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Lietuva: “Atlantinio suartėjimo” įtaka strategijai ir ekonominiam saugumui

Šiandien interneto svetainė Equilibri.net publikuoja įdomų tekstą apie Lietuvos geopolitiką ir Atlantinę perspektyvą. Skaitytojų dėmesiui pateikiamas autentiškas tekstas:

Lithuania: the impact of the ‘Atlantic approach’ in the field of strategic and economical security

A team of authors from the ‘Centre for
International and Strategic Studies’ in Washington and of the
‘Institute for International Relations and Political Science’ of
Vilnius had foreseen, some time before Lithuania joined both the EU and
NATO (2004), that the country was heading towards integration into the
Western security system. A ‘White Paper’ regarding Lithuania's foreign
and security policies explained the two mechanisms that needed to be
implemented in order to reach this objective. Establishing bilateral
agreements with former Warsaw Pact countries, encouraged by the common
interest in joining the EU, would, together with the building of
security structures, assure the development of a stable country:
integrated, from the economical point of view, in the European Union
and, from political and military points of view, in NATO.

Cristiano Ripoli

Equilibri.net (26 April 2007)

The Vilnius-Warsaw axis

The privileged relations between Poland and
Lithuania has always been seen, since the end of the Warsaw Pact, as
the strategic partnership between two countries which shared much of
their history and had several political and cultural affinities. Since
1997 NATO has supported the establishment of common institutions such
as the “Consultative Commission of the Lithuanian and Polish
Presidencies”, the “Assembly of Parliamentary Members of Lithuania and
Poland” and the “Polish and Lithuanian Council for Government
Cooperation”; these institutions have created minor organisations which
have produced a considerable number of agreements. In the macro
economical field, the proliferation of joint ventures set up by private
companies in the two countries, made it possible to assign to
Lithuanian-Polish companies several contracts for the construction of
infrastructure (for example the Baltic way, the Vilnius-Warsaw railway
and the supranational electrical power network). The outcome of the
objectives was revealed on 5 February 2001 when Poland and Lithuania
signed an agreement on defence cooperation. It was the LITPOLBAT
project for the military union and security between the Alytus
Motorised Infantry Battalion (Lithuanian) and one of the battalions of
the 15th Polish Mechanised Division. The Baltic Rim is,
among the political science models, a unique project . It represents
the creation of a macro-area set up by the two countries in precise
political and economical fields. Time will tell whether, on the
long-term, Lithuania and Poland alone will manage to develop such
project as desired by NATO.

The Atlantic-oriented stance

Another NATO project was developed just after
1989. As of 1991, with the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC)
and the NATO Partnership for Peace Program (PfP), the direction that
the USA was proposing Vilnius became crystal clear. The problem lied in
the fact that the willingness Lithuania had expressed in becoming a
NATO outpost was not to be turned into a problem for the development of
a European identity for Lithuania. This held true both from the
political point of view - concerning security - and as regards
economical concerns.

NATO’s absolute priorities for 2006, i.e.
the establishment, in Lithuanian territory, of a Reaction Brigade (RB)
which would meet the operational requirements stated in article 5 of
the Treaty of Washington, the provision of infrastructure and military
equipment in Rukla and Pabrade and the implementation of the BALTNET
system (Baltic Air surveillance Network) were of relative importance to
Lithuania.

The fact that Vilnius joined both NATO and the EU had
been interpreted by several scholars - among those ÄŒeslovas
LaurinaviÄius, in charge of the “XX century History Department at the
Lithuanian Institute of History” - as the act of a country which asked
for guarantees on its economical future in return.

Relations with Russia

Even though it had rejected the possibility of
joining a Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Government in
Vilnius didn't have any political dispute with the Russian Federation -
if we exclude nationalistic rhetoric. On the contrary, thanks to the
common exploitation of the Kaliningrad region, trading had positive
results. The economic cooperation between the two countries was also
favoured by natural ways of transport (such as the Hanseatic way) and
by the modernisation of the energy supply grids.

So, when the
country opted for the Atlantic-oriented attitude, there was a high risk
that relations between Lithuania and Russia might worsen (through
commercial and energy blackmail). An example is the Ignlina nuclear
power plant which covered about 80% of national energy requirements and
which was powered by Russian fuel. In a Lithuania involved in
privatisation, closing the eastern commercial and energy channels would
turn into the need for greater support and the opening up of new
western channels.

For Vilnius, the issue of security as a NATO
member is strictly tied to the chance of meeting its economical needs
as an EU member. This has been clearly re-stated in the “National
Security Strategy”, approved with the Seimas Resolution of 20th January
2005. The Strategy states that: “The Republic of Lithuania considers
that the enlargement of NATO is one of the most important guarantees to
ensuring security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. Our
activities go towards an active participation in the Common Foreign and
Security Policy of the European Union and the contribution to the
development of the European Security and Defence policy.” Lithuania’s
President, Valdas Adamkus, and George Bush met on 6 March 2007 and the
former declared that his country would insist upon reducing any kind of
dependency on Moscow.

