In an analysis of the U.S presidential race, public relations expert Mykolas Katkus and acting director of the Eastern European Studies Centre Laurynas Kasčiūnas revealed which Republican candidates they thought would be the best U.S presidents from Lithuania's perspective.
The Republican presidential candidates
© Reuters/Scanpix

“Rubio is the candidate that Lithuania should hope for, without a doubt,” said Katkus. “He most closely reflects the traditional politics that John McCain embodies. He most actively attacked Rand Paul, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz for their indecisiveness on foreign policy. Both Donald Trump and Rand Paul have systematically said that practical ties with Vladimir Putin must be maintained, that he can be reasoned with, that we must share the world together.”

According to the two experts, another president whose election would be favourable for Lithuania would be Jeb Bush, although his ratings are lagging behind those of the other Republican candidates. In June of 2015, Bush said that Putin must be negotiated with from a position of power, and also suggested providing Ukraine with defensive weapons. He has made statements about using an active foreign policy to contain various threats, with Russia being one of them.

Of course, winning the Republican candidacy may be difficult for either of these candidates while Trump is in the lead.

“It would be simple to look at the ratings, where we see Donald Trump in the lead. His rhetoric has attracted the conservative republican electorate, but I wouldn't say that he will really win the primaries,” said Kačiūnas. “In national polls, he doesn't have half of the votes, and a lot depends on the voting in individual states. Besides, the Republican establishment does not want Donald Trump to become their candidate, so it's probably that everyone who falls out of the race after the votes in the initial states will support someone besides Trump.”

Hillary Clinton has a steady lead in the Democratic camp, though, according to Katkus, it's too early to count Bernie Sanders out. He would have a chance of taking the lead in the polls, thinks Katkus, if Clinton were to make a mistake.

The two experts believe that the Republican party would have a real chance of winning the presidency if it is led by Rubio or Cruz. In national polls, Rubio and Cruz are both ahead of Clinton.

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