Poland and Lithuania: A Failure to Cooperate

The Baltic States and Poland share unease with their neighbor Russia.  But they appear to dislike each other almost as much as they fear Moscow.

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski proposed a regional summit in advance of the May NATO summit in Chicago.  But Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite isn’t going. Reported Agence France-Presse:  “Lithuania media pointed out Grybauskaite’s refusal came in the wake of a row with Poland over alleged discrimination against the Polish minority in Lithuania.”

Differences between neighbors are commonplace.  However, Poland and Lithuania unfortunately are stuck in a “bad” neighborhood with a large, over-bearing former overlord next door.  They have an obvious incentive to work through their problems and cooperate, given their shared concerns.

Expanding NATO through the Balkans and up to Russia’s southern border, the subject of the alliance’s upcoming summit, is a dubious policy fraught with risks.  But the meeting could advance regional cooperation if it affords an opportunity for Poland and Lithuania to sit down alone and talk with rather than snarl at each other.

Of all the former Soviet republics, the ones which should most succeed are the Baltic States, which are both democratic and prosperous.  So is Poland.  It is an international match that, while perhaps not made in heaven, should be a lot friendlier than it is today.

<a href=”http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-146158p1.html?pl=edit-00&cr=00″>Birute Vijeikiene</a> / <a href=”http://www.shutterstock.com/?pl=edit-00&cr=00″>Shutterstock.com</a>