Politico: Texas governor’s disclosure causes diplomatic headache for Latvia

Conservative Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is expected to announce his candidacy for the U.S. presidency on Aug. 13, apparently does not think much of Barack Obama’s foreign policy toward Eastern Europe—and he said as much to Latvia’s prime minister.

Perry’s disclosure of the conversation, writes Ben Smith of Politico, “is a huge diplomatic headache for a small country and longtime ally.”

In an interview with Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin, the governor said he recently met with Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis.

“Our friends need to know that we’re their friends,” Perry said in the interview with Halperin. “The Latvian prime minister was in my office three weeks ago and we were having this conversation about the current administration and the almost aimless or wavering position that he takes from a foreign policy standpoint relative to eastern Europe and those counties who are abutted by folks who might not be their friends.”

President Obama’s “reset” of diplomacy with Russia, announced in 2009, was questioned almost immediately by Eastern and Central European political leaders. The politicians, including former Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, wrote Obama an open letter in which they noted the “nervousness” in their capitals regarding America’s policy toward Russia. The policy has been criticized by both the left and the right.

Dombrovskis recently spent two weeks on a tour of Brazil and the United States to tout Latvia as a great place for economic investment. He met with Perry on July 19.

From the prime minister’s perspective, the discussion with Perry focused on “bilateral cooperation in the area of military and defence matters” as well as the Texas experience with shale gas mining, according to a July 20 press release from the Cabinet of Ministers.

In the interview with Halperin, Perry went on to say that if were to become president, America’s friends “will know that we will be there day in and day out.” He added that the U.S. needs to be strong economically so that it can afford to be strong militarily.

Perry’s announcement that he’s running for president is expected to come while other Republican hopefuls watch with anticipation the outcome of the Ames Straw Poll, a big political event hosted by the Republican Party of Iowa.

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

8 thoughts on “Politico: Texas governor’s disclosure causes diplomatic headache for Latvia

  1. As Latvians, we must stop this nonesense about supporting only Republicans. They are responsible for the threat to medicare and other awful things, as a whole, yet we just can’t get over things that happened decades ago. How about we support an individual based upon their talents rather than a party – based upon what happened decades ago rathar than what has happened in recent history????

  2. Obama’s made America look much better to the rest of the world – even in countries like Latvia. That’s a fact, and something very few Republican presidents have achieved.

  3. It’s not about supporting only Republicans. It’s about Latvians having learned a thing or two about the past. We’ve learned (hopefully) that the more state intervention occurs, the less good it does economically and in terms of human liberty. The Soviet Union was an extreme example, but most Democrats would agree that they stand for more state intervention, for better or for worse. I know of no example where less state intervention brought about less freedom or worse economic outputs. We Latvians have Estonia envy, and when we look at their case, they were even more radical in bringing about free market reforms than we as a country were. I’ve always loved Milton Friedman’s (who by the way is highly revered in Estonia) quote: “A country that prioritizes freedom over equality will end up with a great measure of both. And a country that prioritizes equality (of outcome) over freedom will end up with neither.

  4. Dear Dorgas – what happened in Georgia happened a few years ago, not decades ago. The big and not very pleasant war games Ladoga and Zapad on the shores of the Baltic took place in 2009, not 1939. How about we support an individual based upon his declared readiness to stand by the Baltic States?

  5. Yes, thank you for the comments about the folly of supporting republicans! The republicans of today are so far from being what the members of the party were years ago. Sad to say, they are now, for the most part, willfully ignorant crazies. It’s shocking that candidates for president of the most technologically advanced civilization in history brag about their disbelief in science. Where are the grown-ups in the party? They are too busy pandering to the extremists.

  6. I see Perry as Big Business, VERY Conservative uncomfortable to me Big Religion, Big Talk type of guy ie from cessesion to praying for rain. He’s got a long way to go before I would trust his logic on anything.

  7. Anything or anyone that stands against the Russian thugs and their expansionist ways gets my vote. Putin is KGB wrapped in a Russian flag. Beware.

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