space and during that time, 25 issues have been published. Hence, the current issue is focused less on the hot topics of the day and more on the specifics of analyzing foreign policy.
“Estonia is a small state. It would be sinful not to be permanently devoted to the analysis of dangers,” states Jüri Luik, Estonia’s Ambassador to the US in his article that is titled “War or peace.” “The central part of our analyses should focus on the question of what encourages states to go to war.”
Traditional military-political risk analysis has two pillars – measuring capabilities and intent. While the first is generally easier to measure – at least in case where reliable intelligence is available; the second is always harder to understand, as states assume that other states, even their adversaries, behave according to the same logic as those trying to guess the intent. “Even when the bombs were falling on Helsinki, the Finnish Government did not consider that the Winter War had begun. They still believed that it was only an isolated operation with the aim to influence,” writes Luik. “A classic example was offered by Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” where both Hitler’s plans to conquer the world and annihilate the Jews were fairly accurately described. But no one took it seriously, at best it was thought to be an insane person’s gibberish.”
Similarly, the assumptions regarding military capabilities do not always reflect the reality, and even if they do, a state’s military power may not be in correlation with its intent: “As a rule, a weaker state does not attack a stronger one. But this is not a rule of a thumb. For example, in the Falkland war Argentina attacked the UK, despite the fact that the latter was clearly stronger.” Furthermore, it is important to recognize that military strength, when it grows, can be transformed into strategic success and freedom of action – and hence start influencing intent.
“There are many questions and much fewer answers. Estonia needs qualified analyses of dangers. Analyses of dangers is an evaluative, not factual science, where the analyzer’s own knowledge of history, experience, way of thinking play an important role. Few people read secret analyses; therefore we need more public reports that would be based on public data, just as they are written in Western democracies. I can only support the Defence Ministry’s idea to create a think tank devoted to military-political security issues in Estonia,” concludes Luik.
Does Estonia need a think tank is also a question posed to journalist Edward Lucas and analyst Paul Goble. Lucas’s answer is a firm yes: “Endowing a real, American-style think tank in the Baltic States to do serious research on big interesting questions would mark a real breakthrough. It would also be another example of this corner of New Europe leaving Old Europe snoozing sadly behind.”
There are very many questions specifically suited for a think tank in a Baltic State: “For start, I would like to know more about the cultural identity and orientation of ethnic Russians (citizens and non-citizens) in the Baltic States and Kaliningrad. Is there really a new “Yevrorusski” or “Baltic-Russian” identity taking shape. And if so, what could be done to foster it? Who are the real winners and losers of the economic changes since the collapse of communism? What should the aims of the language and citizenship laws be now, and do they need changing? ”
Paul Goble’s answer is more ambivalent, stating that, “I believe think tanks are an extremely useful part of a democratic society. But I also believe that the world of the think tanks as we have known it over the last 50 years or so is quickly passing away.” One reason for the latter phenomena is that “the communications revolution – the Internet in particular – means that most think tanks are not so much physical communities of scholars but rather virtual groupings of people who may never in fact come face to face. (— ) Consequently, the think tank of the future is likely to be one without walls, a network of people spread across the entire world and funded in entirely new and less expensive ways. (— ) Indeed, Estonia, the homeland of e-governance and the international Internet sign, has the opportunity to play a key role in the rise of institutional arrangements that will supplant many of the think tanks which now exist just as the think tanks supplemented if not replaced some of the functions that universities and the media played when think tanks were first set up a century ago.”
In addition, Margus Kolga explains why literature on foreign and security matters deserves to be translated into Estonian despite the fact that much of it is likely to attract a very limited readership; and Maria Mälksoo discusses the aims of international relations as a scientific discipline and this science’s relationship with the practitioners of foreign policy.
The books reviewed are Peter Baker and Susan Glasser’s “Kremlin rising”, David J. Smith’s (ed) “The Baltic States And Their Region. New Europe Or Old?” and “The White Book. Losses inflicted on the Estonian Nation by occupation regimes 1940-1991.”

Filed under: Paper issueTagged with:

No comment yet, add your voice below!


Add a Comment