Volume 48, No.2 - Summer 2002
Editors of this issue: Violeta Kelertas
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 2002 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.


Purdue University, Calumet

On September 10, 2001, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus was in Washington, D.C., preparing for a meeting to be held the following day with President George W. Bush. The discussions would have covered a variety of issues, but of key importance to Adamkus was securing Bush's support for Lithuania's membership bid in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). With NATO scheduled to extend membership invitations at its November 2002 meetings in Prague, Adamkus was keen to cement Washington's support. The attacks on the United States on September 11 scuttled the scheduled talks between the Lithuanian and American presidents. Valdas Adamkus returned safely to Vilnius where he addressed his own people on the subject of terrorism and the role Lithuania would play in the emerging conflict.

This article surveys Lithuania's campaign for NATO membership, particularly in light of the changing political climate brought on by September 11 and subsequent events. Prior to the attacks on the United States, momentum had been building within NATO to enlarge the alliance into the Baltic states, Central Europe, and perhaps the Balkans. In the aftermath of September 11, enlargement is virtually certain.

Though Estonia and Latvia will likely be invited to join the alliance in November 2002, even prior to September 11, Lithuania was particularly well positioned for an invitation. The author flew to Vilnius in April 2001, to conduct extensive interviews with senior and mid-level personnel at the ministries of Foreign Affairs and National Defense. In addition, the author spoke with members of the Seimas and leading academics.

A variety of factors account for Lithuania's strong candidacy for NATO membership, including the state's relatively small ethnic Russian population, the country's limited border with Russia and reasonably good relations with Moscow, and the sophisticated efforts Lithuania has undertaken in positioning the country for a membership invitation. The Lithuanian government has adopted and implemented meticulous plans to persuade both its internal audience and its more important external audience, that Lithuanian membership in NATO is a necessity. Vilnius has endeavored to convince NATO that the alliance will ill-serve the causes of security and peace if Lithuania is bypassed for membership. Concurrently, Lithuania has endeavored to assure Moscow that Russia will actually benefit if Lithuania joins the alliance. It has been a complicated dance, but a dance that will likely culminate this November in a NATO membership invitation to Lithuania.

The NATO Debate

Many issues compete for attention among scholars of international relations. During the 1990s, few questions raised as much interest as those involving NATO enlargement.1 Proponents have consistently argued that enlarging the alliance will solidify the political, military, economic, and social transitions throughout Central and Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, and the Balkans.2 Supporters acknowledge Russian objections to enlargement, but contend that the process can be designed to ameliorate Moscow's concerns. Interestingly, other advocates of enlargement maintain that an expanded NATO is necessary to check and balance any future threats emanating from Russia.3

Though some opponents of enlargement have written that NATO should have been disbanded at the end of the Cold War4, this is not a widely held view. Indeed, most opponents of enlargement have asserted that the original Cold War alliance of sixteen member-states should have been preserved to serve as an "insurance policy" for future conflicts in Europe. Opponents of enlargement contend that as new states join the alliance, and NATO is called upon to engage an ever-growing array of crises and conflicts, the organization's credibility and effectiveness will be stretched—conceivably to the breaking point. Many opponents also assert that shifting NATO's borders to the East needlessly antagonizes Russia and emboldens Russian nationalists.5

While there have been numerous studies of the Baltic region's campaign for NATO enlargement6, few scholars have devoted systematic attention to the individual efforts of the various states.7 Through archival research and in-country interviews, this study demonstrates how the Lithuanian government has effectively positioned itself for a NATO membership invitation.

Independence and Integration With the West

The Baltic nations played an important role in the collapse of the Soviet Union. As Soviet power was waning in the late 1980s, the Baltic people took full advantage of Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms, particularly glasnost, and publicized the USSR's long and oppressive rule of the region. In the final months of the Soviet Union, the Baltic states led the other regions and republics in their determination to break free from Soviet and Russian hegemony.

Lithuanians are duly proud of this period as any one can readily grasp upon visiting the nation. In Vilnius, at a museum dedicated to recording the history of the KGB in Lithuania, the floor above the gruesome basement jail cells features a photo gallery of the heady days of independence. Pictured among the photos of Soviet tanks and armored personnel carriers in the streets of Vilnius, stands the defiant music professor turned independence leader, Vytautas Landsbergis, along with many residents of the capital city, young and old, who bravely defied the last gasp of Soviet power in Lithuania.

