November 15, 2012

Summary

This issue of Diplomaatia is mostly dedicated to the only remaining political-military superpower in the world, the United States of America. In connection with the US November elections, this 24-page issue offers assessments of the campaigns, the candidates – President Barack Obama and his contender Mitt Romney – and the main areas of debate during the presidential race. This number also contains analyses of the United States’ relationship with Europe (its central and eastern parts in particular), a commentary on the October elections in Ukraine and a review of the memoirs by the late diplomat and foreign policy thinker George Kennan.

This issue of Diplomaatia is mostly dedicated to the only remaining political-military superpower in the world, the United States of America. In connection with the US November elections, this 24-page issue offers assessments of the campaigns, the candidates – President Barack Obama and his contender Mitt Romney – and the main areas of debate during the presidential race. This number also contains analyses of the United States’ relationship with Europe (its central and eastern parts in particular), a commentary on the October elections in Ukraine and a review of the memoirs by the late diplomat and foreign policy thinker George Kennan.

Summary

This issue of Diplomaatia is mostly dedicated to the only remaining political-military superpower in the world, the United States of America. In connection with the US November elections, this 24-page issue offers assessments of the campaigns, the candidates – President Barack Obama and his contender Mitt Romney – and the main areas of debate during the presidential race. This number also contains analyses of the United States’ relationship with Europe (its central and eastern parts in particular), a commentary on the October elections in Ukraine and a review of the memoirs by the late diplomat and foreign policy thinker George Kennan.
In the opening essay, Olari Koppel, the CEO of the Estonian Cooperation Assembly and adviser to the President of Estonia, looks back at the first presidential term of Barack Obama. Koppel recognises President Obama as a ‘phenomenon’, but at the same time detects a cooling down in ‘Obamamania’ in the United States and in Europe compared to four years ago. During the last few years, much of the hope for rapid changes and improvements has vanished in America and in the whole world – these years may be characterised as a time of economic crisis, but also of relatively quiet, pragmatic politics.
Matthew Crandall, a doctoral student at Tallinn University, paints a brief personal portrait of the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Crandall believes that Romney’s Mormon faith would probably not have made it hard for the world to accept him as the leader of America, but his uncompromising positions in foreign policy would not necessarily have been helpful even for America’s closest allies. Columnist Kadi Viik offers an overview of the election campaigns from the perspective of women as she analyses the role played by the candidates’ wives.
Stephen Holmes, a professor at the NYU School of Law, talks about issues related to the election campaigns, the public mood in America and the nation’s global identity in an interview to the editor of Diplomaatia Iivi Anna Masso. Holmes emphasises that it is important for any political regime to offer a sense of future to its citizens and claims that achieving it has become hard during the economic crisis. He criticises US political leaders for increased inequality, for losing a sense of fairness at home and for making short-sighted decisions in foreign policy.
The next three articles all assess the current state of transatlantic relations. In his essay on transatlantic security, Richard Weitz, a policy analyst at the Hudson Institute, argues that there is a gap between the capacities and the missions of NATO that needs to be bridged. This is a major challenge for the Alliance after the American elections. Edward Lucas, International Section Editor of The Economist, focuses on the US relationship with the eastern part of Europe, asking why interest in the US elections has reduced in our region and seeking answers to this question in US foreign policy.
Charles Gati, a professor of Russian and Eurasian studies at the Johns Hopkins University, also analyses the changing US-Eastern European relationship in his speech at a CEPA forum. Gati reminds us that the significance of security should not prompt the West to forget the value of democracy and that the halting of democratic progress in large parts of Eastern Europe is something we need to be worried about. He also urges the US not to leave Europe as democracy in the region can never reach completion.
This issue also contains a brief commentary on the elections in Ukraine, written by a member of the Estonian Parliament Andres Herkel. Not surprisingly, Herkel identifies problems and curiosities in the election process, indicating that there has recently been no movement toward credible democratic processes in Ukraine.
In the book review section Merle Pajula, a civil servant at the Estonian MFA, reviews George Kennan’s Memoirs 1925–1950. First published in 1967, these memoirs offer timeless insight not only into the world of politics, but also into the political thought of a person and an era, depicting the world from the US perspective and portraying Kennan as a diplomat, statesman and thinker.

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