Critique the Defense Strategy of Latvia
Latvia is a country that has faced its fair share of battles during and after World War II. After World War II, the nation faced several threats that undermined the stability and strength of its voice internationally. The post-war era largely shaped the way the state’s military functions up to date (KrEsli's, Pavlovics & KrEsli, 2011). The military is centered on protecting the interests of Latvia and preventing it from being overtaken by other major sources of power in the world. The military force of the state of Latvia is represented by the National Armed Forces. The defense strategy of the country is to respond quickly to any threats or attacks that the nation might face (De Bakker & Beeres, 2012). To date, Latvia has the highest form of security it has ever had in its history. Using Terry L. Deibel’s framework, this paper will critique the defense strategy of Latvia.
Assumptions about Latvia and the World
The national security of Latvia is paramount to the government. Through the interconnection of internal as well as external policies, the country aspires for a more independent and democratic nation. However, the country faces several hybrid threats that have a significant impact on the environmental security of the nation. The enemies of the country not only need direct military means to destabilize the society but they can employ other elements as well (Braw, 2015). These methods that stand as threats to Latvia’s peace are cyber-attacks, propaganda campaigns, disinformation, intelligence operations, and coercion applications, ranging from economic pressures using energy supplies as instruments to the use of disguised military personnel and terrorist as well as armed groups as proxies. The threats that affect the security of Latvia have connections with terrorism, cyber-crime, international terrorism, Latvian border security, separation of countries, and international security among others.
Constraints and Opportunities in the International System
Latvia’s security defense gets its strength from its membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) (De Bakker & Beeres, 2012). However, this involvement does not ensure the exemption of Latvia from all issues of national security. It further does not guarantee defense against significant threats that may arise. It only means that the members of these unions can help and that they also share enemies, thus being vulnerable to international threats.
Recently, the global security environment has witnessed conflicts, unpredictability, and instability. For instance, the aggression in Ukraine that the Russian Federation fuelled has brought challenges to Europe’s security and the global international order (Wolff, 2015). The actions implemented by Russia have worsened the security within the EU and threatened the security around it. Latvia is against the actions of Russia because they contradict the basic principles defined by the International rights established after WWII. This makes Latvia an enemy of the Russian Federation, thereby putting it at a risk of an attack from Russia, considering that Russia’s actions in Ukraine show its military capacity and how effective it can be in its attack against Latvia if the need arises (Hernandez, Sanders & Tuschke, 2015).
Russia tends to use complex measures in its attacks, putting Latvia at a disadvantage in having hybrid attacks. Russia prefers using measures that will gradually weaken the internal policy to create trouble for the government and reduce their trust in the people (Tsaurkubule & Vishnevska, 2012). These actions include informative propaganda, suspension of energy sources, economic sanctions, humanitarian influence, cyber-crimes, and psychological impact. It can also go as far as releasing external military and diplomatic pressure, surveillance, and enforcing and legitimizing other alternative political processes.
Furthermore, Russia has managed to confuse the minds of people regarding the real intentions of NATO in an attempt to blind them from the socio-economic problems and internal instability (McCabe, 2016). These actions befuddle the population of Latvia, making them lack confidence in their membership in NATO as well as their military personnel.
The instability in the Middle East also possesses a great challenge to Europe. In recent years, international terrorism has significantly increased due to the destabilization of several countries in the region (Stewart, 2016). The strategy initiated by several countries to help fight terrorism attacks in the Middle East possess a threat to the European countries. Another possible threat to national security lies in the ever-growing competition in the international economic status. The ever-increasing need for countries to be above others and attain economic prowess puts the EU under other security threats in the future. At some point in the future, these economic competitions will put these countries against one another, thereby causing conflicts.
Despite all these potential conflicts, the country has ensured internal security through a stable economic environment that guarantees enough supplies for the people. It also has dominant mass media as well as competent security authorities and law enforcement agencies. All these provide the safety of the nation and the trust of the people in their government.
The National Interests and Threats of Latvia
The state security of the land even strives to foster the values of the nation, which are a democratic system, territorial integrity, independence of the state, and internal security (Vilson, 2015). The government tries to understand how the international environment operates and how it affects the nation. Out of these, they ensure their capacity is strong enough to provide relevant responses to these issues. The government guarantees it has advanced technology and sufficient resources to combat future problems and ensure prosperity.
To protect the national interests, it plans to increase and strengthen security and defense at the borders (Hernandez, Sanders & Tuschke, 2015). This move aims at protecting the nation from possible outside threats. The human resource required at the border will be provided, having relevant training to adequately fulfill the responsibilities. The capacity of law enforcement officers as well as the equipment they use will be improved to ensure quick responses to issues of threat in the nation. The country further plans to enhance its methods of communication within its units to establish an efficient way of dealing with the crisis. Law enforcement together with the military must have a coordinated operation to prevent possible threats.