A number of foreign policy configurations were available to Lithuania as the state considered its newly found independence. Maintaining close military and foreign policy ties to Moscow drew few supporters. Lithuania also dismissed any form of neutrality, a strategy that had been adopted in the past without success. Rejecting ties to Moscow and neutrality, Lithuania turned to the West. Lithuanian commentators are quick to point out that their history, culture, religions, and language link the state much more closely to the West than the East. With over one million people of Lithuanian ancestry living in the West, particularly the United States, a Western orientation in the post-Soviet period won the broad support of both Lithuanian elites and the general public.

Early on, Lithuanian elites understood that formal institutional ties to the West were required. In an international system in which state sovereignty is prized, Lithuania recognized that membership in international institutions and regimes would give added credibility to the new government in Vilnius. In September 1991, Lithuania sought recognition and membership in the United Nations and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). In the years to follow, Lithuania would establish institutional links and join other organizations, including the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, the Council of Europe, and the Western European Union. Lithuania would become an active participant in these organizations and others, but membership in one international organization, in particular, came to dominate the hopes and unswerving efforts of the Baltic states in the post-Soviet era, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Lithuania's quest for post-Soviet security coincided with NATO's own search for a post-Cold War identity. Rather than celebrate the end of the Soviet Union and dismantle the alliance, NATO quickly readjusted to the emerging period and began to retool the alliance for the uncertain future. In 1991, NATO delineated a new raison d'être, explicitly stating that economic, social, and political transitions and conflicts within Eastern Europe would be of material concern to the alliance.8 For Lithuania, NATO's decision to engage Eastern Europe could not have been more welcome. NATO was perceived as the West's premier institution, an institution that had been created to defy Soviet power, and witnessed the demise of that power. While the League of Nations failed to deter aggression and the United Nations had never matched the hopes its architects held out in 1945, NATO had stood the test of time. Membership in the organization was viewed as key to a successful transition from the East's insecurity and stagnation to the West's security and prosperity.

The Turn to NATO

Lithuania's first direct link to NATO came in December 1991, when the alliance formed the North Atlantic Treaty Council (NACC). NATO envisioned NACC as a mechanism that would facilitate meetings and discussions between the sixteen member alliance and the governments emerging to the east. Though NACC provided a forum to hold discussions on a range of issues during 1992 and 1993, many individuals and governments began calling for more tangible linkages between non-NATO states and the alliance. In April 1993, the Presidents of Poland and Hungary, Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel, respectively, met with President Bill Clinton in Washington and argued that post-Cold War Eurasian transitions and security would be best served by enlarging the alliance.

Overruling Pentagon reservations, President Clinton pressed the alliance to create a formal mechanism within NATO that would dramatically increase NATO's ties with the states of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. NATO's new institution, Partnership for Peace (PfP), was formally established in January 1994. The members of PfP were pledged to work with the permanent members on a number of objectives, including the promotion of civilian controls over national militaries, transparency in national defense planning and budgeting processes, and the development of cooperative military relations with NATO.

The Lithuanian government quickly seized the opportunities presented by PfP. Indeed, just weeks after the establishment of PfP, Lithuania's President, Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas, traveled to Brussels and signed the PfP framework documents. Seven years after Lithuania joined PfP, I asked a senior Foreign Ministry official what hopes Vilnius held for PfP when it was first established. Without hesitation, the official smiled and said the government viewed PfP as the first step toward full NATO membership.9 Indeed, several Lithuanian officials confirmed the author's assessment that, since 1994, Lithuania has employed PfP as a political tool to create the momentum for an eventual membership invitation. As one Foreign Ministry official confided, "Every step we take is designed to forward the goal of NATO membership. We select the various NATO programs that we feel will put us in the best light."10

Throughout 1994 and 1995, Vilnius moved quickly to capitalize upon its new status as an associate member of NATO. Deciding that it was important to establish military ties not only with NATO as a whole, but with individual states, Vilnius signed formal Military Cooperation Agreements in 1994 with Denmark, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. More would follow.

