President Toomas Hendrik Ilves took part of the Halifax International Security Forum, held in Canada from Friday to Sunday, to speak about the changed security situation in Europe and the role of technology in securing peace and development.
Ilves was one of the speakers in the first plenary session on modern democracy and threats to it, along with the Israel's former Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, United States Admiral Cecil Haney from the US Strategic Command, and M.J. Akbar, a spokesperson for the Bhartiya Janata Party in India.
"What we have seen in the past year is a collapse of all of the basic and fundamental agreements of the trans-Atlantic space. Everything has been violated, beginning in Ukraine with the UN Charter; the 1975 Helsinki Final Act is out the window, Ilves said.
"The main point that you don't change borders through force or threat of using force, and that no changes will be recognized that are done in this way," Ilves said, also adding the Paris and Budapest agreements to that list.
"We now have to think about how to go on when all of the basis for security no longer apply," he said.
Ilves added that the Ukraine crisis and the breach of the 1994 Budapest agreement, which addressed Ukraine's terroritial integrity, have led to a situation where for the next 60-100 years, no country that currently has atomic weapons will be willing to give them up - because they simply will not trust the guarantees given for their integrity of their borders in return.
Ilves said that modernity is under threat from the people who are defining reality in a way that is not empirically verifiable, but sounds believable to some; that means that democracy is being deformed and an alternative sense of reality is created.
Ilves explained he has always feared that Russia would return to its Orthodox pan-Slavic roots, despairing of ever becoming western liberal democracy and rejecting these values for an imagined past. M.J. Akbar added that the facts that such a past are largely fictitious, makes it even more powerful.
The full plenary discussion can be viewed here.
The President also held bilateral meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, John Baird, and the Defense Minister, Rob Nicholson, together with the Deputy Secretary-General of NATO, Alexander Vershbow, and two senators of the US, John McCain and Ted Cruz.