August 18, 2014
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Re: Baltic Visit
Dear President Obama:
I was pleased to read that you will visit the Republic of Estonia in early September to affirm America’s commitment to our Baltic allies. Your visit comes at a critical time, when the fate of democratic countries once subject to brutal Soviet occupation, once again seem in question.
Your meeting with the three Baltic presidents to discuss ongoing cooperation on regional security and collective defense presents a perfect opportunity to discuss the proposed sale of Mistral warships by France to Russia. The Mistral class state-of-the-art amphibious warships – capable of simultaneously carrying helicopters, landing and hover craft, tanks or assault vehicles, and combat troops – pose a grave danger to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and other NATO members. It has been noted that such a sale would be the most significant military sale ever between a NATO member country and Russia, and would have significant implications for all NATO members. According to Baltic defense officials, the presence of the warships in the Baltic Sea will seriously impact the balance of military capabilities of the Baltic countries and Poland, with Russian naval forces clearly gaining additional strength in terms of speed, range, maneuverability and fire power. This will necessitate additional assets and coastal defense by NATO allies which may easily exceed the cost of the two Mistral ships.
I urge you to consider the option to halt the sale of the Mistral warships to Russia and allow France to lease or sell the Mistral warships to NATO. A NATO buy is the only logical solution and is precisely the kind of unified political response that Europe needs to make at this time. Not only would this option provide a financial and political exit strategy for France, but would provide our NATO allies a tremendous boost in solidarity, while enhancing NATO assets as well.
We thank you for making the visit to Estonia a priority at this critical time. We look forward to hearing about your discussions and hope that they are positive and substantive.
Baltic American Freedom League