Lithuania in the NATO Mission in Afghanistan: Between Idealism and Pragmatism
Volume 8, Issue 1 (2010), pp. 187–207
Pub. online: 17 December 2010 Type: Article Open Access
17 December 2010
17 December 2010
The article is first of all aimed at demonstrating how in the case of Lithuania's participation in the NATO mission in Afghanistan the discourse that has spread by idealistic rhetoric figures, as a tool for creating a certain image of Lithuania (as an actor in international relations), is employed by the Lithuanian government to pursue pragmatic goals of the Lithuanian foreign policy, oriented toward a totally different geographic and mental space (in Lithuania, commonly referred to as 'transatlantic space') than the region, the Central Asia, in which the physical action takes place and in which Lithuania has no vested interests whatsoever. At the same time, making use of the concepts 'construction of social reality' and 'social construction of knowledge' formulated by Stefan Guzzini, the relationship between the image broadcast through discourse and the reality are analyzed. The article also seeks to tackle the question of whether, taking into account the worsening worldwide economic situation, specifically in Lithuania, as well as the security situation in Afghanistan, the chosen tactics of pursuing foreign policy goals will pay off in the long term perspective and what could be scenarios for further development. To answer the latter question, the new government-endorsed "Strategy of the participation of the Republic of Lithuania in the activities of the international community in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for the years 2009-2013" is analyzed in the last part of the article.