Opinion digest: Baltic presidents' meeting with Trump a 'milestone'

Political commentator Andreas Kaju said on ERR's "Aktuaalne kaamera" newscast on Tuesday evening that the meeting of the Baltic states' presidents with U.S. President Donald Trump is a milestone in a greater diplomatic game, and that it had been one of several meetings currently happening with United States officials.

"You could see on TV that our ministers of foreign affairs and defense were present as well. There are plenty of meetings taking place, and that's part of a long diplomatic game, a milestone," Kaju said.

In his interview with "Aktuaalne kaamera" Kaju also pointed out that each of the Baltic presidents had managed to bring issues into the agenda of the meeting that resonated with their audiences at home, including Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania's centennials.

The security and military aspect of the meetings in Washington are no doubt important, Kaju said, pointing to comments of officials in Lithuania earlier that have been vocal about the stationing of air defense systems as well as U.S. troops on Baltic soil.

In terms of what could be achieved at such a summit meeting of heads of state, Tuesday's joint declaration about matched earlier expectations, Kaju suggested. Trump praised the Baltic states for their commitment to NATO's goal of a 2-percent GDP investment in national defense per member state, and that is about what could be expected from a U.S. president who no doubt has an agenda of his own as well.

Though the presidents' joint press conference hadn't mentioned Russia, the latter will have come up in the meeting, Kaju said. Where real-life interests are concerned, that "great bear in the room" is what the meeting really was about, though Russia doesn't fit Trump's political agenda to the extent that he would have had it included in the later press conference.

ERR correspondent Maria-Ann Rohemäe raised the topic in the press conference, but didn't get much in the way of a response. Instead, Trump insisted that nobody had been "tougher on Russia" than him, and only superficially commented on his "relationship" with Putin.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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