Lithuania in U.S. Foreign Policy During the Presidencies of B. Clinton and B. Obama
The presidency of Barack Obama is often compared with the presidency of Bill Clinton, because many similarities exist between them such as warm relations with Russia, preference for soft-power instead of hard power, and so on. This article addresses the question of whether Lithuania's role in U.S. foreign policy is also similar in the two presidencies, since Lithuania (and the other Baltic states) was always in the U.S. field of interest because of its geopolitical position and U.S. competition with Russia. This article seeks to compare the role of Lithuania in U.S. foreign policy during the presidency of B. Clinton and B. Obama according to several criteria: the presentation of Lithuania in U.S. strategic documents and official rhetoric; the role of Lithuania in U.S. foreign policy practice; and the role of Lithuania in U.S.-Russian relations.
The article concludes that Lithuania's presentation in U.S. strategic documents and official rhetoric during the presidency of B. Clinton and B. Obama differs mostly in frequency of mention. In foreign policy practice U.S.-Lithuanian relations were transferred from the format "Work for you" to "Work with you." However, although in U.S.-Russian relations Lithuania was never the main factor that sharpened these relations— it only received its main security guarantees during the presidency of B. Obama.
Containment and Engagement as Middle-Range Theories
In the studies of international relations containment and engagement are often understood as strategies of foreign policy. This article seeks to explore containment and engagement through a less frequently applied theoretical perspective: to find out what features of containment and engagement allow them to be called middle-range theories.
The article presents the main features of meta- and middle-range theories, draws attention to realism as meta-theory and then distinguishes the most characteristic features of containment and engagement in order to find their matches in the attributes of middle-range theories.
The article concludes that containment and engagement can be called middle-range theories, since they are power balancing theories that analyze the phenomenon from a specific point of view (individual approaches to the instruments, regions, targets), they are comprehensive, and they stay within the field of power balancing analysis.
Traditionally, Containment and Engagement strategies are considered to be the part of the United States foreign policy during the Cold War. However, recent developments in international relations indicated that these strategies are still relevant to the contemporary foreign policy of the U.S., particularly in the U.S.-Russian relations. Contradictory presidency of George W. Bush has raised a question which of the mentioned foreign policy strategies was dominating in the U.S.-Russian relations. On the one hand, U.S. officials had declared that partnership with Russia was being pursued. On the other hand, the administration of G.W. Bush favored the expansion of NATO and did not surrender the initiative of missile defense shield. This paper intends to assess which foreign policy strategy (Containment or Engagement) dominated in U.S.-Russian relations during the presidency of G.W. Bush and to analyse reasons of such domination and the ways these strategies were implemented. The results of the research indicate that G. W. Bush administration implemented different foreign policy towards Russia on the declared and practical foreign policy levels. If on the official U.S. foreign policy level Russia’s engagement strategy dominated, in the U.S. foreign policy practice, particularly influenced by the foreign policy of Russia, and to a lesser extent by the events in the international arena, the dominant foreign policy strategy towards Russia was Russia’s containment strategy.
Gerda Jakštaitė and Justinas Juozaitis
Giedrius Česnakas, Gerda Jakštaitė and Justinas Juozaitis
The article argues that despite the evident link between political environment and security of energy supply, political elements are not sufficiently represented in contemporary scientific literature, namely in indexes that are designed for the assessment of security of energy supply. In an attempt to fill this gap, the article presents an innovative methodology for quantitative assessment of the political vulnerabilities on security of energy supply and applies it to the analysis of the Baltic States.
The proposed index determines the plausibility of the occurrence of threats of a political nature on the security of energy supply and defines it as political vulnerability. The application of index methodology to an analysis of the Baltic States has revealed that the overall political vulnerability on security of energy supply is the highest in Lithuania, considerably lower in Latvia, and the lowest in Estonia. The analysis has shown that political vulnerability has increased in Lithuania due to the closure of Ignalina NPP and an increase in energy import quantities from politically unstable countries, such as Russia. On the contrary, political vulnerabilities on the security of the energy supply have decreased in Latvia and Estonia due to the increase of consumption of indigenous energy. However, preliminary calculations show that political vulnerabilities should decrease considerably in 2015 in Lithuania due to the diversification of the natural gas supply.