Beyond establishing policies to comply with PfP guidelines and building bi-lateral military ties, Vilnius was keen to participate in actual United Nations or NATO peace enforcement and peacekeeping missions. Officials interviewed for this study made clear that the participation of Lithuanian forces in multilateral interventions was viewed, by diplomats in Vilnius, as a component of the strategy through which full NATO membership could be attained.11 The first opportunity for an international deployment came in August 1994, when Lithuania sent a platoon (32 personnel) to Croatia under the auspices of the United Nations. Lithuania's initial participation in a NATO-led operation would come in early 1996, when the nation deployed approximately 140 personnel to Bosnia.12

Participating in PfP paid off handsomely for Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in July 1997, when NATO's permanent members and over a dozen aspiring member-states gathered in Madrid, Spain, to witness the organization's formal invitations of membership to the three Central European states. Throughout the summit, NATO officials were at pains to assert that these invitations should not be interpreted by other governments as the final chapter in NATO expansion. Indeed, the "Madrid Declaration" emphatically stated that, "The Alliance expects to extend further invitations in coming years..."13 In order to allay the fears and address the disappointment of the Baltic states, the declaration went on to assert: "we recognize the progress achieved towards greater stability and cooperation in the Baltic region which are also aspiring members."14

While the three Baltic states expressed their regret in being passed over, the region's political and military leaders were encouraged by the "open door" that NATO communicated in the Madrid Declaration. This opening was made manifest six months following the Madrid conference, when the presidents of the three Baltic states joined President Clinton in the East Room of the White House and signed the U.S.-Baltic Charter of Partnership. The document devoted considerable attention to the issues of nationbuilding, the rule of law, and free market reforms, but it was also quite explicit on the question of NATO's enlargement:

The Partners believe that the enlargement of NATO will enhance the security of the United States, Canada, and all the countries of Europe, including those states not immediately invited to membership or not currently interested in membership... The United States welcomes the aspirations and supports the efforts of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to join NATO.15

After NATO extended invitations to the three Central European states, Lithuania redoubled its campaign for the next round of invitations, which were first proposed for 1999, but then postponed until 2002. Since 1997, Lithuania's efforts to integrate into NATO's multifaceted institutional mechanisms have been sophisticated and highly successful. Virtually every level of the Lithuanian government—office of the President, Seimas, Ministries of National Defense and Foreign Affairs—have participated in the campaign to position the country for the next round of NATO invitations.

According to Lithuanian records, "In the period 1997-2000, the Lithuanian Individual Partnership Programme (IPP) covered about 650 events, including active participation of Lithuanian troops in 36 PfP exercises and 29 exercises 'in the spirit of PfP. Lithuania has prepared her tailored IPP for the year 2001-2002, which provides participation in about 150 events annually..."16

Participation in NATO's numerous training exercises coincides with continuing Lithuanian military deployments to U.N. and NATO operations in the Balkans. Beyond maintaining its limited force in Bosnia, after the NATO air war against Serbia in September 1999, Lithuania contributed a platoon consisting of thirty personnel to the NATO "Joint Guardian" operations. In addition to missions to Bosnia and Kosovo, Vilnius dispatched a team of ten medical technicians to Albania in 1999 under the auspices of NATO's "Allied Harbor" operation. In fall 2001, Lithuania deployed 30 soldiers to on-going operations in Kosovo, and in February 2002, 95 military personnel were scheduled to join Danish units serving in Bosnia.17

Military deployments to the Balkans and PfP-related training exercises have proven financially costly to the government of Lithuania. Those costs, however, will be dwarfed by those expected due to the decision to nearly double the size of the Lithuanian armed forces in the years to come. With approximately 13,000 personnel serving in the national defense system in 2002, Vilnius is committed to increasing its force structure to 23,000 in future years. Officials interviewed on these proposed changes offered conflicting assessments as to national priorities. Military officers at the Ministry of National Defense asserted that the increases were solely based on military requirements. However, diplomats at the Foreign Ministry conceded that the increases were very much linked to Lithuania's campaign for NATO membership.18

Of course, such a sizable increase in personnel will require equally impressive increases in defense spending. The permanent members of NATO have informed aspirant governments that a serious military commitment to NATO will require defense budgets approximating 2 percent of Gross National Product (GNP). Throughout the 1990's, and particularly in the latter half of the decade, Vilnius dramatically increased defense spending. Between 1998 and 1999, Lithuanian defense spending increased by approximately $45 million, from $135 million in 1998 to $180 million in 1999.19 National law requires that Lithuania maintain spending levels in accordance with NATO's 2 percent directive and the government is pledged to reach that level during 2002.20


Overshadowing almost every step taken by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in their quest for NATO membership has been their neighbor to the east. Today, while most Baltic elites are circumspect when publicly discussing Russia, just below the surface, Baltic leaders and their publics are highly leery and distrustful of Russia. During an interview in Vilnius, a senior governmental official leaned across a table and said in remarks not for attribution, "Russia today (April 2001) is an authoritarian state moving in the direction of fascism."21

