Top U.S. military official reassures Latvia on NATO

America’s top military official has sought to reassure Latvia that the U.S. and the NATO defense alliance stand ready to defend the Baltic republics.

In an Oct. 21 meeting with Latvian officials in Rīga, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it is important for NATO to recognize what the alliance means and the responsibilities and obligations that go with it, according to the American Forces Press Service.

Mullen noted that the Baltic republics remain nervous following Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August. Russia has since pulled its forces out of Georgia proper, but is maintaining a presence in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia—both of which Russia has recognized as independent states.

“One of the reasons I am here is to send a very visible message of reassurance,” Mullen said during a press conference with Latvian President Valdis Zatlers.

“All of us are concerned by the recent invasion into Georgia of Russia,” Mullen said. “In my past experience in NATO, I’ve always tried to understand the views of the Baltic (republics) because of the history and how they view what has happened.”

Mullen also met with Foreign Minister Māris Riekstiņš and Defense Minister Vinets Veldre.

“Our military cooperation with the United States will become closer,” Veldre said in a statement issued after the meeting.

Mullen noted that NATO aircraft patrol Baltic airspace, a duty currently being handled by U.S. Air Force jets based in England.

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

3 thoughts on “Top U.S. military official reassures Latvia on NATO

  1. May God bless Navy Admiral, Mike Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff for his forthright, heartening comments viv a vis the security of the Baltic States. It is indeed comforting to know that NATO member states and their leaders are fully cognizent of the tragic circumstances that befell the Baltic people in the last century in particular.
    Admiral Mullen’s astute grasp of the fears expressed by Balts regarding Russia’s aggressive and devastating behaviour in Georgia must be considered as absolutely crucial to a better understanding of the laments of the Baltic peoples. May God also bless America, a country which is the bastion of hope, freedom, light, generosity and fair play for recognizing and analyzing the aggressive tactics by Russia and its ultimate goal of once again attempting to change geo-political boundaries to their own advantage.The Baltic Sea was always viewed as Russia’s( the Soviet’s) window to the West and she coveted the ports of Liepaja and Riga as a conduit for Russian security issues and international trade. Threatening Poland with nuclear annihilation because it has consented to allowing America to establish a much needed anti-ballistic missile defense system against rogue nations such as Iran, Syria, North Korea etc is only the beginning of the Russian Bear’s re-awakening and its determined goal of returning to exhaustive and non-productive Cold War rhetoric. There-in lies the rub. Countries of the West who cherish freedom and liberty have to once again deal with mindless and destructive aggression against one’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. May God also bless NATO for its insight and far-reaching obligations to the countries that are under its security umbrella. May God also bless the leaders who, through clear- eyed lenses see the long view and are prepared to act accordingly to protect the populations who depend on NATO to follow the 5th Article of its Charter.

  2. The military may be sincere and honest, but the politicians are the fly in the ointment. Remember YALTA. Months before Roosevelt was reasuring to East European governments, especially Poland, about free and democratic election after the war, then he sold them to Stalin in the Crimean mtg. The military was left out to dry and explain away the abandonment and lack of support to those governments. Remember the Partisans in Lithuania and Latvia, who held out till the mid 1950’s. The western politicians have that blood on their hands. Remember the Liberal Left is notorious for being fickle, untrustworthy and opportunistically self-serving, and then expecting to be embraced and thanked for their efforts.

  3. One can easily concur with Mr. Burbulis comments. In particular, his last sentence hits the nail squarely on the head. Since a fickle American populace elected a virtually unknown man whose political past is littered with nefarious colleagues and who has a preponderance for a far left-wing voting record, it does become clear that the world is becoming quite restless not knowing just what this President-elect plans to do. His naivite regarding engagement with rogue nations, without preconditions that are tangible and easily seen by the world body, is a scary proposition. Since Obama has expressed the notion that conflict should be avoided with these same countries, does that mean that Russia will be dealt a free hand to inflict whatever it pleases, as a gesture of appeasement to avoid conflict? Perhaps we could send umbrellas to the White House, if such occurs? In addition, with Obama gratuitously offering the post of Secretary of State to Senator Hillary Clinton, will the world be subjected to listening to more lies about sniper fire in Bosnia? She calls it “misspeaking”! How can her words be trusted? They will always be suspect. And then, how does one deal with Bill Clinton (her guru), an abject failure in foreign policy, who let an opportunity to capture Usama bin Laden slip through America’s fingers, which then led to Sept. 9/11. The world is on edge, financially, economically, politically and one wrong misstep by Obama in foreign affairs could wreak absolute havoc.

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