My Neighbour’s Problem Today – Mine Tomorrow
The title of the 14th Lennart Meri Conference is inspired by a saying of the poet, Horace – Nam tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet (You too are in danger, when your neighbour’s house is on fire).
The risks of isolationism were well understood in ancient Rome, but 2100 years later, its benefits and drawbacks are still debated. The urge to isolate in a small capsule—be that a nation, country, religion, or ideology—and to try to ignore the approaching fires outside, is more widespread than was perhaps expected in the more optimistic times when the Berlin Wall fell. COVID-19 has demonstrated that we tend to act instinctively, and not necessarily rationally, when facing a crisis.
The LMC 2021 title is thus even more relevant today than it was in 2020. The past year has highlighted that the boundaries between global, regional, and local issues are increasingly blurred and such distinctions are ever more artificial. It has also shown the need to broaden the definition of security, and the vital importance of cooperation and coordination. Although in our discussions we will aim to preserve the conference’s traditional exploration of the perspectives of individual actors, we will also enquire into the depth of their interdependence.
Estonia is contributing to fighting fires across the world in many fora, including NATO, the EU, and the UN Security Council, where Estonia has taken a seat in 2020. The LMC 2021 will thus debate subjects of utmost importance to the global security architecture, such as:
- the need to redefine and recalculate threats and risks, and to renew the principles of cooperation and management in the wider security domain;
- the fragile state of democracy and the rule of law;
- climate challenges and the search for new sustainable energy solutions;
- the role of the US in international relations;
- the EU27 amid unexpected crises;
- the future of NATO and the health of the transatlantic relationship;
- China’s growing aspirations and the possible ways to address them;
- the ever growing impact of the digital universe on politics and security;
- the aftermath of Brexit;
- the situation in the Middle East;
- the latest developments in Belarus, Ukraine and the Western Balkans;
- the means to avoid a new arms race;
- and, last but by no means least, Russia’s interests from Central Asia to the Arctic.
All these issues touch directly on our region.
We are planning a physical event, although there may be some virtual elements. We will, of course, take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants.