The aim of this text is to describe the methods of future studies, its possibilities and limitations, as well as to make some predictions about the real picture of the development of the 21st century. However, the planning is still not very reliable, and far from a “road map” framework. Thus, future studies are still balancing between science and scientific/artistic fiction. The set of methods of future investigation permits one to compose a few or even up to dozens of medium term or long term scenarios of the world’s future. There are a few well-proven laws of social and economic development as well as some partially predictable phenomena in the area of environment, biology, human ethic, etc. No future planning is secure from unpredictable phenomena – “black swans” – and their impact, nor secure from “political decisions” that destroy natural developments in society. So no one scenario can pretend to be absolutely right. The most frequent future scenarios are based on the wish to implement a copy of an existing “happy nation”, to fight undesirable trends, and create some kind of “dream society” while stimulating positives and inhibiting negative trends. The final version of a scenario depends also upon the “human factors”, e.g. knowledge, stereotypes of thinking, as well as the wishes of those who are financing the project. Generally they are “happy end” projects. This makes scenarios rather useless. Only the independent experts that present more realistic and reliable scenarios can help in the planning of medium term and long term futures. Currently many scenarios foresee the so-called American or European way of development, which is in fact the continuation of the existing world order. There is a growing number of publications about the emergence of China (and Russia) as a great power as well as possibilities of a New Caliphate, New Messiah or new Orwellian style regimes.
In this paper we analyze what determines if a military alliance represents a credible commitment. More precisely, we verify if economic integration of military allies increases the deterrent capability of an alliance, and its effectiveness in the case of third-party aggression. We propose that growing intra-alliance trade creates audience costs and sunk costs for political leaders who venture to violate conditions of an alliance treaty. Therefore, intensive trade can be regarded as a signal of allies’ determination to aid one another in the case of third party aggression, and a deterrent of such aggression. Regression analysis of bilateral fixed-term mutual defense agreements concluded between 1945 and 2003 reveals that large trade volumes among military allies indeed reduce the likelihood that their political leaders will breach alliance commitments. Intra-alliance trade also displays a number of interesting interaction effects with the other common predictors of military alliance reliability such as shared allies’ interests and values, symmetry of their military capabilities, their geographic location and domestic political institutions.
Under the presidencies of Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, the French diplomats were keen to strengthen the partnership between Paris and Moscow as it served French interests on the international stage. In this context, this article demonstrates that Eastern-Central Europe (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and the Caucasus) is of secondary interest for French diplomacy, unless it provides an opportunity to highlight Paris’ role in international affairs. The Georgian war in 2008, the Mistral issue, and the Ukraine crises are several good illustrations of this phenomenon.
Small states are important and visible players in international politics. Their power is limited, and their economy and military capability may not match those of their larger neighbours, but small states enjoy certain advantages that increase their abilities to influence international politics. This article tries to show and explain how small states can act and exploit their advantages in a wider international arena. The main aim is to show ways and methods for small states to act and pursue their policy goals. This article analyses the behaviour of small states inside two major European security actors: NATO and the EU. Several examples will be presented in detail, namely, air policing in the Baltic states and the Lithuanian Presidency in the European Council. These examples clearly show the achievements and failures of small states in international politics.
The majority of scientific research on the international behavior of Russia has so far been largely grounded on political decisions made exceptionally by its political elite. However, in this article, the author is trying to prove that political decisions are first of all based on material resources of the state, and this, in turn, can likely determine the causality between the military power of the state and its foreign policy. Therefore, Russian military power is treated in this article as a means of carrying out expansionist foreign policy. The premise is raised that the growth of Russia‘s military power is related to its aspiration to strengthen its influence in the post-Soviet region. The analysis of Russia‘s security and defense policy, defense expenditure, military capabilities and military activeness reveals that the military power of Russia is growing with a dual aim: (1) to deter NATO and the EU from further enlargement; and (2) to retain and/or expand its influence in the post-Soviet states.
Back in 2008 a majority of experts tended to take Russia’s military reform as a potential failure and an adventurist step by the Russian political leadership. At that time proclamations about its fast failure were quite popular, but today a majority accepts that the prognosis of failure was premature. In actual fact, today it is becoming evident that the reform is not only succeeding but is already starting to affect the entire state’s military system. The actions of the reformed Russian armed forces in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, a strong willingness to continue with changes in their defense forces, and an extension of the reform into other state institutions show that the Russian political leadership is dedicated to finish what has been started and there are no signs of any changes in course. All this raises the following questions: why is Russia ready to sacrifice huge resources and to go to such effort to create an essentially new military and to create an effective mechanism to run the state in wartime, and what situation would be the most suitable for the use of those assets.
