Former Ambassador Bailey working with delegation from Baltic States to ease concerns

12/06/2016 03:50 PM

WASHINGTON D.C. — With a transition of power taking place in Washington D.C. thousands of miles away in the Baltic region of Eastern Europe politicians are concerned about their standing and the possibilities of an aggressive Russia.

Cathy Bailey, a Louisville native and former Ambassador to Latvia under President George W. Bush, is in Washington D.C. for several days of meetings with a delegation from the Baltic States trying to ease those concerns.

With uncertainty of U.S. foreign relations and aggressive posturing, and actions in the region by the Kremlin, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Bailey are seeking to reassure allies in the Baltic with a visit to the nation’s capital.

“They’re really on the front lines right now for what’s going on over there and with Putin’s aggression,” Bailey said. “It’s even been quoted in the paper by some of their leadership in Latvia particularly, that the Baltic States are kind of like Berlin was in the cold war — they’re a protection line.”

“It’s important that we not disengage that we stay engaged.”

Bailey, who spoke to Pure Politics by phone from D.C., said the Baltic States sought a meeting in Washington seeking clarification of their standing with the United States. The delegates reached out for the dialogue over their security concerns with Putin in the Ukraine, and fears of ties between the U.S. and Russia.

McConnell, who visited Latvia in 2005, while Bailey was the ambassador, built a relationship with Latvian leaders, and it was part of that friendship that led to their visit in the United States post-election.

“They wanted to see if there was any possibility to come and not only see about a meeting with Leader McConnell, but also an opportunity to meet with the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Corker,” Bailey said. “To Leader McConnell’s credit he got it. He was very, very engaged he said this would be a very important visit … They are our friends and our allies.”

Bailey said that over the summer and during the campaign McConnell was clear, that the United States has an obligation under NATO — an attack on one is an attack on all.

All of the Baltic delegations will be in Washington D.C. on Tuesday to begin their first visit with McConnell and then Corker. They will also meet with House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-CA.

For Bailey, one assurance that she can offer Baltic leaders is President-elect Trump’s choice for Secretary of Defense retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis.

Bailey said there is “no question” the United States and our allies will be safer under a Trump presidency.

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