In late March, explosions in the airport and metro plunged Brussels, the “capital” of Europe, into chaos, once again forcing us to ask what Europe has actually done to combat the threat of Islamist terror. Where do we go from here and how to share important information were the questions the Western allies were asking themselves. Estonia is also asking questions—is our foreign policy sustainable as resources diminish, and how should the funds that remain be distributed? Security is the big issue—both here and elsewhere in Europe.
Marko Mihkelson, chairman of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu (parliament) writes on the tasks of Estonian foreign policy at a time when public spending in Estonia is in decline. Mihkelson believes it is important to keep the country’s foreign policy clearly targeted and based on a necessary strategy. Foreign minister Marina Kaljurand and experts Jaak Jõerüüt and Andres Kasekamp comment on Mihkelson’s article.
MEP Indrek Tarand is convinced that Estonia can contribute to the creation of an independent Kurdistan without falling out with Turkey. “The best-known Kurdish proverb is: ‘Kurds have no friends but the mountains’. Ideally, a new proverb could be added in half a century’s time: ‘Kurds have no friends but the mountains and Estonians’,” writes Tarand.
Lauri Mälksoo, Executive Director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute, writes about the sanctions against Russia and the West’s non-recognition policy over the Crimea. “… in terms of international law, the main issue is not whether the sanctions should be continued but, rather, whether other states can fulfil their international legal obligations towards Ukraine and provide real substance in the policy of non-recognition,” notes Mälksoo.
Jaanus Piirsalu has interviewed Enrique Menendez, a businessman and blogger living in the Donbass, who believes the area can no longer exist as it did before 2014. “Even the Ukrainian law about granting a special status to the Donbass is actually empty, about nothing, if one reads it closely,” says Menendez. “It is intended to mislead Western partners. Throughout 2015, Ukrainian politicians convinced the nation that the agreements would never work instead of trying to figure out how to make them work. There are billboards in Kyiv that invite people to oppose special status for the Donbass.”
Eoin Micheál McNamara, a PhD student at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu, commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising and considers its significance for Ireland.
This article was published in ICDS Diplomaatia magazine.