Biden to address U.S. foreign policy toward Baltics, Central Europe

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will address the Obama Administration’s foreign policy toward the Baltic states and Central Europe in a speech scheduled Oct. 22 in Bucharest, Romania, according to a spokesman in the U.S. Embassy in Rīga.

The speech comes at a time when political leaders are questioning the U.S. commitment to the region. In July, former Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga joined other leaders in addressing an open letter to President Barack Obama expressing concern, noting that “Central and Eastern Europe is at a political crossroads and today there is a growing sense of nervousness in the region.”

The letter came after the Obama Administration said it was looking to “reset” its relations with Russia.  Last month, the U.S. dropped plans for placing a missile defense shield in Central Europe, a proposal criticized by Russia. The missiles, according to U.S. officials, were meant to protect European allies from possible missile attacks from Iran. However, a modified plan is now in the works.

U.S. National Security Advisor Tony Blinken, in an Oct. 19 conference call briefing with journalists, reiterated that while the Obama Administration wants better relations with Russia, “we continue to reject the notion of a sphere of influence.”

“We continue to stand by the right of sovereign democracies to choose their own alliances,” Blinken said.

Biden this week is visiting the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania to discuss U.S. cooperation with the region on issues of security, energy and climate change. The trip coincides with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The vice president left for the region on Oct. 19, stopping first in Warsaw, Poland. From there he traveled to Bucharest, Romania, where the speech is scheduled at Central University. Biden’s trip will conclude in Prague, Czech Republic.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

7 thoughts on “Biden to address U.S. foreign policy toward Baltics, Central Europe

  1. It would be interesting to hear Mr. Blinken’s and Biden’s explanation of Sen. Shumer’s proposal. “… pay particular attention to the op-ed dispatch in the Wall Street Journal yesterday (June 3, 2009) from Senator Schumer. The Democrat of New York proposes that America deal with the Iranian nuclear crisis by turning Eastern Europe back over to Russia. If that sounds like an exaggeration, we commend a reading of the article in full at …” from New York Sun, June 4, 2009. With friends like Schumer, the Democratic leaders and Obama , who needs enemies?

  2. Sadly, if there is no oil or the need for an oil pipeline through Latvia, then the USA has nothing to gain, and will not support Latvia. Perhaps the Republicans, (as distasteful as they were) were a better choice in regards to Eastern Europe.

  3. Having read the article above, one has to admit it remains shocking, that in this day and age, after Eastern European countries re-gained their long fought for independence, that anyone, other than Russians, who also hails from a democratic, free country, like America, would suggest such an odious, deliberately offensive and evil concept of returning any countries back into the Russian sphere of influence. The senior Senator from New York, Chuck Schumer has proposed the most evil of ideas since Obama grabbed power in the White House and Congress. It is inconceivable that such a proposal would have been given wings by even publishing such an outrage. If Schumer is entertaining these thoughts, then one can be fairly sure that others in Obama’s socialist government have similar thoughts. The appeasement factor being hurled to Russia in this manner, in exchange for Russia’s help with Iran is inexcusable and worthy of Schumer’s quick demise when he next runs for the Senate. All New Yorkers born abroad or elsewhere, who are of Eastern European heritage as well as any others who view Schumer as an ugly liability must be sure to vote next time around and ensure that Schumer is not returned as a Senator, from anywhere in the United States. He must have a number of screws loose or is demonic, topped up with a large measure of dementia. As God is his witness to such an abomination, he has surely won for himself a very hot seat… in hell.

  4. So how would Schumer feel if it was suggested that Israel should come under the Arab sphere of influence? Obviously he wants Russia on side against Iran, to protect Israel, at the expense of Eastern and Central Europe. All Poles, Ukranians, Balts, Checks etc have to vote him out.

  5. What is all this silliness about Schumer giving Easteren Europe to Russia? All based on a June 2008 editorial in the NY Post? Those rockets were a bad idea from the start and Obama junked the program. That was not a betrayal of anyone. And dear Edite: Obama did not “grab power” — he was elected by the people in a fair election, as were the members of Congress, both Democratic and Republican. Take a deep breath. Things will be all right.

  6. Obama was elected by Americans who had the wool pulled over their eyes by Obama’s soaring rhetoric (inspired by the use of teleprompters), the hype of electing the first Black American as President and the pretense that he would govern from a centrist perspective. Instead, Americans were fed a pact of lies and woke up realizing that they had just elected a radical, leftist, socialist, deceitful man who is presently changing beautiful America into a third rate, socialist, banana republic. This is not the change people voted for. In addition, sending a child to do a man’s work abroad is an embarrassment as described by the Japanese who were horrified by Obama’s deep bow indicative in Japanese culture of a weak American leader from a weak American country. This is decidely not the image Japan would like to portray to the world about the U.S. and have not widely broadcast the photo. As for Schumer, he should bundle up his ideas about Eastern Europe belonging in a Russian sphere of influence and take a long walk off a short pier. Poland and the Czech Republic were betrayed by Obama with the intent of appeasing Russia. I guess Putin’s rhetoric about the missiles scared Obama. He has exhibited a lily-dipping type of personality that does not auger well for relations with Europe or the American military. Instead of showing decisive action vis a vis Gen. McChrystal’s recommendations for Afghanistan, he has been dithering to the point of stupidity. It is mindful of the doves in Congress during the VietNam war who did not allow the military to win the war when it was within their capacity to do so. Whether Obama was intent on grabbing power or was power-grabbing is a moot point. The result has been the same. It is shameful that a dithering President is Commander-in-Chief. A cloned Jimmy Carter is a politician’s worst nightmare.

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