It sounds simple, clear, obvious. But how do rather small nations, with shrinking populations and exposure to very powerful external cultural, political and economic forces (not to mention the complicated legacies of WWII history) judge what ‘Things’ are proper for themselves? Justice and respect for human rights should be norms of course. But how do the Baltic States (and cultures, nations) preserve the best of their unique identities? How do they in fact remain Estonian, Latvian or Lithuanian while confronting the loss of population and rapid acceptance of world popular culture with all its admirable and yet also very disturbing elements?
Some small states (with admittedly very different histories) have maintained their identities and valid cultural values quite well. Switzerland is one. Its road to cultural identity and maintenance of its distinctiveness may offer lessons for the Baltic States.
Balts should ask the questions: “What do we want our nations/states to be in 20, 30, 50 years?” and “What steps should we take now to reach our expectations?”