All the main political parties in Lithuania agree on the twin pillars of Lithuanian foreign and security policy, namely entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU). This consensus was reached after a number of alternative policies were discarded for not fulfilling all the requirements of national security. In an unstable, competitive and even anarchic international system all states seek to protect their vital interests, to maintain their territorial integrity, and to secure the capacity to solve potentially destabilising problems, such as environmental pollution, crime, immigration, economic decline, and poverty. Security, therefore, is not exclusively associated with external defence capability (although that remains an indispensable element), but should be understood in a multidimensional way. In this chapter discussion will focus on the unremitting efforts of Lithuania since independence to enhance both its external and internal security, in particular its identification of NATO and EU membership as the surest means of achieving these objectives. 1
The choice of NATO and the EU as guarantors of Baltic security arose out of the specific international context in which the newly-independent Lithuania found itself. Although she had chosen political independence, her economy, as we saw in Chapter Four, was heavily dependent on Russian markets, raw materials and energy. The diversification of her economic links was a precondition for the strengthening of her political independence. This occurred quite rapidly in the 1990s. Throughout this period, however, Lithuanian politicians remained sensitive to any evidence of Russia's attempting to strengthen its influence in the Lithuanian economy by investments and market power, particularly in the basic infrastructure of transport, telecommunications and energy. The agreement with the Williams oil company of the USA for a substantial investment in the Mažeikiai oil refinery showed the determination of the Lithuanian conservative government to avoid too great a dependence on Russia.
Yet, membership of international organizations, to which Lithuania aspires, also increases dependence and diminishes formal autonomy, while enhancing interdependence and partnership. Dependence per se
LITHUANIA: STEPPING WESTWARD