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  What could be Lithuania‘s position on AMD?

Vadim Volovoj, Doctor in Political Sciences
2007 09 20

The issue of deployment of the US AMD components in the Central Europe is seriously considered in the international policy agenda. For Lithuania it is important since is related to its strategic partners – the United States and Poland.

Today the majority of experts agree that the ambition of the United States to deploy the AMD components in Europe has not much to do with protection from the nuclear attack of Iran.  It is considered that by the above step the United States seek to strengthen its positions in Europe, to have  more impact on the EU‘s policy via its allies from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as that actions of the United States disunite the EU by deepening the dichotomy of the ‚new“ and „old“ Europe.

From the perspective of pragmatic interests of the United States, one cannot condemn the above action. Besides,  escalation of the AMD problem could mean the attempt of G.Bush administration to direct the attention of the American society from disasters in Iraq on the eve of the presidential elections. Finally, we cannot reject a probability that plans of the United States are related to the ambition to secure strategic superiority in regard to Russia.  Consequently, one could guess that missiles with the nuclear warhead could be deployed in Poland and that Russia’s response is incisive due to that.

However, it could be assumed that the issue of deployment of AMD components in Europe is part of „political games“ with military nuances.

If Lithuania was a neutral country, its position on dislocation of the American AMD components in Central Europe should be negative, since objectively the American policy in the above sphere does not contribute to the increase of stability in Europe.  Therefore Lithuania as an ally of the United States becomes a hostage of the process of dismemberment of Europe, and this is not useful for the country.  Besides, being a neighbor of Poland, Lithuania occurs in the zone of actual military danger, since a tactical nuclear weapon might occur in the Kaliningrad Region. Today some experts evaluate the threats of Russia quite skeptically, however the nuclear militarization of Kaliningrad Region is quite probable as a response to plans of the United States.

However, Lithuania is not a neutral state and cannot criticize positions of the United States and Poland. The expressed position of Lithuania could be considered as well-thought. „The issue on Lithuania‘s participation in the system of the US AMD system is not considered, however the system itself as well as implementation of its elements in Europe are relevant to Lithuania and to the entire international community [...]. Therefore we are convinced that components of the US anti-missile defense system in Czech Republic and Poland, as well as the eventual anti-missile defense system of NATO would increase security of Lithuania, Europe, as well as security of Russia“, says the joint statement of the ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs of Lithuania. This statement was announced after the words of the minister of defense J.Olekas during his visit to Moldova, that Lithuania „needs this system“. It could be stated that these words were not discreet enough.

It is assumed that Lithuania could do with the statement highlighting the complexity of the AMD issue and emphasizing the necessity of further consultations between all the interested parties so as to finally reach the decision appropriate to all the parties. Whereas the position of Lithuania expressed by the minister has more negative than positive aspects.  One of the key negative signs – Lithuania might occur in the front line, i.e. become a target of military forces of strategic purpose of Russia and Belarus, and the political relations of the countries might reach the unprecedented tension. While critically assessing the current Lithuanian position, it is not clear how components of the US AMD system in Czech republic and Poland could strengthen security of Lithuania, Europe, and, most interestingly, in Russia.

Generally, the statement coordinated by the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania does deal with the key moments of the situation on the AMD system and highlights the importance of this American act to the world; however, the focus in the statement should have been given to different things. First of all we should talk about the idea of constructing the anti-missile defense system within NATO as capable of theoretically connecting the United States, the EU and Russia, especially if the publicly declared interest of the United States on assurance of security of the EU and its allies (same as the initiative of Russia on establishment of the joint AMD system) is not simply populist projects.

In case if a common anti-missile defense system is established between Russia, the United States and EU, the world would surely move to another level of reciprocal trust in the sphere of security, and Lithuania would only benefit from that.

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