Riga - Fifteen years after the implosion of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the US is still seen as the Baltic states' most reliable ally.
But with European Union enlargement offering Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania the prospects of growing influence within the Brussels-based bloc, some analysts begin to question how long the US will retain its pivotal role in the Baltic region's world view.
For the three Baltic states, the US was the hero of the Cold War. Thousands of Baltic exiles - including all three countries' current presidents - spent much of their lives in North America.
'Who was our friend during the Cold War?' Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves asked in an exclusive interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
'Our neighbours were extremely concerned about the state of human rights in Guatemala and Chile, but (there was) not a word about what was going on here,' he said.
Moreover, the vocal US refusal to recognise the Soviet occupation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 1940 provided the Baltic region with vital moral support, survivors of exile believe.
'I think there's that understanding on the part of Americans of what these countries have gone through,' said Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga told dpa.
'There's always a staunch position that they have taken loudly in asserting the right of the three Baltic countries to their freedom,' she said.
'This is remembered by Latvians,' she added. Riga is to host this month's NATO leaders' summit.
The Baltics - all of whom joined NATO and the EU in 2004 - have been careful to show their appreciation. The three countries have been strong supporters of the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, despite angry criticism from France and Germany.
Currently, around 500 Baltic troops serve alongside US and international forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2005, Lithuanian forces took over the command of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan's Ghor province.
And while withdrawal from these missions is often discussed, the issue is far less controversial than in most parts of Europe.
'Going into Iraq wasn't a popular decision; it was a cold calculation of where our long-term interests lie,' said Nils Muiznieks, professor of political science at the University of Latvia. 'The policy elite in Latvia thinks that the only major power willing to stand up to Russia is the USA.'
'Our whole world-view revolves around relations with Russia,' he added.
However, some analysts believe that the Baltics' strong transatlantic leanings may be on the wane. Since joining the EU in May 2004, the three countries have gained a voice - albeit a small one - in Brussels.
And since the EU is Russia's most important economic partner, Brussels could emerge as a forceful ally closer to home for the Baltic countries - if the EU can learn to address Moscow with a single voice.
'Not all countries have seen the advantages (of developing a common energy policy) yet, but the smaller ones are beginning to see the light,' Ilves said.
'Before joining the EU, all three Baltic states jealously guarded their sovereignty.' said Andres Kasekamp, head of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute.
'Now, with the experience of being in the club, and of Russia trying to drive a wedge between members, they're leading the call for more common EU policies,' he said.
That being the case, the stars on the Baltic horizon might soon shine in Brussels' blue and yellow rather than in the red-white-blue of the United States.