Why The Western Powers Are Right to Tread Carefully

With East-West relations at stake, Lithuania is not worth a fight

One could not help feeling a twinge of pity as Lithuanian Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskiene and her entourage trudged through Oslo looking for help last week. The Norwegians offered their guests sympathy and goodwill, but oil and gas were another matter. Statoil, Norway's state-owned oil company, said sure, it would sell to Lithuania -- but for U.S. dollars, of which Lithuania has very few.

The Lithuanians have got little more than moral support elsewhere, since the Western powers are not eager to punish Moscow for squeezing Vilnius. With the warming of East-West relations at stake, they reason, the fate of a...