US awards Lithuania ‘beacon of democracy’ for its provocation
Published: Dec 15, 2021 11:49 PM
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin welcomes Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas to the Pentagon on December 13, 2021. Photo: AFP

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin welcomes Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas to the Pentagon on December 13, 2021. Photo: AFP

Lithuania, a country now trapped in a maze after provoking China and Russia, won a big "award" from the US: regional "beacon of democracy." On Monday local time, when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin welcomed his Lithuanian counterpart Arvydas Anušauskas to the Pentagon, he said, "Lithuania has become a beacon of democracy in the region. That includes hosting exiled Russian and Belarusian opposition leaders, which sets an important example for other allies to follow."

The US offered Lithuania "a reciprocal defense procurement agreement," and promised to work together "to advance our shared interests and values." Anušauskas responded by kissing up to the US. 

What makes Lithuania a qualified "beacon of democracy?" The answer is not that the country did anything outstanding in democracy, but it dares to provoke major powers to serve Washington's interests. According to US logic, a country that hosts exiled opposition leaders from other countries can be viewed as a "beacon of democracy." "This is a flagrant violation of the UN's principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other sovereign states," Sun Keqin, a research fellow at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.

In other words, Lithuania was "awarded" by the US for violating the UN Charter. The least Vilnius should do is get cocky; it should be vigilant. "Otherwise, the beacon will very soon burn itself," Sun added. 

For the US, Lithuania and "democracy" are tools. All tools have to play their part in line with the US playbook. Otherwise, take a look at what could happen when Lithuania did not earnestly coordinate US sanctions against Belaruskali, Belarus' potash giant. Its foreign minister and transport minister were inches away from stepping down. 

The US is far from caring whether the sanction will hurt Lithuania's interests, even though the small country just jumped up and down for Washington to provoke China with the Taiwan question. 

Except for cajoling those brainless small countries, the US can hardly bring them any substantial help. Washington is making bricks without straw. And everything the US could offer now is an empty title - "beacon of democracy." 

Whichever country or region is praised by the US as a "beacon," it will basically end up being US cannon fodder. Be it Georgia, Ukraine, Tunisia or the Middle East, where US promotes democracy, these places will witness chaos, governments are overturned, development was blocked, and people suffer.  

Lithuania is another cannon fodder which is not worth much in the eyes of the US. Washington is taking advantage of it. Unfortunately, it feels honored to be utilized by the US.  Lithuania is resolutely putting itself in a hostile position against Russia and China. It is sad those Lithuanian politicians failed to see their shortsightedness in doing so. 

Lithuania is next to Belarus and Russia, while border disputes there are extremely sensitive and the geopolitical tinderbox is heating up. "If there were to be an armed showdown between NATO and Russia, one of the most likely locations would be Lithuania," Al Jazeera reported as early as September 2020. Yet NATO does not necessarily want an armed showdown. "If Lithuania continues to provoke Belarus and Russia, it will throw NATO under the bus. If the Baltic country keeps challenging China, Europe will be dragged into a predicament," Sun said. Lithuania is playing with fire by challenging the mainstream interests of NATO and the EU, he added. 

But once Lithuania burns itself, can the title "beacon of democracy" save it?