ABSTRACT

This chapter examines the evolving perspectives of the Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – toward the transatlantic security bargain from their entry to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004, until the political turbulence leading from Donald Trump’s rise to the United States presidency. It argues that the Trump administration has remained reliable in support of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) designed to reinforce the Alliance’s deterrence for the Baltic states and Poland. From an operational military perspective, United States (US) policy on eFP has remained quietly consistent throughout the Trump era. As a positive indication of NATO’s durability, Washington’s coordination of eFP has been reinforced by the mission’s later development as an initiative that is truly multinational. The political earthquake started by Trump’s election as US president in November 2016 has continued to attract many headlines worldwide. However, while receiving understandably less attention by comparison, some significant domestic political change has also affected Baltic societies.