Just as the determination of the Baltic peoples to orient their foreign policies toward integration with the West was inevitable, so too was the predictable response from Moscow. While Baltic elites found an ally in Boris Yeltsin between 1989 and 1991, the historic link between Russia and the Baltic states made this brief honeymoon particularly short-lived. Possession of the Baltic states was an important factor in propelling Russia into the ranks of the great powers, and the Soviets were no less aware of its strategic political, and economic importance. The post-Soviet Russian government also understood the value of the region, particularly as the Baltic governments accelerated their campaigns to integrate into Western institutions.

For a variety of reasons, some noted above, Lithuania's interactions with Russia have been less contentious than Estonia's and Latvia's. As opposed to Latvia and Estonia, which emerged from the Soviet era with a large number of ethnic Russians in residence, Lithuania was approximately 80 percent ethnic Lithuanian with Russians accounting for slightly less than 10 percent of the population. Shortly after independence was restored, Vilnius shrewdly guaranteed full citizenship to virtually all residents of Lithuania. Throughout the 1990s, the issue of Russian minorities in Estonia and Latvia would fuel border tensions between the three countries. Though Lithuania does not share an eastern border with Russia, the region of Kaliningrad has been an issue of ongoing concern between Moscow and Vilnius. However, through regular consultations on matters ranging from transit rights to economic development, Russia and Lithuania have effectively managed the delicate issue of Kaliningrad.

In addition to minority rights and transit issues, the presence of Soviet troops in the Baltic states was a central concern during the early 1990s. The last of these troops left Lithuania in August 1993, a full year before Soviet forces were withdrawn from Estonia and Latvia. As Graþina Miniotaitë writes, "After the withdrawal of Russian troops in Lithuania, a pro-Western policy became conspicuous."22

Throughout the 1990s, the Kremlin argued that NATO expansion into the Baltic region would jeopardize Russian security. Indeed, several months after the 1997 Madrid meetings, the Russians used the opening session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OCSE) meeting in Vilnius to unmistakably declare their opposition to any future enlargement of the alliance. Speaking for the Yeltsin government, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin declared that a NATO policy of enlargement into the Baltics would be the "biggest strategic mistake... in world politics since the end of the Cold War."23 As both prime minister and president, Vladimir Putin, has consistently spoken out against NATO enlargement. In June 2000, in an interview for the Hamburg Welt am Sonntag, Putin was asked to comment on Baltic hopes for joining the alliance. Putin stated flatly, "I am convinced that no state in the world would have warm feelings towards the extension of a military block to which it does not belong. Especially if it means that the zone of direct boundaries with this alliance increases [sic]. It is natural for Russia to regard the plans to further NATO enlargement as hostile and as being opposed to its security."24 Putin has softened his position since September 11.

Though U.S. and NATO leaders have repeatedly assured Moscow that Russia has nothing to fear from NATO's presence in the Baltics, the Russians, particularly the Russian military elite, view NATO as a military alliance heading east. Stephen Blank, a U.S. scholar who favors NATO expansion, accurately depicts how the Russian military perceives the enlargement:

Were NATO forces to be placed in the Baltics, they would be only 75 miles from St. Petersburg, able to launch tactical aircraft carrying precision-guided or nuclear weapons that would be less than an hour's flight from either St. Petersburg or Moscow... NATO could launch either conventional or nuclear sea-based missiles from the Baltic coast, greatly enhancing the potential for surprise attack... NATO could blockade the Baltic Sea against Russia... and... it could surround and cut off Kaliningrad from Russia. Such contingencies would have disastrous effects on Russia.25

Baltic elites scoff at such fears. Lithuanian defense ministry officials interviewed on this topic argued that Russia has absolutely no reason to fear military strikes emanating from Lithuania, Estonia, or Latvia. Indeed, officials argued that if expansion went forward, in all likelihood, Russia would be assured that NATO's military presence in the region would resemble the nonthreatening deployments in Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. More specifically, Moscow would be assured that no forward deployments of nuclear strike forces would be considered, and significant limitations would be placed on conventional force deployments.

