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The article explores threats related to illicit trafficking of radioactive materials and dual-use goods applicable in state level nuclear programs, actualizing the global trends for the Baltic region. The article points to Eastern Europe’s changing risk profile in this respect, as increasing penetration of Russian criminal groups inside Ukraine and the destabilized situations in neighboring countries create an environment where the risk of nuclear smuggling is on the rise. Criminal entities can be seen forming new bonds, with trafficking routes intersecting and zones of influence shifting - consequently, an unusual level of criminal involvement in nuclear smuggling is observed, alongside a geographic shift of smuggling patterns. In addition, states seeking materials and technologies for their military programs have taken a notable interest in this region as a way of circumventing international transit regulations. The article looks at the likely implications of these new nuclear smuggling trends for the security of the Baltic states. It suggests that Lithuania may soon be facing a relatively new threat, and one that it is ill-prepared to counter. The article discusses the risk factors and indicators to watch before that risk becomes reality, and offers ways for Lithuania to contribute to addressing these increasingly acute problems on a regional level.
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The present article deals with the problem, often discussed in the public sphere, of the decreased attention that the USA gives to Lithuania and to the region of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) on the whole, discusses the changing international environment, USA’s “pivot to Asia” and possible changes in the US foreign policy during the time of President Obama’s second term of office. The article states that Lithuania, being interested in the vitality of transatlantic relations, should consider the issue of “winning back” the USA’s attention to the region and to Europe as a whole, by assessing the issues of security to be solved. The research shows that even with a decade of its membership in Euro-Atlantic structures, Lithuania has not been fully integrated into the transatlantic security community. On the basis of a theoretical perspective of a small state and neoclassical realism, the article deals with the external and internal factors explaining the state’s foreign policy, analyzes Lithuania’s possible behavior in an international space, including the North Atlantic Alliance. In recent years NATO has been confronted not only with the global threats of the 21st century but also with a “burden share” problem that is becoming ever more acute. The situation of Lithuania’s security as to the guarantees of collective defense provided by the Alliance is assessed as the best one since the restoration of Independence; however, this does not release it from the necessity to widely develop its own defense capacities. Even though Europe constantly underlines the importance of transatlantic relations and intensive economic-trade relations with the USA, it has not developed a common attitude to its relations with the USA. Taking into consideration the present-day challenges, Europe needs a more global, more strategic attitude.
Civil-military relations in Lithuania have serious deficiencies, which have appeared because of the emulation of a recommended Western model of civilian control. After regaining Independence, Lithuania had the difficult task of creating its armed forces and system of national defence following the Western model. At the same time we had to implement two political programs: to create functioning armed forces and a institutional-legal system of democratic civil-military control. However, this control is not only proper laws and functioning institutions. Equally, an important role must be given to intellectual reflection, which enables the posing of questions such as: what is war; how is the character of war changing; how does this affect Lithuanian defence policies and the perception of threats? Raising such questions inside the armed forces and in wider political and civil society is an essential condition for having effective and flexible civilian control over the military.
The wave of Arab uprisings (both non-violent and violent) that started in January 2011 is a remarkable phenomenon that has attracted enormous attention from international media outlets. In fact, the Arab world has not experienced such political and social upheaval in decades. It is no coincidence that many Western countries whose security interests have been closely related to these Arab states found themselves confused by the beginning of the uprisings. Most Western security experts at the beginning were silent. A year or even a couple of months ago almost none of them could have predicted that these Arab countries would go through such deep political and social upheavals that would have such deep ramifications on the security situation in these countries, the region, and far beyond it. Caught off-balance by the Arab uprisings, Western security experts rushed to explain what the causes of the uprisings were. Who are the actors and what are the forces behind the uprisings? The important question still remains - what are the possible consequences of the uprisings for Western interests? Is all the change only about the change of a few ruling persons? Or are we witnessing deeper systematic (and revolutionary) changes in some Arab countries that will have a long-term impact on the West? So far, unambiguous answers to these questions are hard to find. However, some insights related to the questions above can already be made. The aim of this article is to analyze the Arab uprisings, their causes and possible effects on Western and Lithuanian security interests. Will Lithuanian national security be affected by the Arab uprisings? Are uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain and other Arab countries important for Lithuanian national security? Can Lithuania ignore the events that are happening in regions far away from Lithuania’s borders?
In 2014, at the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine and Russia‘s aggression against this neighboring country, Lithuania became concerned about the strengthening of its military capabilities, augmenting the National Defense System (NDS) budget by almost 50% in two years. This may be considered unprecedented, if seen against the background of the presidential elections and those to the European Parliament, the fiscal discipline, the introduction of euro, as well as Russia‘s economic sanctions, the political decision in the course of 2014 on increasing the defense assignation by 130 million litas and in 2015 the increase by planned additional 356 million litas. This article analyzes two closely related problems of the Lithuanian NDS capabilities. First of all, changes in the NDS financing are explored in the context of permanent agreements of Lithuanian political parties concerning the allocation of 2% of the GDP for defense. This is followed by the discussion of the issues of military personnel staffing and training of the reserve as well as future challenges. This research contributes to the assessment of the critical NDS financing and staffing not only within academic circles but particularly among politicians and society in general. Additionally, it contributes to the awareness of the problems the army encountered in seeking to implement the objective set for it: to ensure the military security of the state. In the presence of the emerging threats in the region, this is of particularly great significance to the demilitarized and pacifist society of Lithuania. The article aims at identifying financing and personnel planning problems throughout a quarter of the century, ranging from the restoration of the Army of the Republic of Lithuania to 2014 inclusively. At the same time, the study encourages a discussion by the academic community on issues of the military security of the Lithuanian State and provides analyses as well as possible development scenarios.
Judita Koreivienė and Jūratė Kasperovičienė
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At present, the accommodative and technocratic policy of Europe, dominant in Lithuania (as well as in the European Union), is pushing Lithuania (and the European Union) to the margins of global politics, and it reflects the inability to fight for Lithuania’s meta-political interests in the European Union and the region. With a decade of its membership in the European Union at hand, Lithuania has not yet formulated a strategic vision of its presence in the European Union; all the previous attempts to develop such a strategy have been exhausted or failed; meanwhile the strategic capabilities of Lithuania are consistently weakening. The main objective of this article is to enrich the current technocratic policy with a meta-political, values-based, strategic dimension. Seeking the best feasible alternatives for the horizontal and fragmented level of Lithuania’s studies on Europe, the researcher has consciously chosen the European policy of the Holy See which stands out as to its verticality, capability to maintain the continuity of its principles and essential goals and its impact on the formation of Europe itself. It is an attempt to find the most general attitude to the European Union perspective which is lacking in the current discussions on European policy in Lithuania and in the policy itself. Christian meta-politics provides Lithuania with a possibility to consciously choose a positive rather than negative freedom in Europe. A positive freedom in the European Union would enable Lithuania to maintain its political and cultural identity, and would grant it a weighty role in the region, the European Union and the world. In its own turn, in the social and economic areas a Christian metapolitics would strengthen societal integrity, solidarity, personal and communal responsibility, and would enhance humanity-an action in short supply in Lithuanian policy. *