The dissolution of the Soviet Union efectively ended the Cold War and...
2021-08-25 2 ENGLISH REPORTS
Today, U.S. policy is focused on retrenchment and consolidation—defned by a shift in attention and resources away from the Euro-Atlantic region and the Greater Middle East towards the Indo-Pacifc region—as well as the growing priority of climate change and the environment as central organizing principles. U.S. foreign policy is also increasingly subordinated to domestic political considerations about the costs and benefts of overseas action for constituencies within the United States. In the 2020s, Lithuania’s importance will rest less on the Russia dimension and further Euro-Atlantic enlargement into the post-Soviet space, and more on its ability to play a greater role in European afairs, to assist in the rebalance to Asian afairs more generally, and to contribute to energy, supply chain, and environmental security.This changing paradigm has major implications for Lithuania’s partnership with the United States and the importance of Vilnius for overall U.S. grand strategy.
While often grouped with its two Baltic neighbors, Lithuania also has specifc importance given its geographic position linking the Baltic littoral with Central Europe. The country’s lack of a large Russianspeaking minority also reduced one key area of friction that Estonia and Latvia have had in their relationship with Moscow, giving Vilnius greater freedom of maneuver. During the period when U.S. policy was predicated on democratic enlargement from a Euro-Atlantic core, Lithuania was a critical U.S. partner. The risk moving forward is that under changed conditions, Lithuania’s relative importance to Washington will decline. It also means that the core interests which served as the foundation for close U.S.-Lithuania ties may become less important in the future. Finally, as domestic pressure increases for any U.S. presidential administration to retrench and rebalance its overseas relationships, Lithuania, in turn, will need to reconceptualize its approach and recalibrate both what it asks of the United States and what it can ofer in order to create a new partnership relevant to the changed conditions of the 2020s and beyond.
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