January 8, 2010

English summary

The November issue of Diplomaatia focuses on Russia, Russia-West relations and Estonian foreign policy.

The November issue of Diplomaatia focuses on Russia, Russia-West relations and Estonian foreign policy.

English summary

The November issue of Diplomaatia focuses on Russia, Russia-West relations and Estonian foreign policy.
In the opening article, European Commissioner Siim Kallas describes Estonia’s position and interests in the European Union. He claims that after having enjoyed the status of an EU member state for five years, Estonia should seriously consider what kind of European Union we want: do we want it to be a union with a wide scope of tasks or, vice versa, do we want to assign a minimum number of tasks to it? So far, Estonia has maintained the approach of being ‘neither for nor against’ anything in the EU: we have not actually vetoed anything, but we have not actively supported any policies either.
Estonian Ambassador to NATO Jüri Luik introduces the Alliance’s new strategic concept and describes possible future conflicts. Luik predicts that the balance between Article V and so-called non-Article V operations, which fall outside the scope of NATO, will become one of the key issues of the concept. “Let us not forget that all the states, with which NATO Allies have conflicts, actually carry conventional weaponry,” writes Luik. At the same time, Luik claims that NATO’s capability to prevent the transformation of failed states into breeding grounds for terrorism is of equal importance.
Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Russia in Global Affairs, Fyodor Lukyanov assesses the current situation in U.S.-Russia relations. “There are several issues in U.S.-Russia relations that could be solved quickly without any noteworthy losses for either party,” claims Lukyanov. The focal points of interest are efforts to reduce nuclear weapons, plans for a missile defence shield and the war in Afghanistan.
Diplomaatia publishes Lilia Shevtsova’s analysis of the power structure in Russia and its effect on Russian foreign policy. “The ruling class in Russia has resurrected the kind of a state that is typical of Russia, a state that requires a sphere of influence in order to function and to persevere, a state that needs to use its force and to seek constantly for enemies, so that it could justify its practice of extreme centralisation and personification of state power,” writes Shevtsova.
Political analyst Vyacheslav Morozov tries to pinpoint Russia’s position in the Western value system. Morozov is of the opinion that although Russia, a unique civilisation, competes with the West, this does not change the fact that the two competitors are committed to the same universal values.
On the other hand, Sven Mikser, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Estonian Parliament, maintains that politics can never be purely value-based and that a balance between idealism and realism has to be found. “One method, which Russia employs to define the borders of its ‘near abroad,’ is to make agreements between great powers and to force these agreements upon smaller nations,” claims Mikser. He is convinced that Estonia must learn to live with Russia not by condoning Russia’s ambitions, but by preventing and thwarting them, if necessary.
In their articles, former Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar and political analyst Iivi Anna Masso assess the applicability of the Finnish model to the relationship between Estonia and Russia. Laar states that the Finns retained their independence in 1939 due to their courage to think with their own heads. Masso claims, however, that myths about the success of Helsinki’s policy towards Russia are widespread in Finnish society. “If we follow the example of the Finns, Estonia has no guarantee that our relationship with the East will improve, unless it changes its attitude,” writes Masso.

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