Better one in NATO than none

  • 2000-11-30
Suddenly Estonian politicians have decided that their country is a Baltic state, not a Scandinavian country as the Estonian foreign minister was stating just a couple of months ago. Such an ironic conclusion might be deduced from the events in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Berlin on Nov. 21.

The political committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly approved a draft resolution, prepared by an American senator, suggesting that Lithuania, Slovenia and Slovakia have made the biggest progress moving towards NATO standards and that these three countries should be invited to join the alliance no later than in 2002.

The delegations of Lithuania and Latvia stated that it would be good to invite all three Baltic countries, but in case this is impossible, the accession of Lithuania would itself be a big achievement. Estonians stated that either all three Baltic states should be mentioned or none of them should be mentioned at all.

Finally, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly decided not to mention any candidate country by name at all and just urged for NATO expansion in 2002. Surprisingly, the Latvian Foreign Ministry took a different stance from its country's delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and expressed a kind of solidarity with the Estonian view.

It contradicts the resolution of the Baltic Assembly of 1995, which states that the "success of one of the three countries is an achievement of all three." Estonian MPs supported this resolution with great enthusiasm in 1995.

Obvious political logic suggests that the accession of Lithuania to NATO would be beneficial for Estonia and Latvia. They would get the NATO zone of security closer to their countries and Lithuania would be a natural advocate for further NATO expansion to the north.

It is worth remembering the real euphoria in official Vilnius when NATO decided to invite Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary. It is more secure to live with NATO at the border. Poland became Lithuania's advocate in NATO. Imagine such nonsense if Lithuania would contradict the accession of the Czech Republic (also the third state to the south).

Tallinn should be happy with Lithuania's NATO success and Vilnius should congratulate Estonia on achievements on the EU front. Common sense says that it is time to forget childish ambitions and learn from the experience of neighbors.