Waiting for Pearl Harbor: Lithuania on underestimating Russia

November 30,2023 979
Waiting for Pearl Harbor: Lithuania on underestimating Russia

During a foreign policy forum in Berlin, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Gabrielius Landsbergis, stated that the West would not view Russia’s war against Ukraine as an immediate threat until the Kremlin undertakes an action similar to Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. 

According to Landsbergis, many countries lack adequate transparency regarding the true implications of Russia’s war on Ukraine, likely stemming from concerns over potential escalation.

“In most cases, we try to imagine what is happening as a regional problem, a distant one that does not touch us [the West] yet,” the minister said. This big political issue should be at the center of discussions, Landsbergis added.

“As someone interested in history, I fear that we are waiting for Pearl Harbor. We have already gone through all the stages, but we believe that if Pearl Harbor did not happen, then everything is fine. However, everything is not so good,” Landsbergis said.

In December 1941, the combined squadron of the Japanese Naval Forces secretly approached the Hawaiian Islands and, with its carrier-based aircraft, delivered a devastating blow to the US military base in Pearl Harbor. The attack destroyed or damaged 20 ships and nearly 190 American aircraft.

Japanese forces lost 29 aircraft and five small submarines. The attack was the catalyst for the United States’ entry into World War II, and the next day, December 8, the country declared war on Japan. Although President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to avoid intervention in the conflict, he was forced to make this decision according to the circumstances.

Cover: Gabrielius Landsbergis / D. Umbraso/LRT nuotr.

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