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Laimonas Talat-Kelpša

Abstract

Interest in South Asia among Lithuanian scholars is rather low. For a long time the region has remained off the radar screen of Lithuanian foreign policy makers, who were largely focused on Lithuania’s Euro-Atlantic integration and international consolidation issues. But the situation is changing and South Asia is emerging as an increasingly important political and economic partner for Lithuania. This article attempts to outline the general characteristics of the South Asia region, its geographical and geopolitical limits, and its current key issues, in the backdrop of which Lithuania’s relations with the nations of the region are assessed. Arguably, at present Lithuania has little to offer in addressing the fundamental problems of the region, but its role in individual niches can be quite useful. Lithuanian exports of lasers and laser-related technologies to India, along with the growing number of South Asian students in Lithuanian higher education institutions, are brought in as two small but illustrative examples.

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Vytautas Jokubauskas

Abstract

In the 21st century - as in the first half of the 20th century - Lithuania has faced threats posed to its national security and statehood. Owing to its limited resources, the country is not essentially able to establish large regular forces; therefore, it is permanently developing its territorial defence forces. In the interwar period, their nucleus was formed by the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, while in the 21st century it is by the National Defence Volunteer Forces. While modelling new concepts of territorial defence, it is inevitable to consider not only the practices of other countries and their military theories but also Lithuania’s national experience. Of course, this is the experience of 1990-2004, but in the first part of the 20th century the idea of territorial defence was also put into practice and cultivated at the theoretical level. Another aspect is that territorial defence in practice is inextricably entwined with the tactics of guerrilla warfare and their application. Lithuania’s historical experience and analysis of its territorial defence and partisan war is not only knowledge for its own sake. It may have tangible practical value since Lithuania considered, premeditated and applied these notions in practice repeatedly in the first half of the 20th century. Furthermore, the geographical location of the country and distribution of eventual sources of conflict in comparison with the interwar period have virtually not changed. In the interwar period, East Prussia, part of Germany and separated by the Polish Corridor, had been a semi-exclave up until September 1939. Similarly, it is only by sea and air that this territory is accessible at present, though now a subject of the Russian Federation as the Kaliningrad region. Due to geopolitical transformations, after World War II the ‘enemy from the East’ had moved geographically to Western Lithuania. There exists a similar situation on the south-eastern border of Lithuania, where a none-too-friendly interwar Poland changed to a Belarus governed by Alexander Lukashenko. Lithuania’s northern border with Latvia, also a NATO member at present, remains unchanged and comparatively safe; in the interwar period, only attempts were made to discuss the idea of having mutual defence although Latvia had planned to provide some support for the Lithuanian forces in the case of a Wehrmacht attack from East Prussia to the East. So it is expedient to elaborate on what attention the Lithuanian Armed Forces in the interwar period paid to the history of war, what kind of experience of the 20th century territorial defence and partisan resistance they gained, and how this may be of value to defence experts in the 21st century.

Open access

Tomas Janeliūnas

Abstract

The goal of this article is to discuss and evaluate the importance of Lithuania’s OSCE Chairmanship in 2011, the achieving of political objectives and the results of the Chairmanship for Lithuanian national interests, foreign and security policy. The article raises questions about what motivates national states to seek a chairmanship of the OSCE, how agendas of the Chairmanship are formulated, and what obligations have to be assumed in chairing the OSCE. The article argues that Lithuania’s motivation for the OSCE Chairmanship has evolved from early efforts to enhance national interests (based on political objectives) to the obligation to be efficient in fulfilling the formal functions of the OSCE ( the functional/technocratic goals). The research found that despite the high activity and diplomatic efforts, the final result of Lithuania’s Chairmanship was disappointing to some extent - only part of Lithuania’s proposals with a priority mark were eventually adopted by the OSCE Ministerial Council in Vilnius

Open access

Vilius Ivanauskas, Vytautas Keršanskas and Laurynas Kasčiūnas

Abstract

The Kaliningrad issue has always been part of several contexts of Lithuanian foreign policy and security assurance. That is why it is significant to look at what relationship models Lithuania has tried to implement with Kaliningrad and what opportunities and threats it has created for Lithuania. This article analyses the Kaliningrad factor, which became apparent during Vladimir Putin’s rule, in Russia’s relations with Lithuania, the EU, and NATO, and assesses the aspects of both “hard” and “soft” security. We argue that it is important to consider what Kaliningrad Oblast means to Russia, what role it plays in its foreign policy, how it is changing and what the dynamics of the EU and Lithuania’s relations with Kaliningrad has recently been, and what the possible and desirable scenarios of Lithuania’s cooperation with Kaliningrad could be.

Open access

Jolanta Aleknevičienė

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to discuss and analyze the efforts being made to reduce corruption in Lithuania in the framework of a social constructionism tradition. Under examination are the European Union’s anti-corruption interests, the emergence of corruption in Lithuania, corruption objectivisation elements and anti-corruption practices in Lithuania. It is claimed that Lithuania’s efforts to reduce corruption can be likened to an anti-corruption industry. The article’s findings state that expressions of this anti-corruption industry serve to increase the visibility of corruption in Lithuanian society; international corruption research in Lithuania is afforded undeserved prominence, and the “reality” it purports to describe as well as the resulting anti-corruption initiatives are created ignoring national particularities; assessment of the effectiveness of anti-corruption initiatives requires more time; the negative information concerning efforts to reduce corruption strongly overwhelms the positive information released. All these listed factors determine that any progress in the field of corruption reduction in Lithuania often goes by unnoticed.

