23 August 2003

Lithuania's place in Europe and NATO

Lithuania will join the European Union next May, along with nine other nations. This dramatic expansion of the EU promises to reshape the very character of Europe itself, thereby making it marginally more pro-American. Lithuania is in the forefront of this change, as indicated here: "A Three-Way Affair." Unlike west Europeans, who have lived under an American-sponsored peace for over half a century and who have "no serious European defence system," Lithuanians are better able to understand the need to defend their freedoms, having lived under Soviet occupation for most of that same period. They are therefore natural allies with the US.

In recent years I've come to believe that an American empire is not a good thing. Once again, I do not suggest that the US is out to exploit a quasi-colonial periphery to enrich itself, as many are wont to define imperialism nowadays. But insofar as the US is effectively keeping the peace in a large swath of the globe's surface, it is functioning in much the same way as Rome did in the Mediterranean basin two millennia ago. The difficulty with this is that the imperial nation, however benevolent its intentions, tends to pursue its own interests first, which does not serve the cause of international justice.

It may be that the nations of the so-called "New Europe," such as Poland and Lithuania, will be most willing to abandon the pacifism of the "Old Europe" and thus help to build a European defence capability that will rebalance the Atlantic alliance. Ironically, these pro-American states could effectively help to lessen the American imperial role, which would be a good thing.

My forthcoming column in Christian Courier addresses the problem of the pax Americana. I will republish it here after it appears in print.

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