Breaking no doubt multiple rules of blogging, I have been quiet on this site for a bit. In fact, you have not heard from me since last December. Let’s just say that I have learned from my Estonian hosts that contrary to the American norm, not every silence has to be filled with sound. Holiday observances have lasted well into January of this year. Here in Estonia, the introduction of the euro at last year’s end, now the final weeks before Estonians elect a new parliament and thus a new government, and the celebration of Estonia’s 93rd independence year have now decisively opened the 2011 policy season. In the U.S., the holiday lull (which is never as quiet as we hope it to be), has come to a dramatic halt with our intense debate over nothing less than the shape of our country’s future as we deal with our deficits and our public expenditures. Dramatic events in North Africa and the Middle East are revolutionizing societies with great hope for the better and with significant acompanying risks. Afghanistan and other challenges around the globe continue to demand our action and attention.
Already this year, I have signed an agreement between the U.S. and Estonia on oil shale research cooperation. We commemorated together the historic legacy of the Reagan Presidency and its meaning for our alliances and other relationships in the 21st century. For this spring, we are preparing the formal U.S. membership in Estonia’s NATO Cyber Center. As a key asset to Estonia’s role in the international economic and political arena, I am pushing to secure the status of the International School of Estonia as the international school in Tallinn. My staff and I are working to expand the availability of U.S. digital entertainment content in Estonia, and we intend to see multiple U.S.-Estonia business deals consummated this year.
So, I’ve been thinking……2011/2012 will be years for the history books. Years when global, regional and national changes not only multiplied, but also accelerated. President Obama recently affirmed the American vision for the future that dates back to the founding of our nation: “We do big things.” Estonia’s President recently proclaimed “Estonia will never be finished. It will grow better and stronger.” We Americans look forward to doing big things together with our ever stronger Estonian — our European — allies as we embrace, rather than fight, change.