Open access

Gintas Gumbrys

Abstract

The article provides the information on Lithuania’s military contribution to the assurance of international security and stability - the participation of the military personnel of the Republic of Lithuania (further - RL) in international operations and training missions of the European Union in 2004- 2017. The study briefly familiarizes the reader with legal principles of participating in international operations and presents essential restrictions affecting the number of military personnel participating in international operations. The author of the article thoroughly analyses the change in the number of troops of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in international operations conducted by NATO, the European Union, the United Nations, and other strategic partners in 2004-2017. The military contribution of Lithuania is provided within the context of joint military operations carried out by NATO, the EU, and the UN, the tendencies of the change in the participation of the Lithuanian military personnel in international operations are presented as well. Keeping in mind the change in the resources (financial and human) allocated and available to the National Defence System of the RL and the political will to participate in international operations, expressed by the Seimas of the RL, the author attempts to find out, on the grounds of historical perspective, their potential connection with and influence on the Lithuanian military contribution to future international operations.

Open access

George Weigel

Abstract

The present strategic disarray of the western democracies is both a by-product of the West’s failure to grasp the moral-cultural dimension of the end-game of the Cold War and a reflection of the crisis of civilizational morale that has beset western Europe in recent decades. Thus it is important to revisit the distinctive character of the Revolution of 1989/1991 in central and eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. That dramatic transition in European politics was born from many factors, including the re-armament of the West under the leadership of U.S. President Ronald Reagan. But the political Revolution of 1989/1991 was also the result of a revolution of conscience in central and eastern Europe, in which the reclamation of national identity and culture eventually gave rise to “soft power” tools of resistance that the hard power typically deployed by communist regimes in the face of dissent could not match. Lithuania, which embodied the oft-ignored truth that a tenacious national culture can, over time, produce democratic political change, is thus in a position to remind the West that freedom is never free; that the dignity of the human person, human rights, and the rule of law must be affirmed culturally by a robust civil society if they are to be defended politically and militarily; and that moral relativism is an insecure foundation on which to build, sustain, or defend the institutions of democratic self-governance.

Open access

Andžej Pukšto, Ieva Karpavičiūtė and Mindaugas Norkevičius

Abstract

The paper aims at identifying relations between the events which influence Lithuanian-Polish strategic cooperation, defining principal aspects of cooperation dynamics, and analysing recent challenges in relations between Lithuania and Poland. For the purpose of analysis the following objectives have been set: 1) to analyse the development of strategic partnership and political dialogue in bilateral relations; 2) to evaluate the importance of security, defence policy, and economic projects in cooperation between the states; 3) to assess the aspect of ethnic minorities in the context of bilateral relations. The authors of the paper seek to review the principal internal and external factors which affect bilateral cooperation between Lithuania and Poland. The following methods of analysis are used in the paper: public statements made by officials, document analysis and discourse formed by the media. The key areas of analysis are the development of political dialogue, strategic cooperation, security and defence policy, economic and energy cooperation, and questions of ethnic minorities in bilateral relations. Presently in the field there is a lack of thorough investigation of similarities and differences of strategic cooperation between Lithuania and Poland.

Open access

Virgilijus Pugačiauskas

Abstract

One of the distinctive features of Russia’s confrontation with the West over the 2014-2016 period is the intensification of Russian propaganda both in foreign countries and within the state. Lithuania, whose relations with a major neighbour were not normalized, and which openly supported Ukraine’s position, attracted the additional attention of Russian mass media in which an incitement to anti- Lithuanian moods was bolstered. In this case, it is endeavoured to generally describe how the mass media (television and newspapers) played a role in contriving a social construct and ascertain the Lithuanian quantitative characteristics which are presented in Russian mass media. Referring to the analysis, one can distinguish three prevailing negative images of Lithuania - that is, Russophobic and anti-Russian; a falsifier of history; and a failing and non-influential state. These images, being consistently and purposefully exploited in Russian information space, almost with no alternative sources, turned into undeniable truth for the majority of Russian citizens. This provides the Kremlin with vast possibilities of manipulation in constructing the tactics and strategy of geopolitical instability. On the other hand, one should not forget that such a negative picture of Lithuania serves as a way in which Russian society justifies Putin’s political system and demonstrates its superiority over the values of the Western world.

Open access

Benas Brunalas

Abstract

This article reflects on the concept of fear in theories of international relations and foreign policy. The text discusses the concepts of the phenomenon of fear and rational behavior emphasizing that the concept of fear, contrary to the concept of anarchy, has no emotional charge in the theory of international relations. Having surveyed the factor of emotions in the theory of international relations and foreign policy, the author suggests that the emotional meaningful charge be returned to the concept of fear. The study stresses that fear (if treated as an emotion) can also have a destructive function disrupting the international system and disturbing the international communication. The third part of the article is devoted to an analysis of the ideas of Lithuania‘s foreign policy. The study explores the idea of Lithuania as a regional leader. The writer claims that the idea was irrational because it was based on the factor of the emotion of fear.