- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 21, 2002

Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski reportedly said in a recent interview that the Baltic region has been exporting stability and that no tensions exist there (“American pillar is absolutely essential,” Monday). Although he is known to be a fervent supporter of the admission of Baltic States into NATO, his remarks could be interpreted as an argument against expanding NATO to countries that already enjoy peace and stability.

Yet the Baltic States also enjoyed stability and peace between the two world wars, then fell victim to Soviet aggression at the outbreak of World War II. Russia currently maintains cordial relations with the West, but this policy does not apply to the Baltic States. Russia has not signed border treaties with Estonia and Latvia; it still subjects Estonian exports to double-duties; and it often accuses Baltic States of nonexistent discrimination against their Russian populations. When the Estonian parliament last month passed a resolution condemning both the Soviet and Nazi occupations of that country, a spokesman from the Russian foreign ministry accused Estonia of trying to rewrite history, implying that Estonia had voluntarily joined the Soviet Union in 1940.

Various factors played a role in the Soviet Union's disintegration in 1991. One of the main contributing factors was the Baltic peoples' independence movement, which in turn affected other nations subjugated by the Soviet empire. For this reason alone, the Baltic States deserve to be admitted to NATO at its upcoming summit in Prague.



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