September 2, 2008

English summary

This issue of Diplomaatia introduces the concept of outreach and analyses Estonia’s previous experiences and future prospects in the field of outreach activities.

This issue of Diplomaatia introduces the concept of outreach and analyses Estonia’s previous experiences and future prospects in the field of outreach activities.

English summary

This issue of Diplomaatia introduces the concept of outreach and analyses Estonia’s previous experiences and future prospects in the field of outreach activities.
In the introductory article Riina Kaljurand, ICDS researcher, examines the context of development of such concepts as outreach, security sector reform and defence diplomacy. Kaljurand argues that expressing a clear political preference for the East or the West was considered top priority during the Cold War, while the need for a democratic security sector was forced into the background. Development and humanitarian aid agencies and organisations deliberately and purposefully avoided all security-related issues that were inevitably tainted by association with political ideology. However, the concept of human-centred security coined after the end of the Cold War has transformed the meaning and form of intervention by the international community: it does not involve only military interventions, peacekeeping missions or dispatching humanitarian aid to crisis regions, but also building democracy, establishing the rule of law and protecting human rights.
Margus Kolga, Director General of the Security Policy Department of the Estonian Foreign Ministry, presses on with the same topic and describes how Estonia, an aid-receiving country, became a donor. According to Kolga, the first aim of the old democratic Western countries was to guarantee that Estonia were a stable country that should quietly exist without causing too much trouble. Later they wanted Estonia to understand and relate with the mentality and general world outlook of the member states of NATO and the European Union as well as to follow the accepted rules of conduct and communication, so that Estonia would grow accustomed to them and consider them normal. Today, Estonia is not at the receiving end any more, but offers aid and advice to other countries. Although Estonia’s aid policy was developed after it joined NATO, aid and advisory activities began a little earlier. Estonia started to help other countries in the field of defence policy and national defence already at the beginning of this century, i.e. before it was invited to join NATO. The first target country was Georgia, but aid was also provided to Ukraine and the South Balkans.
Kyllike Sillaste-Elling, foreign policy advisor to the Prime Minister, retraces Estonia’s journey to the European Union. Estonia’s success should not be attributed only to efficient diplomacy. Of course, foreign political efforts contributed to it, but in order to move forward Estonia had to make real progress at home. You had to do your homework – this was the most important lesson we learned, while striving for EU membership.
However, the countries who wish to join the EU right now or in future face serious challenges. Estonia knows perfectly well that the EU accession process is very extensive. Estonia did not become an EU member overnight – it took ten years of hard work to achieve this goal. The countries who have the same aspirations today must take into account that they will have to work at least as hard and long as we did. In addition, they will have to bear in mind that the political situation inside the EU will become more and more complex. Opposition to further enlargement is growing steadily.
James Greene, Head of the NATO Liaison Office Ukraine, and Merle Maigre, ICDS researcher, examine ways of developing and using the outreach capability of Estonia and Central and Eastern Europe to have the best possible effect. Estonia and its fellow countries have a major advantage over other advisors: they have faced problems similar to those in other transition countries and are more understanding of the challenges reformers face. They also often have experience in trying to apply outside advice to local problems, and are therefore more flexible in adapting their own engagement style to meet the needs of their partners.
Indrek Elling, ICDS researcher, considers the past activities of foreign aid workers in Afghanistan’s Helmand province which is currently one of the main target areas in Afghanistan for Estonian development aid. According to Elling, several problems and hopes of today’s Helmand originate from the post-war decades, as the United States changed the face of the province with extensive development aid programmes after the Second World War. Americans decided to use southern Afghanistan to demonstrate how an underdeveloped country could be modernised through huge infrastructure projects. In the 1960s the presence of Americans in Afghanistan was so massive that Lashkar Gah, one of the key cities in Helmand, was sometimes called Little America or the New York of Afghanistan.
Merle Maigre describes her work at the NATO Liaison Office in Kiev and concludes that it would best serve Estonia’s national interests if Ukraine passed its security and defence policy decisions independently, i.e. without undue pressure from Russia.

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