Stubb: Foreign policy soon to be affected by economic crisis
Foreign Minister speaks at meeting of Finnish ambassadors
The after-effects of the economic crisis will increase the significance of foreign and security policy next year, predicted Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb (Nat. Coalition Party) at a meeting of Finnish ambassadors in Helsinki on Monday.
According to Foreign Minister Stubb, a new positive spirit of cooperation has emerged in international politics, which is partly personified by the new President of the United States, Barack Obama.
“The focus is moving toward multi-polarity”, Stubb said in his speech.
According to Stubb, the most important “polarity” in world affairs is the relationship between China and the United States.
In visualising the new multi-polar world order, Stubb says that it is important to decide if it involves cooperation among nation-states, “in the manner of the 19th century”, or that of international alliances.
“We are naturally in favour of cooperation among international institutions”, Stubb said.
Foreign Minister Stubb emphasised that building and renewing international institutions is necessary now, but paradoxically, economic difficulties mean that there is not enough room for reform.
Stubb noted that the strengthening of international institutions helps keep Finland at negotiating tables in the future as well.
Stubb quoted Risto E.J. Penttilä, director of the Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA, who used the term “light multi-polarity” to describe the situation in which the world’s big economic powers would decide at meetings of the “G20" on global policy lines.
“I am not sure if it would be good for Finland. According to some calculations, we would only be make it into a G34 group”, Stubb said.
Foreign Minister Stubb asked the ambassadors to write more opinions than before in their reports.
The ambassadors were also given the task of drawing up analyses for Stubb within three weeks on what the international situation looks like from where they are stationed.
A year ago Helsingin Sanomat published situation analyses written by ambassadors and leaked by Stubb. The move caused something of a stir, although the ambassadors had been asked for their permission for the publication.
Now Stubb did not say directly that the reports that he expects in three weeks would be published, either in full, or partially, but he did hint at the possibility.
Stubb stroked the egos of the ambassadors, praising the personnel of the whole Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and by saying that he “really enjoys” his job, and has a “really good feeling” about it.
At the end of his presentation, Stubb urged the diplomats to be in the public eye as much as possible.
“Public diplomacy is a part of diplomacy. Don’t be nervous. Be out in the front. Go on television, radio, write columns”, Stubb said.
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