President of the Republic of Lithuania President of the Republic of Lithuania

Speech by President Gitanas Nausėda at the Lithuanian National Security Conference 2021

2021-10-20

Your Excellency President of the Republic of Poland,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great honor to address you today when we are commemorating the anniversary of the Mutual Pledge of the Two Nations.

It is also a great joy to open this event with my dear friend Andrzej. Because I personally value and appreciate our relations. And because Poland has a particular place in Lithuanian hearts and history.

Lithuania and Poland together experienced many challenges. They have taught us how important it is for us to stand and hold together.

Because together we are strong. Together we can withstand. Together we can win.

It is not without a reason why some geopolitical thinkers describe the Lithuanian-Polish union as one of the biggest headaches for Russia. One of the most important targets to be addressed by pitting our two nations against each other. But they will not succeed. We will stand for, not against each other.

Today we face a plethora of malign hybrid activities, growing military threats and challenges. All this puts yet an additional emphasis on the need to think and work together. 

Today during this conference, you will be diving into many important aspects of security and defense. You will be looking for what more can be done to secure a free and prosperous future for our nations.

However, having read the topics for today’s discussion I felt a kind of déjà-vu as if we had been brought back in time before Lithuania’s accession to NATO. Because at that time defensibility or indefensibility of the Baltic countries was used as one of the most important arguments questioning our accession to the Alliance. Today we see the same question being brought up again, and I believe there are three important elements to be reflected on.

First, we the Western community, Western civilization are not a random collection of pieces that just happened to fall together. We are not just kilometers of land, number of lakes, miles of seas that could be given or traded. We are one body bonded together by values.

You cannot lose 10 kilometers of democracy or 100 kilometers of international rules-based order. You either cherish and protect them, or you lose them all. Thus, there should be no doubts in anybody’s mind that we will defend our values. We will defend every inch of Western civilization with all the measures at our possession.

Second, whenever we talk regional, whenever we seek a regional solution, we should be mindful it will not lead to disintegration, it will not drift us apart. Regional solutions do make sense only in a broader context, only if they do strengthen the family of democracies, do strengthen our Alliance.

In today’s world there is no viable I without a sustainable We. There is no secure region without secure Alliance. There is no secure Alliance without a secure region either. We should be mindful of this interdependence.

Finally, the same logic applies when talking about total defense. Total defense should not be an intra-looking concept pushing us to accept more narrow approaches. Totality should mean that every asset of a country is used to protect, every neighboring Ally comes to aid and every democracy stands together to resist and defend.

Today’s world is full of challenges and growing threats. We are and will be tested. Thinking together, talking together, acting together is the response we need.

Thank you very much for your attention and let me wish you a fruitful discussion.

Last updated 2021.10.20 11:43

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