Acknowledging that much work was required to assuage Moscow's opposition to Lithuania's effort to join NATO, throughout the 1990s, Lithuanian diplomats labored to foster positive relations with Moscow. Since 1991, a large body of bilateral agreements and understandings have been concluded between the two states. Ten years of diplomacy and exchanges culminated in the March 2001 summit in Moscow between Presidents Adamkus and Putin. A joint statement issued at the conclusion of their summit pledged the two governments to coordinate their bilateral relations on a variety of fronts including: commercial, economic, scientific, humanitarian and cultural. More specifically, the governments agreed to enhance cooperation on the issue of Kaliningrad regarding transport, military transit, railway tariffs, and transit through seaports. The communiqué went on to delineate rescue operations at sea, international terrorism, trans-border organized crime, and trafficking in drugs and arms as issues of mutual concern. Avoiding any specific reference to NATO, the joint statement declared, "The Parties recognize the right of each and every state to choose its security arrangements, committing at the same time not to strengthen their security at the expense of the security of other states."26

Meeting in Vilnius just one month following the Putin - Adamkus summit, several Lithuanian officials asserted that during the leaders' private discussions at the Kremlin, the question of NATO was raised. Putin is reported to have told Adamkus that "you guys are wrong" in seeking to join NATO, but it was a matter for the Lithuanians to decide.27

Though Lithuanians point to a wide array of accords with Moscow, Lithuanian officials send mixed signals, both privately and publicly, as to their true feelings about Russia. For instance, though President Adamkus has declared that Lithuania's membership in NATO will actually benefit Russia's security and economic interests, he has also asserted that, "Accepting Lithuania into NATO is a signal to Russia that never... will Lithuania be taken over again by Russia... This is a formal declaration to Russia politically that we are free, and declaring ourselves free forever."28

In virtually every interview conducted for this study, the author was exposed to the contradictions in the public and private views of officials. Diplomats, military officers and political figures repeatedly stated that Lithuania is an ideal candidate for full membership, because, for among other reasons, the country does not confront any serious threat to its security. When asked about NATO's security guarantee found in Article V of the NATO Charter, most officials dismissed the idea that Lithuania would ever call upon NATO to enact Article V in defense of Lithuanian territory. However, when pushed to address possible security threats, officials acknowledged that their history with Russia and their geographical proximity to Russia could not be ignored. As one senior Foreign Ministry official stated, "Today there is no specific security threat, but what about tomorrow."29

In discussing the Russian government of the past ten years, Lithuanian officials were quick to note that the Kremlin had destabilized regimes throughout the former Soviet Union including Georgia and Moldova. Most also volunteered criticism of the human rights abuses committed by the Yeltsin and Putin governments in Chechnya. I was repeatedly informed that Vladimir Putin, and his senior aides, particularly Foreign Minister Ivanov, represented the "old school."30 While the interviews for this article were being conducted in Vilnius in April 2001, the Putin government was cracking down on independent Russian media outlets. Few officials let this pass without comment. In sum, the Lithuanians worry about revanchism in Russia and see NATO as their only viable means of deterring Russia in the future.

Counting the Votes

Lithuania has enjoyed excellent relations with Washington since the end of the Cold War. Even a brief review of official U.S. statements on NATO enlargement reveals substantial bipartisan support for Lithuania's future membership in NATO. Since 1994, every major U.S. presidential candidate has endorsed future enlargement, including Clinton, Dole, Gore and Bush. This support has not been taken for granted. Coordinating its efforts from Vilnius, but working closely with its embassy in Washington, and the large Lithuanian-American community, the Lithuanian government has taken every opportunity to promote U.S. support for full membership. Beyond presidents and presidential aspirants, key members of the U.S. Congress have endorsed Baltic, and particularly, Lithuanian membership. In a visit to Lithuania in 1998, Senator John Warner declared, "in case Lithuania's sovereignty is ever challenged and NATO does not respond, the alliance would lose credibility—it does not matter at all if Lithuania is a member or not."31 During a March 2001 trip to Lithuania, Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, declared "I will work together with President Bush and Vice-president Cheney and with the secretaries of State and Defense, Powell and Rumsfeld, to make [NATO membership] a reality. For more than 50 years the U.S. decidedly refused to recognize illegal and immoral acts of the Soviets, and NATO would make a mistake if it did not meet the desires of a freedom-loving Lithuania."32

During my visit to Vilnius in April 2001, the Foreign Ministry provided a copy of a letter sent that month by seventeen U.S. Senators to President George W. Bush. The letter, which had been faxed from Washington and passed on to the author, praised Bush for his campaign promises to support enlargement. The letter was signed by members of both parties and represented a broad range of political views, from Senator Jesse Helms to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In addition to Washington, Lithuania has support from other quarters. Lithuania has a significant advocate in the Czech Republic, namely Vaclav Havel. Havel has long called for Lithuanian membership. In September 1999, Havel gave an interview on a Lithuanian television program and declared, "The alliance's expansion policy should continue and embrace Lithuania... We have always stressed that Lithuania, just like other Baltic States, must enter into the alliance in the near future, just like the southern and southeastern European countries."33 In addition to the Czech Republic, Lithuania has support from the Nordic States, Poland, Hungary, Turkey among others.

