May 18, 2010

Summary

This issue of Diplomaatia focuses on the most urgent security questions facing the Western community today: the future of NATO and the war in Afghanistan.

This issue of Diplomaatia focuses on the most urgent security questions facing the Western community today: the future of NATO and the war in Afghanistan.

Summary

This issue of Diplomaatia focuses on the most urgent security questions facing the Western community today: the future of NATO and the war in Afghanistan.
Ambassador Kurt Volker writes about NATO’s new strategic concept, the vision for which is due to be released by the NATO expert group in the coming days. According to Volker, the expert group has done an admirable job and focused on the right questions but, taking account of the global situation, much more is needed. “The process of developing a new Strategic Concept has demonstrated an even bigger truth:  the challenges facing our transatlantic community are far greater than can be addressed in a NATO strategic concept alone,” states Volker. “In the 21st century the international order – the context in which NATO carries out its duties – is being challenged fundamentally.  This calls for a new approach to all of our assumptions and institutions, not just NATO.   We need not only to renew NATO’s Strategic Concept; we need to renew our commitment to a broad-based and vibrant international order conducive to the realisation of democratic values, not just power politics.  As in the 1940s, our leaders must act today to define the kind of world we will live in decades from now.”
According to Volker, several things are needed: “First, we must look beyond the day-to-day ”¦ Each of the individual crises being tackled in our own nations is in fact related to the broader strains on an international order.  We cannot leave these challenges to bureaucracies, and we cannot tackle these larger trends if we are acting through dozens of piecemeal approaches.” 
Secondly, “we need a big vision, not a series of smaller ones.  Many of our actions thus far have been limited and process-oriented.  We must not simply implement the Lisbon Treaty, or reform NATO, or write a new document.  We must reach beyond do in our generation what a predecessor generation did for us:  lay the foundations of an international order that will nurture democratic, market economic and global security for decades to come.”
And thirdly, “with the right vision, we need a strategy, and the best strategy is ‘Allies first’.  In domestic politics, the key is to solidify one’s political base before reaching out to tackle the broader electorate.  In the international community, like-minded democratic Allies are our base.” 
Tomas Valasek from the Centre for European Reform writes about the relationship between NATO and Russia. According to him, the right way forward would be a dual-track policy of reassurance measures inside the Alliance and a ‘reset’ policy in its relationship with Russia: “Reassurance measures, if done right, would take away the opportunities – and the incentives – for the Russian government to pit one NATO member against another, as it has done in recent years. This would not preclude closer co-operation on other issues such as missile defence; on the contrary: Russia understands clarity and strength. By putting in place a combination of reset and reassurance measures, NATO would send a clear message that while it would not hesitate to act against Russia should it undermine the security of any ally, the alliance would rather have a co-operative relationship with Moscow.”
Polish analysts Beata Gorka-Winter and Olaf Osica discuss Poland’s relationship with the United States and Poland’s vision of the Baltic Sea area. According to Gorka-Winter, Poland has not managed to achieve any of its recent US-related foreign policy goals. Consequently, Polish policy vis-í -vis the US has been based on unrealistic assumptions and has to be redefined – although the room for manoeuvre is limited.
Osica analyses the reasons why the Baltic Sea region has never figured very prominently in Poland’s world view, even though some leaders have tried to position Poland as a Baltic Sea power. He predicts that the current tensions inside the European Union and the EU’s growing regionalisation may offer another chance to make Poland more receptive to and interested in the challenges and opportunities emerging from the region.
Rene Toomse and Riho Terras – both of whom have backgrounds in the Estonian military – discuss what it will take to win in Afghanistan. Toomse demonstrates how badly the West is prepared to deal with fourth generation warfare – the measures at our disposal that used to bring success are now all too often counterproductive. According to him, as a small country Estonia could become a pioneer in applying more comprehensive approaches. According to Terras, for the first time since 2001 the Western allies have a realistic strategy in Afghanistan that gives them a chance to win – although the challenges are big and many crucial questions are still unanswered.
Juhan Lepassaar from the State Chancellery’s EU Secretariat writes about the economic crisis and the problems of the Eurozone. According to him, Greece may be in crisis, but the tensions affecting the Eurozone as a whole are a natural, if not pre-programmed part of its development.
The book reviews also focus on economics: MEP Indrek Tarand has been reading about the “meltdown of Iceland”; and freelance security analyst Indrek Elling has studied the connections between Israel’s army and the its economy in Dan Senor and Saul Singer’s book Start-up Nation.

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