The annexation of Crimea accomplished by Russia in 2014 is the event that stands out sharply in the context of post-Cold War international relations: it was the first time after the end of WWII in Europe that a part of the territory of a sovereign state was forcefully annexed. This means that the re-drawing of borders and revisionism are back in international relations as the principles and ways of policy making. It would be plausible to assume that the consequences of an event of such scale would be noticeable not only in its direct neighborhood but as well in more distant, though geopolitically sensitive contexts. The article explores the impact that Russia‘s Crimea campaign has had on the geopolitics of Central Asia and what consequences could be deemed plausible in the future. It is assumed that, due to the annexation of Crimea, international relations started polarizing around the two centers of power: the West and Russia. This trend brings the mentality of strategic confrontation back into international relations. The polarization seemingly becomes a geopolitical factor, which influences the power dynamics in Central Asia in its cultural-informational, military and economic aspects. From the cultural-informational perspective, the polarization is incompatible with the provisions of multivector foreign policies, and pursued by the Central Asian states; therefore, they attempt to neutralize the trend by withholding from taking clear-cut positions with regard to the Ukrainian events. Such a stance, however, does not provide for hedging against military threats, which are perceived as rather real in Central Asia because of the Russian modus operandi in Ukraine, as well as due to the seemingly catalyzing impact of current Russian policies on the local separatist forces and radical Islamic groups. Apprehension about a replication of a Crimean scenario as well as the asymmetric character of military threat may push the Central Asian states to seek security guarantees from outside the region. The consequences of such a development would essentially depend not on the Central Asian states themselves, but on the views the great powers would have on the stability in the region. In case of the domination of a cooperative approach, the formation of the relatively stable system of the regional balance in Central Asia is rather plausible. On the contrary, attempts by any of the great powers to tie stability to their own conditions would deteriorate the situation in the region. The alternative to these two scenarios may well be provided by China, whose policy in Central Asia is becoming more assertive and gaining support from the states of the region. Additionally, the resultant regional power trend would be influenced by the dynamics of the economic relations in the region, the withdrawal of the armed forces of Western allies from Afghanistan, policies of Iran and Turkey in the region, and other factors making up the international context of the Central Asia.
In 2014, at the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine and Russia‘s aggression against this neighboring country, Lithuania became concerned about the strengthening of its military capabilities, augmenting the National Defense System (NDS) budget by almost 50% in two years. This may be considered unprecedented, if seen against the background of the presidential elections and those to the European Parliament, the fiscal discipline, the introduction of euro, as well as Russia‘s economic sanctions, the political decision in the course of 2014 on increasing the defense assignation by 130 million litas and in 2015 the increase by planned additional 356 million litas. This article analyzes two closely related problems of the Lithuanian NDS capabilities. First of all, changes in the NDS financing are explored in the context of permanent agreements of Lithuanian political parties concerning the allocation of 2% of the GDP for defense. This is followed by the discussion of the issues of military personnel staffing and training of the reserve as well as future challenges. This research contributes to the assessment of the critical NDS financing and staffing not only within academic circles but particularly among politicians and society in general. Additionally, it contributes to the awareness of the problems the army encountered in seeking to implement the objective set for it: to ensure the military security of the state. In the presence of the emerging threats in the region, this is of particularly great significance to the demilitarized and pacifist society of Lithuania. The article aims at identifying financing and personnel planning problems throughout a quarter of the century, ranging from the restoration of the Army of the Republic of Lithuania to 2014 inclusively. At the same time, the study encourages a discussion by the academic community on issues of the military security of the Lithuanian State and provides analyses as well as possible development scenarios.
After regaining independence in 1990, Lithuania chose a strategic path to integrate into Western organizations, with clear priorities for the European Union and NATO, the biggest military alliance in the world. In Russia, such direction was regarded as a threat to its influence in the post-Soviet area. Hence the article seeks to provide an overview of Lithuania’s security policy, with specific emphasis on the role of Russia, in the recent quarter century. The aim is to distinguish key priorities for Lithuania and assess their practical implementation. Furthermore, the paper seeks to analyse the impact of the war in Ukraine, both on Lithuanian and regional security as well as the development of key security priorities.
Article 139 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania is one of the constitutional fundamentals of state defense and stipulates the defense of the state as the right of citizens on the one hand and the duty on the other. This article of the Constitution gives the legislative power the right of discretion to detail by law the order of the implementation of citizens’ duty to perform military or alternative country defense service. Due to the reorganization of the armed forces into a professional and volunteer army, the issue of some ordinary regulation rules concerning the constitutionality of nationwide conscription, though at present suspended but not abolished, is becoming urgent. Though the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania presented their ruling on the constitutionality of the suspension of military conscription, it does not mean that all problems related to conscription have been settled. The aim of this article is to analyze the constitutional basis of nationwide conscription as well as the constitutionality of some ordinary regulation provisions related to nationwide conscription. Therefore, the issue to be analyzed is whether nationwide conscription, if it were to be implemented, complies with the constitutional principles of human equality and military justice1. Consequently, the question is posed how the constitutional objective of ensuring the defense of the state determines conscription. Because of the growing employment of the army abroad, yet the dwindling demand for conscripts, it should be explored whether the suspension of the nationwide conscription as a part of the defense reform is further feasible in order to guarantee the defense of the state. In answering the raised questions, the author will analyze the abundant and long-lasting constitutional doctrine of Germany which provides clarifications of the Basic Law, as the legal act of the establishing power, which can doubtless be of assistance in interpreting (nationwide) conscription as established in the Constitution of Lithuania.