November 11, 2011

Summary

This issue of Diplomaatia focuses on East Asia and our foreign policy in relation to the rising power of China. In addition, it contributes to ongoing discussions on the European economic crisis and Estonia’s EU policy. In the opening essay “The Rising Superpower in the East,” ICDS research fellow Hannes Hanso describes China’s strengthening international position and analyses the background of its growing economic and political influence. Hanso points out that the increase in its strength and wealth has been accompanied by the abandonment of its foreign policy paradigm of the 1990s – the giant of the East used to prefer the role of a silent spectator, but now it has become more active and aggressive in international affairs.

This issue of Diplomaatia focuses on East Asia and our foreign policy in relation to the rising power of China. In addition, it contributes to ongoing discussions on the European economic crisis and Estonia’s EU policy. In the opening essay “The Rising Superpower in the East,” ICDS research fellow Hannes Hanso describes China’s strengthening international position and analyses the background of its growing economic and political influence. Hanso points out that the increase in its strength and wealth has been accompanied by the abandonment of its foreign policy paradigm of the 1990s – the giant of the East used to prefer the role of a silent spectator, but now it has become more active and aggressive in international affairs.

Summary

This issue of Diplomaatia focuses on East Asia and our foreign policy in relation to the rising power of China. In addition, it contributes to ongoing discussions on the European economic crisis and Estonia’s EU policy. In the opening essay “The Rising Superpower in the East,” ICDS research fellow Hannes Hanso describes China’s strengthening international position and analyses the background of its growing economic and political influence. Hanso points out that the increase in its strength and wealth has been accompanied by the abandonment of its foreign policy paradigm of the 1990s – the giant of the East used to prefer the role of a silent spectator, but now it has become more active and aggressive in international affairs.
Civil servant and Japan expert Monika Reinem analyses in her article, “Japan at a Crossroads,” the political situation in Japan and outlines both its domestic and foreign policy challenges. She describes the two periods in Japanese politics when the prime minister was a member of an opposition party, arguing that in both cases politics remained dysfunctional. In terms of foreign policy, Reinem explores Japan’s dilemma between a pro-Western, pro-US approach and a more recent realist temptation to improve its relations with an ever stronger China and its other Asian neighbours. The three countries that Japan sees as the most challenging are North Korea, China and Russia.
Andreas Kaju, a PR consultant and a former political adviser, criticises Estonia’s values-based policies, especially in relation to China, in his essay “China and the Limits of Idealism.” He argues that an idealist foreign policy remains empty and declarative as long as there are no real chances for small countries like Estonia to really influence the choices and policies of superpowers like China. Kaju believes that, in the end, even democratic values are promoted better by a constructive and pragmatic approach. Political scientist Maria Mälksoo responds to his critique by claiming that the kind of purely idealist foreign policy, denounced by Kaju, does not exist in reality and that speaking up for the human rights of, for example, the Tibetans hardly erodes any tangible foreign policy goals in practice.
Reflecting upon the crisis of the eurozone, Märten Ross, an advisor on the international economy and economic policy at the Bank of Finland, analyses the current economic situation in Europe in his essay “On the Political Dimension of the Eurozone.” He reminds us that even though saving the unity of the eurozone is also a political goal, the ultimate rationale for the creation of the monetary union was, and continues to be, economic.
Juhan Lepassaar, Director for EU Affairs of the Estonian State Chancellery, writes in his article “Estonia’s EU Policy” about our unequivocal commitment to European integration, regardless of the eurozone crisis. He examines the context of this integrational drive, the changes that the crisis has brought along and the prospects for future integration. In his view, Estonia still regards further integration as a solution to, and not a source of, problems.
In the book review section, Neeme Raidvere reviews Robert Kaplan’s new book Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power. Kaplan analyses Asia’s economic growth and the changing power relations in the region from a geopolitical point of view. In the book, the region around the Indian Ocean is described from the Chinese, the Indian and the Islamic perspectives – and Raidvere adds the Estonian perspective, asking what the new developments mean for us here. He insists that in the future we will have to adopt a broader and more global outlook.

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