During interviews, Lithuanian diplomats acknowledged not only the support, but the opposition that remained to NATO enlargement, particularly within West European governments. The Foreign Ministry in Vilnius carefully tracks the views of many governments and notes that, in some European capitals, NATO enlargement is greeted coolly owing, in part, to the reaction from Moscow. Some governments in Western Europe are concerned that enlarging the alliance will result in specific Russian actions, such as failing to honor Russian debts owed to European states. Foreign Ministry officials in Vilnius mentioned several West European governments whose support was less than firm. In regards to Great Britain, I was told, "there is not much interest" in Lithuania's quest for NATO membership. Another official acknowledged that while Washington was not a concern, there was an air of "appeasement" in Paris and Bonn.34 Reservations remain in Western Europe, but since September 11, the European trend has been to back Washington's proenlargement policies.

Events Since September 11 and the Road to Prague

Since September 11, the Lithuanian government has actively sought to join the international community's antiterrorist campaign. In addition to granting the U.S. access to Lithuanian airspace and sharing intelligence on terrorist activities, Vilnius proposed deploying military personnel to the American-led operation "Enduring Freedom," in conjunction with a Czech field hospital. Lithuania dispatched humanitarian aid to the U.S. following the attacks on New York and Washington in the form of military medical emergency crews and a victims' identification unit.

The impact of September 11 on NATO enlargement has been considerable. Moscow has clearly reevaluated its position, and relations between the United States and Russia have improved markedly. Shortly after the attacks, President Putin allied himself with the American campaign in Afghanistan, which included Russian support for deployment of U.S. military units in several Central Asian states. During meetings in Brussels in early October 2001, President Putin unmistakably indicated that a new chapter in Russian-NATO enlargement was dawning. As Putin stated, "NATO enlargement will take place... I think we should abandon this logic under which every time the subject matter of NATO enlargement is discussed it creates some kind of destructive, rather than, productive argument."35 Covering the meetings for Radio Free Europe, Francesca Mereu reported, "Putin said that if the alliance becomes a political, rather than military, organization, and if Russia were to 'feel involved in such processes,' it would reconsider opposition."36

Putin's comments were not lost on the United States. While briefing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in late October 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged the change in Russian policy on enlargement and testified that Putin's shifting position "would make it even easier for [Moscow] to accept any enlargement to the alliance when that comes up for decision in Prague [in] the fall 2002."37

Since Putin's meeting in Brussels, NATO and Moscow have been negotiating a new mechanism to increase Russia's participation in alliance debates and policy making. In February 2002, these discussions resulted in a NATO overture to Moscow that would create "The NATO-Russia Council." The council would consist of NATO's nineteen permanent members and Russia. Though Moscow will not be permitted a veto, and the permanent members will reserve the right to meet without the Russian representative, the council may prove to assuage Russian pride as NATO invites former Soviet republics to formally join the alliance.

The meetings that had been scheduled for September 11, 2001, between President Adamkus and President Bush were eventually held in Washington in mid-January 2002. Bush praised Lithuania's participation in the campaign to confront global terrorism, and singled out Vilnius as a NATO aspirant who had met the alliance's standards for full membership. Lithuania's prospects for NATO membership were highly promising prior to the attacks on New York and Washington; in the aftermath of September 11, Lithuania's membership in the alliance is all but certain. Though disagreements remain on both sides of the Atlantic as to the prosecution of the war on terror, enlarging the alliance to include all the Baltic states is now widely accepted, even, however reluctantly, in Moscow.


