This year’s final issue of Diplomaatia focuses on two of Estonia’s historic and great neighbours: Russia and Germany. If Russia wishes to weaken the West through various activities, Western institutions—such as the EU and NATO—need to cooperate more closely than before to counter it. Following Donald Trump’s election victory in the US German Chancellor Angela Merkel may be the last liberal Western leader, but her position may be uncertain.
James Rogers and Andriy Tyushka, lecturers at the Baltic Defence College, write about the anti-hegemonic information warfare being waged by Russia.
“By seeking to undermine and dislocate the West’s own narrative and self-representations and replace both with false and fictitious narratives, Russia’s anti-hegemonic offensive has helped to foster a Western policy paralysis that jeopardises Euro-Atlantic hegemony,” write Rogers and Tyushka. “In a triple strategic-narrational move—controlling the politics of time, paralysing the West’s ability to respond, and spreading false and fictitious narratives—the elements of which frequently overlap, Moscow has managed to compensate for its lack of both ideological framework and material capabilities.”
Raul Rebane, Riina Kaljurand and Dario Andrea Cavegn comment on Rogers and Tyushka’s article.
Anna-Mariita Mattiisen of the Estonian Atlantic Treaty Association (EATA) continues on essentially the same theme—how the European Union and NATO could fight hybrid threats together.
“The European Union, as a primarily political civilian organisation, is just the right actor to contribute to security in the context of various hybrid threats,” writes Mattiisen. “The fact that the majority of NATO and EU member states are the same means that resources are limited and constructive complementary cooperation is of the utmost importance. A united and strong NATO and European Union are both important factors in guaranteeing the stability and security of Europe.”
BBC journalist Damien McGuinness writes about the complex situation in Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s position.
“The problem for Mrs Merkel … is that the more she is touted as the liberal-minded leader of the cosmopolitan free world, the more the AfD [Alternative for Germany] will be able to portray her as someone who cares more about the elite or refugees than she does about ordinary German voters,” writes McGuinness.
Historian Milvi Martina Piir writes about the death of Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I 100 years ago and finds parallels with present-day Austria, which has yet again become the centre of attention in Europe.
Writer Jukka Mallinen observes the Kremlin history project.
This article was published in ICDS Diplomaatia magazine.