May 13, 2016

Ten Years of the Lennart Meri Conference

MIHKEL MARIPUU/POSTIMEES

This year the Lennart Meri Conference is celebrating its tenth anniversary, so it would be useful to look back and see how the security situation around Estonia has changed over this time. Nevertheless, the current migration crisis, and the rise of Russia and Islamism force us to look to the future as well.

This year the Lennart Meri Conference is celebrating its tenth anniversary, so it would be useful to look back and see how the security situation around Estonia has changed over this time. Nevertheless, the current migration crisis, and the rise of Russia and Islamism force us to look to the future as well.
This special edition of Diplomaatia publishes Lennart Meri’s speech from 1995. Reading it, one cannot escape the thought that Meri’s ideas are still relevant today. “International law, based on the fundamental values of democracy and security guarantees, must be in place to protect human rights, which are expressed through a state’s sovereignty and not to defend deposits beneath its land. Security is indivisible in the democratic world as democratic states have a common foundation—shared democratic principles—and a building that has a shared foundation also has a shared roof,” he said in 1995. Does that sound familiar, given current circumstances?
Comment on Meri’s speech comes from Jüri Luik, Director of the International Centre for Defence and Security.
Diplomaatia has an interview with the current President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who looks back at the conferences over ten years. Ilves is convinced that the LMC has proven its utility. “That is the value of having people coming here over the years, of course, from SACEURs to foreign and defence ministers; they come here and see what it is like, not reading another article written by some silly person from some think tank in Washington who has never been to Estonia,” he says.
Natalie Nougayrède of The Guardian writes about the need for Europe to establish its own credible foreign and security policy, since without this Europe’s future might be doomed. “Reaching that point where Europe can assume a wider regional security role, and create the foundations of a genuine European foreign and security policy, is a tall order—but it is a task it can shirk no longer,” she writes.
Professor Alan Riley suggests how the West should deal with China. He thinks China’s desired economic transition may well be unstable and troubled, and ultimately may not happen.
Russian analyst Andrei Piontkovsky writes that blatant nuclear blackmail has become a mainstay of Russian foreign policy.
Turkish analyst Selim Koru looks at the fate of the Crimean Tatars, a group of Turkish-speaking people living away from Turkey, and Ivan Krastev writes about the future of Europe.

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