Lithuania does not possess the ability to mediate nor compromise

Kęstutis Girnius
DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

According to, political scientist Dovilė Jakniūnaitė there are three main perceptions dominating Lithuanian foreign policy: small stated, a stated that exists closer to Russia and a Western state trying to choose between the EU (Europe) and the United States of America.

The US and the EU that are the main allies that coordinate their foreign policies together. Thus, suddenly relatively smaller issues are matter of concern. However, Lithuania has a historic tendency to favour Washington, particularly on matters of defence and security politics. Hence, why Lithuania is sceptical about plans regarding the creation of a separate EU military units, raising concerns about the possible duplication of NATO actions which would lessen its effectiveness. Although, so far the only radical position among the Allies has been because of the war in Iraq. Then both Lithuania and the so-called Vilnius ten unequivocally supported the US position, thus rejecting the EU criticism for Washington’s position on the invasion of Iraq.


After Donald Trump became the president of the United States of America there will be even more controversies, disputes, rhetorical firings and etc. which can become a weekly if not daily occurrence. During the short term of his administration Trump has already managed to critique trade regulating international agreements, Germany’s trade policy, the small contributions to collective defence made by the European countries, their inability to adequately respond to the threat of Muslim extremists. Moreover, during the meeting with NATO members Trump has demonstratively refused to renew the commitment of the US to its NATO commitments, in particular article five which stated that “aggression against one ally is an attack on all of us.” Thus, causing an unprecedented amount of outrage with his message that the US is withdrawing itself from the Paris agreement regarding the fight against climate change.

The EUs leaders responded quickly and unequivocally to Trumps statements. Germany, France and Italy have already issued a joint statement criticising Trumps decision and rejecting his proposal to renegotiate the agreement. German Chancellor Angela Merkel further pointed out the time when Europe was able to rely on outside actors and Europeans must now take their fate only in their hands. According to, the French President Emmanuel Macron Donal Trump has made an historic mistake. Moreover, Jean-Claude Juncker the President of the European Commission – expressed a similar opinion, further noting that Trump made himself look like a babbler.


The internal political considerations heavily influence the reactions of the politicians. The sharp decline in Trumps popularity has resulted in him trying to show to his most loyal electorate base that he is fulfilling his electoral promises. Thus, he not only withdrew from the Paris agreement but also criticized other NATO allies, especially Germany. Moreover, the French Parliamentary elections are taking place on Sunday. In order to ensure his party’s success, Macron is trying to show that he is able to defend the interests of the French nation, and is unafraid to tell the truth to officials of the most powerful country’s in the global arena to date. Thus, he has already “taught” not only Trump. But also has stated to Vladimir Putin the President of the Russian Federation that “Sputnik” and “Russia Today” are spreading false propaganda and are Kremlin against trying to gain influence in the country. Moreover, the German Parliamentary election is planned to be held in autumn.

Furthermore, while highlighting the fact that Europe can no longer rely on others, A. Merkel is distancing Germany from the highly unpopular D. J. Trump. The Chancellor further notes highlights the states plans to increase its defence spending. Since the politician is seeking to undermine her main social democrat competitors and their expressed arguments against her, stating that she panders too much to Trump and is increasing the state’s defence spending only in response to him.


Trump is unpredictable and incurable, he will not remain a clam demeanour this was shown by the recent comments made over Twitter following the most recent London terror attacks. Until the end of his term Trump will surely test the patience the allies not only with words, but also with his actions. Although, he is the president of the US and has a large influence on the politics in Washington, it would be a mistake to equate him with the state itself. Thus, by condemning one also condemning the other. Moreover, the Americans and their politicians think very highly of their country, think of it as being exclusive and ultra-sensitive to criticism made about it and does not forget criticism made about the state.

Twitter and other new internet communication tools not only encourages communication and openness also encourage negligence. Thus, not only Trump appears to speak nonsense. Recently, the chief negotiator of the European Parliament regarding Brexit G. Verhofstadt stated that if the by 2019 there will be no proper agreement with the United Kingdom its citizens “will no longer have the same rights regarding travel and study in the EU as they do now, and will instead have the say rights as tourists from Moscow and/or students from Mumbai.” Statements such as this are no smarter than the ones made by Trump himself.


Furthermore, besides the fact of increasing EU frustrations in regards to the US and Trump, Washington will remain a close ally and an important factor in ensuring European security. Although, the former Secretary of State of the United States of America Madeleine Albright has stated that the US is not an “indispensable” country, noting that currently there are no competitors for it. After the US exit from the Paris Climate agreement some commentators considered the possibility that China may be able to take the leading role left by the US in the international arena. While an aim such as this is not new to the leaders in Beijing, China is far less democratic and constantly impeded the freedom of speech of its citizens, as well as other freedoms even more so than even Russia. Moreover, the state is carrying out an aggressive policy towards the South China Sea. Thus, China will not become a shining beacon.

Trump will irritate and anger the Europeans, of this I have no doubt. Moreover, I have little doubts that the German social democrats, Verhofstad, as well as Macron will strongly criticize him, not being overly careful in regards to their choosing of words. Although, this is their right. It is important that the EU as an organization will act in a more discreet manner, and will not burn bridges without reason nor will they succumb to raging passions. Furthermore, I’m quite sure that during meetings someone in a more subtle manner without going over board and with open eyes to the current mistakes made will remind of how much the US has contributed to the prosperity of Europe.


Lithuania will not find it easy to take on such a role. Since Lithuania has never hidden its favouritism towards the US. Illustrated by the states active involvement in the activities of the Vilnius ten, by supporting the invasion of Iraq and voicing criticism for states that opposed this position. Although during the first years of her presidency, D. Grybauskaitė tried to distance the state from Washington, she eventually succumbed to the pull of Washington which leaves the impression that there is a constant want to please Washington, for example, seriously considering the possibility of contributing more than 2 pct. from GDP on defence, as well as providing weapons to Ukraine and supporting the aspirations of Kiev and Tbilisi in regards to joining NATO. Thus, any warm words from Vilnius to the US will be viewed sceptically. Moreover, Lithuania does not have neither the ability to mediate and bring coalitions together, nor does it have the ability to compromise.

In the past, the state sought to dress itself in a robe of righteousness, and portrait itself as the only advocate for moral politics. Lithuania would be much more efficient in regards to effectively playing the role of intermediary tranquilizer, thus the state would be able to mobilize other Baltic and Central European states doing which show that there is no need to choose between the US and EU.

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