WHEREAS on May 8, 2003, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the invitations of seven new members to NATO, including Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania–ratifying the offer of membership extended to these post-Soviet-occupied countries at the 2002 NATO Summit in Prague;
WHEREAS the success stories of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, after the fall of the Soviet Union, have been made possible in large measure by NATO’s security umbrella safeguarding the development of democracy and free market economies, attracting domestic and foreign investments–contributing to their status as among the fastest growing economies in Europe;
WHEREAS attempts at strengthening NATO-Russia ties since expansion notwithstanding, Russia under President Putin–buoyed by petrodollar windfalls–has become increasingly autocratic at home and aggressive toward its neighboring states and in its relationship with the U.S.;
WHEREAS Russia recently appointed Dmitri Rogozin as envoy to NATO, a nationalist critic who has stated his belief that the Atlantic alliance no longer has a valid reason for its existence–ostensibly signaling Moscow’s intention to oppose further NATO expansion;
WHEREAS the Baltic American Freedom League played a significant role in the campaign since the mid-1990s to gain NATO membership for the Baltic countries, and has remained in the forefront of efforts to ensure their lasting freedom and independence; Now, therefore be it
RESOLVED by the Board of Directors of the Baltic American Freedom league at its Annual Membership Meeting on February 2, 2008, assembled, To call on Washington and Brussels for vision and will in outreach to the Balkan and Eurasian countries, where a resurgent Russia in the old mold is seeking to disrupt democratic gains by playing the energy card against the West and funding domestic corruption–the modus operandi that has made inroads in the Baltics; and be it
RESOLVED further, That, assuming the energy question won’t be solved soon, new democratic breakthroughs and deepening cooperation with countries on Europe’s periphery could mitigate Russian influence in the region and link these countries to NATO for eventual membership, and convince Russia that rapprochement with the West, not its drive for hegemony, is the right road to peace, security, and mutual prosperity–a scenario possible with a new NATO renaissance.
Adopted by the Baltic American Freedom league on February 2, 2008, Los Angeles, California.