GT Voice: Blinken shows Lithuania will get nothing but lip service from the US
Published: Dec 22, 2021 09:14 PM
Gambling on crumbs from the US' table Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Lithuania may still be banking on support from the US in the face of economic woes, but Washington could only pay lip service for Vilnius' requests following the latter's pathetic participation in political game in which the Baltic nation is nothing more than a US pawn.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte on Tuesday discussed US support for his country with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Blinken reaffirmed the "US commitment" to work with "like-minded countries" to push back against the so-called coercive diplomatic and economic behavior by China, read a press release published on Tuesday on the official website of the US Department of State.

Lithuania has been seeking for more support from the Biden administration recently, and US officials have lavished Vilnius with praise in return. Yet, if politicians in Vilnius are still counting on any substantial support from Washington, they will be in for a big disappointment. It is nothing but wishful thinking if Lithuania believes the US could help pay for its own foreign policy mistake of undermining China's national interests over the Taiwan question.

It is no secret that the US always overlooks, if not actively undermine, the interests of its allies. By pretending to care about the security interests of its allies, the US usually expresses its support by selling military weapons to them, a practice that not only profits the American military-industrial complex but also escalate geopolitical tensions on the other side of the globe.

When Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas visited the Pentagon in mid-December, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin praised Lithuania's stance against China and Russia, saying that the country "has become a beacon of democracy in the region." The two ministers also finalized a reciprocal defense procurement agreement, which will certainly not be free. 

What has happened to Australia's trade should be sufficient evidence that the US can cajole others to make anti-China moves while at the same time profiting from the consequences. The University of Technology Sydney recently found that amid Australia's tensions with China, its allies, led by the US, have been the biggest beneficiaries of Canberra's trade woes.

In the case of Lithuania, the Baltic nation's disregard of the one-China principle has the potential to hijack the EU under the name of unity. And the US could use Lithuania to drive a wedge between the EU and China, undercutting EU companies' competitiveness and expansion plans in the Chinese market, to the benefit of American businesses in the same market.

Now Lithuania is entirely following the US lead and acting as a cat's paw in provoking not only China but also Russia. But its political gimmicks will only lead to consequences it cannot afford. And the US has not and will not extend a helping hand when it comes to Lithuania's trade or energy losses as a result of its diplomatic mistakes. If anything, politicians in Vilnius should have better negotiation skills with the US. So far, they have only gotten a $600 million export credit agreement, which is essentially a loan, from Washington for helping the US' ill attempt to undermine China.