Linkevičius on Trump: responses based on real actions, not words

Linas Linkevičius
URM/ T. Razmus nuotr.

The president was accompanied by two ministers in Washington – the minister of national defence and minister of foreign affairs. Minister of Economy Virginijus Sinkevičius travelled together with a delegation of businessmen. Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius spoke regarding the visit on the news show Savaitė, writes.

The Lithuanian president has admitted that Donald Trump is a spontaneous and unpredictable individual, leading to leadership in a similar vein. When asked whether such a trait is positive in a head of state, L. Linkevičius conceded that D. Trump is indeed a unique personality, quite unlike anything anyone is used to on either side of the Atlantic. The minister agrees that continuity and predictability are useful in policy, but he also believes that there currently is continuity in this area. He also states that unpredictability can be beneficial when interacting with unpredictable leaders such as the Russian president.

In terms of the American president’s expectation for praise, L. Linkevičius points out that, according to him, the US president had a significant influence on the increases in NATO military spending, for which he, justifiably, expects credit. The minister also notes that the discussions were held in free form, touching on many issues and without tension, also noting regarding how the president was not always particularly specific that, “If some questions were not given specific answers, perhaps it wasn’t done, but answers are given very specifically through real actions, which is far more important.”

According to Linkevičius, D. Trump specifically stated that the USA has never betrayed and never will betray the Baltic States’ interests and whatever may be, this is continuity. “Again, he read a declaration in the beginning of the press conference and you may recall he mentioned the Sumner Welles declaration of non-recognition of our occupation, which is very important continuity for us. This is definitely predictability. He also mentioned the 1998 Baltic States – US charter, which was signed during the President Bill Clinton era. Why does no one notice that? It also reveals much.

But you know, what I would urge, what I say to such observant and watchful critics, there is definitely no basis to doubt the practical actions, financial input, operational input and practical understanding of our security needs. Let us look whether we ourselves are doing things as necessary and in adequate quality. I believe it will be our most important activity, which will definitely bring benefits,” the minister said.

D. Trump has stated that he cares about relations with Russia and wants them to be good and if we succeeds, he would declare it loudly. With the Baltic States holding very different views of the Russian government and Trump congratulating V. Putin with his electoral victory, despite it being viewed as lacking in transparency and freedom, L. Linkevičius emphasises that it is necessary to look at the entire statement by Trump, where the latter points out that an improvement may or may not happen, a meeting with Putin may or may not happen, even if he wishes for good relations.

Overall, L. Linkevičius states that it is necessary to not forget that there is a strong balance of power in the US government. Even if the institution of president may be very strong, it is counterbalanced by the Congress, House of Representatives and the Senate. “And it can be felt, it works, after all there is an investigation on links with Russia and R. Mueller, who has an incredible standing among both parties, is working with no obstructions and no one is hampering him. This is all happening in a country, where the president seems to find an inquiry into his links uncomfortable. As such, I would once again urge to not analyse and nit-pick through every sentence, but see the results and decisions, which are being made in reality. It is crucial, as for everything else, it is important of course, but I believe less so,” the foreign minister stated.

In the backdrop of the meeting in Washington, the Lithuanian prime minister stated that there is no one hundred percent guarantee that S. Skripal was poisoned by Russians. Previously S. Skvernelis had come under fire for expressing that there is a need for renewed intergovernmental relations with Russia. L. Linkevičius believes that it was simply a thought that was not fully expressed and he has no doubt that the prime minister has full confidence in the investigation, conclusions and premises of allied investigators in the UK and that Lithuania is a firm ally of the UK, which it has proven in its actions and decisions, now and in the future.

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