THE BALTIC STATES EYED FOR NATO EXPANSION:
A NEWSMAX.COM ANALYSIS
By Colonel Stanislav Lunev
In 1940, the Soviet Union annexed the Baltics, and they did not regain independence until the fall of 1991, when the first and the last Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, recognized their sovereignty.
Currently, their common bid to become members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organiza- tion is proving successful, and they are poised to receive an invitation at NATO's November 21-22 Parque summit meeting--a development occurring less than two years after their candidacies were considered long shots.
After a half-century of Soviet domination, recognized by Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians as nothing other than occupation by a foreign power, these nations are seeking no special advantages from their potential membership in the NATO alliance.
However, knowing their "great eastern neighbor" very well, they want NATO member- ship to protect them from an unpredictable and aggressive Moscow regime, whose leaders are currently seeking the restoration of the "glorious old days" of the former USSR and its dominance in the world.
The Bush administration has prodded reluctant NATO allies in Europe to agree to the largest round of expansion in the history of the 53-year-old alliance, and the first since Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic were invited to join in 1997.
What the Baltic states have achieved in their political, economic, and social development in just over a decade of independence has played no small role in the West's positive attitude toward these countries.
Even though they have a combined population of only 7 million people, the three nations stand as examples of self-determination, democracy and openness, human rights, domestic tolerance and reconciliation, and free market economy.
Of the three countries, which were jewels in the Soviet crown even during the Cold War, Estonia is usually touted as the best off economically, followed by Latvia and Lithuania. Estonia's economy is developing successfully, its currency is stable, monetary and fiscal restraint kept the government in check, and it's easier for a small country to refocus.
Latvia's location between the other two states has helped it to land more investors looking for a regional hub. Coupled with a highly educated work force, as in Estonia and Lithuania, it should continue to benefit as its transport infrastructure improves and it becomes an easier place to do business.
Previously, Latvia has been criticized for its handling of its large Russian population (344,000 out of 2.3 million) but has been given the stamp of approval from international organizations for its citizenship laws that require knowledge of the Latvian language.
Lithuania has slowly recovered from the 1998 global financial crisis and has recently announced some impressive economic indicators such as economic growth of 4.7 percent this year. Average monthly wages were about $270 last year, compared with $250 in Latvia and $330 in Estonia.
All three states have sent peacekeepers to Bosnia and Kosovo, and have offered to deploy their troops to Central Asia as part of the anti-terrorist coalition. They have also established a joint battalion, radar network and an officer-training college, among other cooperative initiatives.
Left with little military equipment or facilities after Soviet troops left, the Baltic states started modeling their new military forces and structures to NATO standards.
Although NATO invitations for the Baltics at the Prague summit are now all but certain, just over a year ago no one was betting they would get in. In May, the U.S. Congress demonstrated its support for NATO enlargement when it passed the Freedom Consoli- dation Act providing $55 million in military aid to seven aspirant countries, including the three Baltic states, plus Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria.
Albania and Macedonia are also among the formal candidates, but few give either much chance of receiving an invitation in Prague. The enlargement question has helped fuel a larger debate on the future of NATO, which no longer has its Cold War mission and has not been a major factor in the global war on terror.
However, there is no doubt that, by inviting the Baltic states and other former Eastern Bloc nations that qualify for membership, the NATO alliance will dramatically increase its capabilities and the level of protection provided to its member nations.
Europe, Europeans, & American Foreign Policy
Colonel Stanislav Lunev is the highest-ranking Russian or Soviet military intelligence officer ever to defect to the U.S.A. For the greater part of his adult life, Colonel Lunev worked for the Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie (GRU), or Main Intelligence Administration--Russia's highly efficient and professional military intelligence agency. From 1988 to 1992, Lunev was a GRU intelligence officer operating out of the GRU's field office in Washington, D.C. In 1992, after Boris Yeltsin came to power in Russia, Lunev defected to the United States government. Since his defection, Lunev has pro- vided important information to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelli- gence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, snd other U.S. defense and national security agencies--information considered so crucial that he was placed in the FBI Witness Protection Program, where he remains to this day.
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
LINKS TO PARTICULAR ISSUES & SUBJECT MATTER CATEGORIES
TREATED IN THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, U.S.A.:
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
American Government 5 * American Politics * Anglosphere * Arabs
Arms Control & WMD * Aztlan Separatists * Big Government
Black Africa * Bureaucracy * Canada * China * Civil Liberties * Communism
Congress, U.S. * Conservative Groups * Conservative vs. Liberal
Constitutional Law * Counterterrorism * Criminal Justice * Disloyalty * Economy
Education * Elections, U.S. * Eminent Domain * Energy & Environment
English-Speaking World * Ethnicity & Race * Europe * Europe: Jews
Family Values * Far East * Fiscal Policy, U.S. * Foreign Aid, U.S. * Foreign Policy, U.S.
France * Hispanic Separatism * Hispanic Treason * Human Health * Immigration
Infrastructure, U.S. * Intelligence, U.S. * Iran * Iraq * Islamic North Africa
Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
Jihad & Jihadism * Jihad Manifesto I * Jihad Manifesto II * Judges, U.S. Federal
Judicial Appointments * Judiciary, American * Latin America * Latino Separatism
Latino Treason * Lebanon * Leftists/Liberals * Legal Issues
Local Government, U.S. * Marriage & Family * Media Political Bias
Middle East: Arabs * Middle East: Iran * Middle East: Iraq * Middle East: Israel
Middle East: Lebanon * Middle East: Syria * Middle East: Tunisia
Middle East: Turkey * Militant Islam * Military Defense * Military Justice
Military Weaponry * Modern Welfare State * Morality & Decency
National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
North Africa * Patriot Act, USA * Patriotism * Political Culture * Political Ideologies
Political Parties * Political Philosophy * Politics, American * Presidency, U.S.
Private Property * Property Rights * Public Assistance * Radical Islam
Religion & America * Rogue States & WMD * Russia * Science & Ethics
Sedition & Treason * Senate, U.S. * Social Welfare Policy * South Africa
State Government, U.S. * Subsaharan Africa * Subversion * Syria * Terrorism 1
Terrorism 2 * Treason & Sedition * Tunisia * Turkey * Ukraine
UnAmerican Activity * UN & Its Agencies * USA Patriot Act * U.S. Foreign Aid
U.S. Infrastructure * U.S. Intelligence * U.S. Senate * War & Peace
Welfare Policy * WMD & Arms Control
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
POLITICAL EDUCATION, CONSERVATIVE ANALYSIS
POLITICS, SOCIETY, & THE SOVEREIGN STATE
Website of Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor