Another ‘Historic Meeting’ – This Time in Vilnius

By Nina Bachkatov

The NATO summit held in Vilnius in 2023 has been hailed as a “historic summit”. It projected the image of 31 resolute Alliance members, meeting under tight security measures in a city emptied of its inhabitants but adorned with blue and yellow colors. The tensions preceding the summit were so high that, unlike traditional international gatherings, the final communiqué remained a mystery until the end of each session. Eventually, common sense prevailed, and it was acknowledged that there is a difference between public debates and private exchanges, during which frank differences can be expressed, notably between the cautious President Biden and the openly disappointed President Zelensky. Furthermore, national leaders became aware of the political risks they faced at home as the cost of aid to Ukraine skyrocketed. Hence, the importance of communication tailored directly to their citizens, emphasizing certain catchphrases that would resonate with their respective countries’ media.

During these tense hours, the typically stern-faced Secretary General Stoltenberg acted as a welcoming and affable host, ensuring that everyone had their place in the family-like exchanges and the final photo. His demeanor played a role in projecting a sense of strength and unity regarding NATO enlargement around the Baltic Sea and the agreement to provide billions of dollars in new military aid and security measures for Ukraine, which were the focal points of the agenda.

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