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.
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