1 Several of the major studies on NATO enlargement include: Sean Kay, NATO and the Future of European Security (Landham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield 1998); David Yost, NATO Transformed: The Alliance's New Roles in International Security (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1998); and Ted Galen Carpenter and Barbara Conry (eds.) NATO Enlargement: Illusions and Reality (Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 1998).
2 See Ronald D. Amus, Richard L. Kugler, and F. Stephen Larrabee, "Building a New NATO", Foreign Affairs 72 (September/ October 1993) pp. 28-40.
3 This argument is assessed in J.L. Black's, Russia Faces NATO Expansion (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2000).
4 Ted Galen Carpenter, Beyond NATO: Staying out of Europe's Wars (Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 1995).
5 Michael McGwire, "NATO Expansion: A Policy Error of Historic Importance", Review of International Studies 24 (1998) pp. 23-42; Michael Mandelbaum, The Dawn of Peace in Europe (New York: Twentieth Century Fund Press, 1996); and Michael Brown, "The Flawed Logic of NATO Expansion", Survival 18/2 (Spring 1995) pp. 34-52.
6 Birthe Hansen and Bertel Heurlin, The Baltic Sates in World Politics (New York: St. Martin's Press 1998); Olav F. Knudsen (ed.), Stability and Security in the Baltic Sea Region: Russian, Nordic, and European Aspects (London: Frank Cass Publishers, 1999); and Stephen Blank, "Russia, NATO Enlargement, and the Baltic States", World Affairs 160/3 (Winter, 1998), pp. 115-125.
7 Studies centering on Lithuania and NATO include Michael Murray, "Lithuania and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE): The First Step to NATO Membership", Lituanus 44/4 (1998) pp. 55-78 and Fred Coleman, "The Kaliningrad Scenario: Expanding NATO to the Baltics", World Policy Journal 3/14 (Fall, 1997), pp. 71-75.
8 See "The Alliance's New Strategic Concept." NATO Document. Rome, November 1991.
9 Author's Interview with Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Official. Vilnius. April 2001.
10 Author's Interview with Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Official. Vilnius. April 2001.
11 Author's Interview with Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Official. Vilnius. April 2001.
12 "Lithuania: Adding Value to the NATO Alliance 2002." Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense. Vilnius, 2001.
13 See "The Madrid Declaration on Euro-Atlantic Security and Cooperation," NATO Press Release M-l(97)81, Madrid. July 8, 1997.
14 Ibid.
15 See: "A Charter of Partnership Among the United States of America and the Republics of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania." Washington, D.C. January 16, 1998.
16 See: http://www.urm.1t/data/4/EF1184039cooperation.htm
17 See Footnote 7.
18 Confidential Interviews. Lithuanian Ministries of National Defense and Foreign Office. Vilnius. April 2001.
19 See: "White Paper '99." Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense. Vilnius, 1999.
20 See Footnote 12.
21 Author's Interview with Member of the Lithuanian Seimas. Vilnius. April 2001.
22 Graþina Miniotaitë, "Lithuania," Han Mouritzen (ed.) Bordering Russia: Theory and Prospects for Europe's Baltic Rim. Brookfield: Ashgate, 1998, p. 175.
23 J.L. Black, "Russia and NATO Expansion Eastward." International Journal. Vol. LIV No. 2, Spring 1999.
24 See: "Putin Urges Partnership and Understanding," Welt am Sonntag. June 11, 2000.
25 Stephen J. Blank, "Russia and the Baltics in the Age of NATO Enlargement." Parameters, Autumn 1998, p. 58.
Author's Interview with Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Official. Vilnius. April 2001.
28 Patrick E. Tyler, "Baltic States, Asking Bush's Help, See NATO as Shield from Russia." New York Times. June 15, 2001.
29 Author's Interview. Lithuanian Foreign Ministry. Vilnius. April 2001.
30 Author's Interview with Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Official. Vilnius. April 2001.
31 Renatas Norkus, "The U.S. Role in Lithuania's Foreign and Security Policy." Lithuanian Foreign Policy Review. Vol. 3, 1999.
32 See: Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Archives. "Lithuania's Cooperation with the United States of America." May 2001. http://www.urm.1t/data/5/EF410113528usa.htm.
33 See: The Baltic News Service. September 21, 1999.
34 Author's Interview with Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Official. Vilnius. April 2001.
35 Joint News Conference between President Putin and NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson. Brussels. October 3, 2001.
36 Francesca Mereu, "Latvia: Is Russia Still a Security Threat?" Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, November 1, 2001.
37 Frank Csongos, "Russia: Moscow's Concern Over NATO Expansion Easing." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. October 26, 2001.


Artwork of Vytautas O. Virkau