Ambassador: Baltics are like a flagship – if they are doing well, the world can be sure about the future
NATO’s greatest threat is our own inertness and unwillingness to protect our own values, reveals former US ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker, who recently read a lecture ‘Why Baltic security is important to United States?’ as part of an event organized by the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation.
«One of the greatest accomplishments of mankind is the ability to form a link between the government and people – not the kind in which the strong control the weak, but one in which the people choose the government based on their views, make decisions in a fair and democratic way, live in an environment governed by law and protect human rights. These ideals lie in the foundation of USA. Nevertheless, we would have more chances if these values were to be realized in other parts of the world. It helps create communities, security, trade partners and other people with rewarding ideas to help develop everything,» – said ambassador Kurt Volker.
In his lecture he explained that welfare of USA relies on democracy, market economy and security in the world. He emphasized – Baltics are like a flagship – if they are doing well, USA and the rest of the world can feel confident about the future. «Why do we value the security of Baltic States? If a country is threatened, we know it is only a matter of time before we become threatened as well. We are interested in protecting freedom everywhere in the world. Baltic States are an inspiring example of democratic development, and it is important everyone who supported Baltic States in the past continue doing that in the future. The worst people can do is forget and not participate, thereby fracturing the transatlantic and democratic community.»
In regards to NATO, Volker said: «NATO’s largest threat to security, strictly speaking, is us. If we lack the will, confidence and capability to defend our values and protect people to whom those values are important, we become a threat to ourselves, because it opens the way for others to exploit our weakness. With that in mind, we come ever closer to the NATO summit in Warsaw. NATO has decided to enhance the presence of US forces in Baltic States. It will demonstrate that NATO’s intentions are serious and that we can and will protect member states. Although eight years have passed since the expansion to Albania and Croatia, the time has come for Montenegro to join NATO. These are positive decisions, but I have to admit that NATO could behave more actively to resolve crises in Ukraine, Georgia, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The most important mission of the NATO summit is to emphasize collective defence and deter any forms of aggression.»
Kurt Volker is the leading expert for matters of US foreign and national security. He has approximately 30 years of experience working in different federal, academic and private sector posts.
The Baltic-American Freedom Foundation has been working in Baltic States since autumn 2010. Knowledge acquired in USA has been brought to Latvia by 330 participants of the programme. On 20 June 2016, hundreds of participants of the foundation’s programme, the management board and leaders of Baltic public and private sectors gathered to celebrate the five-year jubilee.