Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 198

Summing up his just-completed visit to the United States, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus reported that he had not received any guarantees from the Clinton administration that Lithuania would be invited to begin accession talks with NATO at the alliance’s Washington summit, which is scheduled for April of 1999. Adamkus expressed appreciation for President Bill Clinton’s “finding the time” to meet with him. Clinton found twenty minutes to meet with the Lithuanian-American Adamkus, the first U.S. citizen to become president of a native country liberated from communism.

Adamkus’ visit seemed considerably more productive on the track managed by the Pentagon than on the track managed by the White House and the State Department. Secretary of Defense William Cohen, General Henry Shelton and other defense officials outlined a range of programs designed to adapt Lithuania’s forces to NATO standards. The visit also evidenced the bipartisan support in Congress for Lithuania’s NATO aspirations.

Returning from the United States, Adamkus joined his Estonian and Latvian counterparts, Lennart Meri and Guntis Ulmanis, and many European presidents and prime ministers in the German city of Osnabrueck to mark the 350th anniversary of the Westphalian Peace, which ended the Thirty Years’ War. Discussing the lessons of those events and their relevance in the post-cold war period, Germany’s former foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher warned that “the success of the West will be short-lived if NATO’s eastward enlargement fails” (BNS, October 23 through 26).