In Lennart Meri mythology, the former Estonian president was known for being able to assemble a mosaic of events happening simultaneously around the world and somehow be able to plot the right move in foreign policy.
Sometimes, I must admit, I wish there was someone like that around, a foreign policy savant with all the answers. That is because we are entering a season of uncertainty in Europe and abroad.
Next door in Russia the people are endorsing Putin in a national referendum to give him the moral obligation to lead the nation over Zyuganov and Zhiranovsky -- contain your chuckles. In the US, the real campaign is just about to start. And in the middle of this milieu you have Paavo Lipponen telling Estonia to start building relations with Russia now and to abandon hopes of security cooperation with Ukraine and Georgia.
It would be too easy to dismiss Lipponen's comments as Eurocratic spinelessness from the usual suspects -- the Finnish Social Democratic Party. But Finland is Estonia's twin brother, and Lipponen does have experience and he does have access to information. Maybe rather than being a coward, Lipponen is trying to give Estonia some advice -- that winter is coming, that it is time to insulate the windows, stack the wood next to the ahi, and launder the long-johns because it is about to get cold outside.
If we look decades ahead to the future of the Estonian state, what should we see? How will it remain secure even in the face of a hypothetical crumbling of current international security institutions? What will its options be? Will it someday be forced into the kind of accommodating relationship that Kekkonen's Finland had with the Soviet Union?
What is the smartest next step to keep the ship of state ship shape?