The Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania renewed a pre-World War II alliance last month in an attempt to break away from the domination from the Soviet Union.
At a summit, the presidents of the three nations coordinated their separatist policies hoping that a united front would shatter the resistance of the Soviet Union to their attempt of establishing separate nations. Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis cited a Lituanian proverb after the summit – One drop of water cannot break a stone, but many drops can. “This joint drop of water is really important,” he said.
The newly formed council called for Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and President George Bush to put their case on the agenda of the upcoming arms negotiations in Washington. The three presidents also asked for their republics to have full membership in the United Nations and to join the Helsinki peace process.
The alliance is a revival of a 1934 Baltic Council created under an agreement of “unity and cooperation” when the republics were independent. The Baltic States were occupied by Soviet troops during the confrontation with Nazi Germany. Soviet leader Josef Stalin later forcefully absorbed the three republics. Unlike the nations of the Warsaw pact, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia have been denied their right to a sovereign government, although no western country has ever recognized their annexation by the Soviet Union.
In the United States, there is a growing dissatisfaction among conservatives with President Bush’s reticence to strongly address the Baltic issue by denouncing Soviet domination. This rising discontentment loomed large during a recent meeting of the Heritage Foundation, a Washington based coalition, in which Heritage vice president Burton Yale Pines and other panel members voiced their displeasure with Bush.
It is a widely held belief that Bush is withholding support for the Baltic States in an attempt to lure Gorbachev toward an arms reduction agreement. The inevitable secession of the Baltic States is a grave threat to Gorbachev’s proposed intention to revive the failing economy of the Soviet Union through his policy of perestroika.
Gorbachev’s reluctance to release the Baltic States is understandable. A secession of the Baltic nations would likely cause a chain reaction within Soviet republics. The Ukraine would be the next nation to declare national sovereignty making it the largest nation in Europe with a population of 50 million people. The Moslem territories of inner Asia along with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia would likely follow with their own demands for freedom.
Gorbachev would be left with the core of the Soviet Union and the Siberian states in the newly revamped office of president which affords him the power of a dictator. Gorbachev would remain powerful, but not powerful enough to compete with the United States and its Western allies.
Hence the incredulity of American conservatives: it is incomprehensible that Bush is not taking this opportunity to openly denounce the Soviet Union’s long oppression of the Baltic people and other ethnic minorities within the Soviet Union. The Baltic States are in the process of seceding and President George Bush stands in a place of perfect safety in verbally attacking Gorbachev’s oppression of these freedom loving people.
Freedom loving people everywhere would reap a great advantage from an American President who would courageously stand with them in their noble cause of throwing off the yoke of their oppressors.