September 2, 2008

English summary

This issue of Diplomaatia discusses the process and manifestations of globalization. First, the Secretary General of the Estonian Foreign Ministry, Matti Maasikas, discusses what kind of foreign policy is needed in a small state in the global era. He disagrees with European Commissioner Siim Kallas, who in the previous, February issue of Diplomaatia suggested that Estonia, given its limited resources, should focus its diplomatic efforts on the multilateral organizations, at the expense of bilateral embassies. According to Maasikas, activity in multilateral organizations and the building of a network of bilateral embassies complement each other.

This issue of Diplomaatia discusses the process and manifestations of globalization. First, the Secretary General of the Estonian Foreign Ministry, Matti Maasikas, discusses what kind of foreign policy is needed in a small state in the global era. He disagrees with European Commissioner Siim Kallas, who in the previous, February issue of Diplomaatia suggested that Estonia, given its limited resources, should focus its diplomatic efforts on the multilateral organizations, at the expense of bilateral embassies. According to Maasikas, activity in multilateral organizations and the building of a network of bilateral embassies complement each other.

English summary

This issue of Diplomaatia discusses the process and manifestations of globalization.
First, the Secretary General of the Estonian Foreign Ministry, Matti Maasikas, discusses what kind of foreign policy is needed in a small state in the global era. He disagrees with European Commissioner Siim Kallas, who in the previous, February issue of Diplomaatia suggested that Estonia, given its limited resources, should focus its diplomatic efforts on the multilateral organizations, at the expense of bilateral embassies. According to Maasikas, activity in multilateral organizations and the building of a network of bilateral embassies complement each other. The first would not be possible without the second: “the more active one wants to be multilaterally, the more one needs to have knowledge of and support from countries or regions these organizations deal with,” he argues. “Today, the most effective way of acquiring such knowledge and support is via bilateral embassies.”
The fact that information is widely available in the contemporary world does not render physical presence unnecessary: “Yes, there is plenty of public information, but finding the pieces that Estonia needs and drawing relevant conclusions specific to Estonia is a very work-consuming process that requires excellent background information. The best way to acquire the latter is to be present in the area.”
Maasikas brings Afghanistan as an example: “I remember the difference between reading the memos of our new, freshly sent charge d’affaires in Afghanistan and those from our earlier sources. Our charge d’affaires’ reports contained information gathered by an Estonian, important for Estonia, synthesized by an Estonian and written in the manner that takes into account the needs and background knowledge of an Estonian reader.”
Diplomaatia also publishes an article by Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, based on his recent speech in the Swedish Foreign Policy Institute, in which he discusses the characteristics and implications of the current wave of globalization: “Its roots lie in the beginning of the reforms in China in 1978, in the collapse of the Soviet system around 1989 and in India’s emergence in 1991 from the paleosocialism that had curtailed its potential until then. Despite what we see as the so obvious importance of the liberation of Europe, it is the return of Asia that will come to dominate the picture. I say ‘return’ because we so easily forget that during the millennium preceding the first European wave of globalisation, it was the economies of Asia that accounted for approximately three fifths of the total global economy.”
„I do not think that we are always fully aware of the power of the economic transformation that the world – and we ourselves – are currently experiencing. In actual fact, never before has the global economy grown and changed so vigorously and rapidly as is the case at present,” states Bildt.
But along with the economic transformation, also dangers of radicalism and terrorism grow and transform. According to Bildt, „if we want to meet these challenges, and secure the better world that will so clearly be possible, there is no alternative to a stronger Europe – with the examples it sets, with its initiatives and as a partner in cooperation with others.” Also, „History teaches us that open societies and open economies provide the best conditions for bringing about creativity, rather than confrontation, from the meeting between different cultures. Open trade also paves the way for open societies and open minds.” According to Bildt, the latter applies to Europe as well as China and all other countries.
Estonian diplomat Priit Pallum writes about economic globalization and Estonia. According to him, Estonia and Estonians seem to accept globalization and its implications less painfully than many larger states and their peoples. One possible explanation lies within Estonia’s size – we do not think that our position has to prevail. On the other hand, the advance of globalization has coincided with other profound historical changes, such as the collapse of the Soviet Union, that was regarded as a good thing by the vast majority of the population. Hence, „an average Estonian might not realize if the changes that we are undergoing are happening because we are still restoring our state or because of a more significant process that requires a change in behaviour and attitude from each person and group of persons.”
In any case, globalization is a fact and Estonia is part of it: as proof, Pallum holds a bottle of wine that has been produced in Chili, imported by a Finnish firm, bottled in Tabasalu near Tallinn and is currently being served as an onboard wine by a Finnish airline.
Journalist Argo Ideon also reaches the conclusion that Estonia has become a natural part of the world economy and globalization. He describes the journey of the Estonian economy from the days in the early 1990s when all foreign trade was regulated by the Foreign Trade Ministry, until now, when the country is a full member of the European Union.
In addition, journalist Arko Olesk writes of the environmental aspects of globalization and Matti Raidma about the global character of catastrophes and particularities of global help efforts.

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