September 2, 2008

English summary

The focus of the February issue of Diplomaatia is Estonian foreign policy, its choices, priorities, opportunities and constraints. In the opening article, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves discusses the future development of the European Union and its implications on Estonia. He reminds readers how much the EU has evolved over the last 15 years – from the European Community of 12 members into the European Union of 27 members. “We have no reason whatsoever to assume that the next 15 years will not bring along equally significant developments,” Ilves states.

The focus of the February issue of Diplomaatia is Estonian foreign policy, its choices, priorities, opportunities and constraints. In the opening article, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves discusses the future development of the European Union and its implications on Estonia. He reminds readers how much the EU has evolved over the last 15 years – from the European Community of 12 members into the European Union of 27 members. “We have no reason whatsoever to assume that the next 15 years will not bring along equally significant developments,” Ilves states.

English summary

The focus of the February issue of Diplomaatia is Estonian foreign policy, its choices, priorities, opportunities and constraints.
In the opening article, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves discusses the future development of the European Union and its implications on Estonia. He reminds readers how much the EU has evolved over the last 15 years – from the European Community of 12 members into the European Union of 27 members. “We have no reason whatsoever to assume that the next 15 years will not bring along equally significant developments,” Ilves states.
How the EU will develop depends much on how the deadlock reached with the Constitutional Treaty will be solved. But Ilves does not exclude the emergence of some kind of core Europe, for example on the bases of the Euro zone. Should that be the case, it is in Estonia’s interest to be included. He argues: “Having just finished a long struggle to get in, into the circle of decision-makers, is it really in our interest to be left out once again?”
According to Ilves, the most important thing in Estonia’s relationship with the EU is our own mental attitude and readiness. “First we must give up the conviction that our approach to Europe is that of a new member state. As long as we think and act as “new”, we will think and act as “different”. Let’s become a member state without any qualifying adjectives and also a proponent of a strong Europe.”
Jüri Luik, Estonia’s Ambassador to the US, writes about the emergence of the new world order and Estonia’s interests. According to Luik, the post-Cold War optimistic world order had not been able to settle when the planes that flew into the World Trade Center threw everything into disarray. However, the current flux will inevitably end in some kind of a new order; the question is to what extent that new order will correspond to Estonia’s interests. “We have to be among the winners in the new world order rather than losers,” states Luik.
Former Prime Minister Mart Laar continues among the same lines discussing America’s image and its importance to us. America’s reputation is unhealthy, he states, and this is not a cause for joy to anyone. America’s negative reputation also weakens cooperation between America and Europe, but the latter is exactly the factor which has guaranteed the well-being Europe has been enjoying for decades. According to Laar, Estonia should try to find areas where Europe’s and America’s interests correspond and by being active in these areas contribute to bringing Europe and America together again. In his opinion, helping the new democracies in Eastern Europe is a good starting point.
European Commissioner Siim Kallas writes about Estonia’s foreign policy giving special attention on the constraints and choices set by the country’s small size. He argues that for a small state it is difficult to keep an extended web of embassies, manned with sufficient qualified personnel. Thus, it makes sense to prioritize. “A small country’s need and opportunity is to conduct foreign policy first and foremost in the framework of multilateral international co-operation, combined with bilateral relations,” he argues. The practical conclusion for Estonia should be to pay a critical look at its bilateral embassies and close the ones whose functions can be transferred to Estonia’s representations at various international organizations. The money and people that become available by doing so can be used to make the Estonian teams working at organizations more qualified and effective.
Sulev Kannike, a former Estonian Ambassador to NATO discusses the specifics of small state diplomacy. He begins by defining and describing two types of diplomacy – co-operational and confrontational diplomacy – and goes on to explain what are the advantages and disadvantages of a small state when it engages in either of these.
Current MP and former Defence Minister Sven Mikser discusses the conditions that should prompt Estonia to participate in international military missions and the conditions that should bring our missions home. Due to its size and capabilities it is impossible for Estonia to announce, similar to the US, that it will leave a conflict zone only “once the job is done”. Therefore, it is necessary for Estonia to map its own entry and exit strategies. Mikser’s article is the first systematic attempt to do so.
Lauri Mälksoo, who currently is a post-doctoral researcher at the Tokyo University, explains how the vision of Estonia as a border of civilizations has shaped the Estonian understanding of international law. He concludes as in other spheres of international life, the theory of the clash of civilizations is prone to become a self-fulfilling prophecy also in the realm of international law. He acknowledges that when dealing with a real conflict with a real neighbour, it is impossible to simply dream it to non-existence, but it is wise to be cautions with words and interpretations.
The author Tõnu Õnnepalu continues along the same lines, stating that a centuries long goal of Estonia’s foreign policy has been to keep “the Russians out and Russian goods in” and in that, Estonians – or whoever has been conducting Estonia’s foreign policy – have been by and large successful.
Swedish Ambassador to Estonia Dag Hartelius asks whether there is a Tallinn-Stockholm axis emerging after the elections in Sweden brought a similar minded government to power with many members favourably inclined towards Estonia.
Historian and MP Küllo Arjakas writes about the history of co-operation among the Baltic States, especially the in the framework of the Baltic Assembly, and asks what the future could bring.
And Kaarel Tarand, the Editor-in Chief of the Sirp pays a closer look at the foreign policy conceptions of Estonian political parties’ election programs.

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