The American Latvian Association (ALA) held a panel discussion to review the 2016 U.S. presidential election and its impact on foreign policy on Russia and the Baltic states. The dialogue included how ALA should approach this election after controversial statements have been made about the future of the NATO alliance and the Baltics. Panelists included ALA President Peter Blumberg, JBANC Managing Director Karl Altau, and ALJA Councilmember Erik Lazdins.
ALA President Blumberg discussed Donald Trump’s statements on NATO, and debated the context of the remarks. He reviewed the impact that the 2016 election cycle has had on the Latvian community. Blumberg reaffirmed that ALA must remain nonpartisan, but maintained that the organization should use every channel to educate Latvian voters on statements and stances of presidential candidates. Altau (JBANC) provided an overview on the Baltic legislative agenda in Congress, and evaluated how the other Baltic-American organizations have approached this divisive election cycle. Lazdins (ALJA) analyzed each presidential candidate’s stance on NATO, Ukraine and Russia. He explained the potential geopolitical impacts of the policy prescriptions from the candidates.