Lithuania's expectations are logical. If
internal economic stability and energy supply were less secure internal
security would be put at risk and it would result impossible for the
country to give its contribution to European security. Along the lines
of the historical improvement of commercial exchanges between Lithuania
and Poland, NATO left the “new deal” in the hands of what it thought to be the natural heir of the Warsaw Pact countries: the European Union.

On
the basis of available data Saulius Spurga, from the Mykolas Romeris
University of Vilnius, proved, however, that EU direct aid to Lithuania
- through programs such as Phare Democracy, Phare Lien and Partnership
- did not live up to expectations even though the country did make
major efforts to implement the changes required by the Community acquis.

Defense expenses

During a NATO–Russian Defence Cooperation
meeting, the Minister of National Defence, Juozas Olekas, considered a
move towards the interoperability of Russian armed forces and NATO. The
Lithuanian military approach, which is moving from a ‘complete defence’
tactic to a strategy of collective defence based on common values, is
favouring former Warsaw Pact countries in their aligning to NATO
standards. The Defence cooperation, stipulated shortly after the events
of 9/11, has to be interpreted both as a policy and as an practical
instrument.

Lithuanian forces are obviously destined to grow,
both in quantity and in quality. The implementation of a military
structure similar to that of NATO brought a general modernisation of
armaments: Javelin antitank, Stinger missiles, M113 and improved
detection systems. The technological revision - which constitutes,
together with human resources, quality and training, one of the three
priorities from the institutional point of view - will already be
dominant in 2008. Lithuania is requested to implement a certain type of
military build-up and in fact it is not improving ‘technical’ forces
(the air force and the navy will only be used for patrolling) but
rather ‘generic’ forces (land forces). The logistic command, composed
of 1.500 people, is the very symbol of the new philosophy according to
which local army is part of a superior NATO structure, and, as such, it
has to act. Only a very restricted national army is in fact allowed.

There
is obviously a technical need. And paradoxically, even though NATO only
slightly fears an eventual attack over Lithuanian borders, every
reaction will have to be filtered by NATO itself. This has been clearly
stated in the White Paper of the Minister of National Defence:
Lithuania will have to work for the Euro-Atlantic security, in the
context of its expansion in the stability area. Assigning such a task -
assuring security in the zone - to a neighbour had to be closely
monitored; and this is what is happening.Lithuania, as a consequence,
also has to provide OSCE with real data on its army, equipment, budget
and exercises.

Exercises reveal that Vilnius plays a delicate
role and that it is aware of that. NATO requests Lithuania to take part
in exercises in a complicated geopolitical context where Vilnius plays
a key role for the control of the bordering countries which are under
Russian influence. Lithuania is at the same time aware of the potential
represented by the deployment of Eastern countries: the agreement
established with Poland goes well beyond the military field. It is not
strictly a matter of money and it is not about asking NATO to obtain
subsidies from Eastern companies. Lithuania is in itself a developing
nation: exports increased by 27.1% in 2005 (21% in 2004) and imports by
25% (15.8% in 2004). At the same time the estimated level of foreign
direct investments (FDI) at the end of 2005 was close to 18.2 billion
of Lithuanian Litas (LTL). This shows an increasing trend in a country
where the economy is growing considerably in several fields.

Conclusions

Lithuania will develop a particular growth
strategy – not necessarily completely tied to Europe. As a consequence
strategic security and economy will be considered as strictly tied to
one and other. Lithuania will consider the offers received from the USA
and Europe on the one hand and from Russia on the other and choose the
most suitable for its security.

Even though Russia is currently
unable to provide direct financial support (and indirect economical
support through its private investors) anywhere as high as NATO's. In
the future it could be reconsidered by Lithuania as a partner in some
specific fields. This would not result in a formal separation from
NATO; more simply, during Russia-NATO meetings, more attention should
be paid to the needs of the former because it is know for certain that
the two powers would never quarrel over marginal issues.

European
Union Structural Funds and their effective use by Lithuania should not
be misleading. Despite being very useful to bringing local economies to
meet EU standards, at a later stage they do not guarantee the fidelity
of the country to the EU private investors, especially if they are not
competitive. Similarly, in the energy field, once the boost coming from
European programs such as “Intelligent Energy - Europe” (IEE) and “EU
Phare program” runs out the Government in Vilnius - or rather its
economic powers - would be free to focus everything on Baltic regional
cooperation

Lithuania will choose its foreign and security
policies with a good margin of discretion; aware that its role is
needed in both NATO and EU plans, it will not make a move and leave
Russia; as opposed to NATO, Russia can in fact provide it with space
and perspectives for the development of its own sovereignty in
political and economic planning. Such a double scenario, in which one
relation does not exclude the other, will be useful to maintaining a
balance between the two large areas of interest that are developing in
Europe.

Rodyk draugams

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