There are several threats to the nation of Latvia. One of them is terrorism. There are many factors, which cause terrorism, of which the presence of refugees and asylum seekers possesses a terrorist threat since some might be terrorists in disguise. Secondly, foreign intelligence that goes against NATO and the EU poses a threat to this nation. For example, a country like Russia looks for a country that supports these two organizations to prevent their integration. The lack of unity in the civil society of Latvia poses a threat to the prosperity of the nation since the people might not be confident and Russia might take advantage of this issue to disempower Latvia (Stewart, 2016). The country also faces economic threats due to the partial access to necessary raw materials and resources. This occurrence puts Latvia in a disadvantaged position not only locally but also in the international market. Another major issue that further presents a major threat to the nation of Latvia is cyber threats. With the advancement in technology, people are becoming skillful at manipulating documents and accessing the private information of the countries they compete with for their benefit. Due to the involvement of other organizations, it is paramount for the country to have privacy and secrecy of its information. However, countries like Russia are in constant pursuit of such information to find weaknesses of these organizations and find leverage against them. Thus, cyber-crimes put the nation at a security risk.
The Foreign Policy Objectives
Despite the threats in the country, Latvia’s government has foreign policy objectives that they wish to accomplish to make the land a better place for its people. Regarding the view of national interests, the government desires to promote the welfare of the individuals in the nation of Latvia. The state also plans to heighten the economic potential of the country by enhancing investments not only from indigenous business people but also from foreigners (Vilson, 2015). They plan to improve the competitiveness of businesses in Latvia and protect the interests of the industries abroad. This initiative aims at eliminating the local constraints and increasing the opportunities in the domestic as well as international contexts. The country seeks to strengthen its national identity through efforts intended to popularize its image with other nations as well as mobilize power. They also strive to provide support for the Latvian diaspora by further ensuring they receive all the help they need. It further plans to strengthen the democracy of its people and devise strategies that will assist in eliminating global poverty and the spread of diseases.
Available Power and Resources
Over the past few years since 2012, the GDP growth of the country has tremendously increased to the point that Latvia can have the economic capacity to visualize its foreign policies as well as national interests. In terms of geography, Latvia stands at a disadvantage because one of its enemies, Russia, borders it in the East. Despite the population and the geographic location, Latvia has the support of other unions such as NATO and the EU among others that can help it actualize its internal security and evade international threats (McCabe, 2016). With the help of its military force together with those of the unions it belongs to, Latvia can flourish in peace and develop economically. Latvia also has a strong military force that is very efficient in its work and hence can quickly identify a threat and develop strategies to deal with it.
Plans and Priorities
For the actualization of its interests and foreign policies and the elimination of threats to its security, Latvia plans to fulfill several strategies. Since the objectives are crucial to the establishment of a better nation, several strategies must take place. No government can stand without the support of the people. Thus, the government has to ensure that the people support the policies of the power that controls the country. Since Latvia is a democratic country and Russia opposes all its policies and goes to the extent of trying to corrupt the people’s views, plans for social unity should be underway. Latvia tries to establish relevant authorities that will educate the public, the media representatives, and other relevant organizations about the importance of governmental policies (McCabe, 2016). These efforts will help people appreciate the course of action in the state. The nation also tries to implement the activity that will promote the involvement of the public in socio-political issues, thus helping in improving the security of the state. Also, the government encourages the strategy of breaking the barrier between high-ranking officers and the citizens. When the two parties establish a good rapport, it will become easy to promote the nation’s interests.
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The government further plans to procure proactive, well-trained, and qualified security authorities. One of the reasons the country has limited efforts in fighting cyber-crimes is because of the lack of trained professionals to detect the offense (King, 2012). The government further plans to strengthen the counterintelligence unit. This move will be completed by effectively studying the enemy and their point of weakness to know ways in which to counterattack prospective attacks.
Due to its geographical disadvantage, Latvia plans to strengthen ties with the institutions of allied countries. Russia’s moves show a military prowess, and bordering on Latvia is a call for action. By having a strong connection to NATO and the EU, the country enhances its international security while reducing the threats of military aggression or other threats that might occur. With the use of the available military force and support from NATO, Latvia can protect its people from military attacks.
Additionally, the state plans to eliminate economic instability in the country to accomplish its objective of eliminating poverty and diseases in the country. For the long-term accomplishment of the foreign policy objectives, it is vital to devise strategies that will improve the economic stand of the nation. The state plans to open doors that give access to resources for production, raw materials, and a small internal market. It further plans to open markets for the exportation and importation of products in the market to increase business competence (Tsaurkubule & Vishnevska, 2012). The government intends to devise ways in which people will not evade taxes but pay them to guarantee the provision of money. To further strengthen the economic security of the nation, the government needs to develop constant and predictable economic environs, promotion of growth in the economy, and the diversification of the export market. Additionally, the government will try and allocate other alternative sources of energy resources.
Although Latvia is limited in several areas that need immediate and adequate implementation, the country chose the best defense strategy. First of all, Latvia is a minuscule country with a small number of people compared to its enemies, thus even if it had the strongest military base, it stands to be outnumbered. Hence, its ability to join organizations that can help in providing the necessary resources to the country works to its advantage. NATO helps in providing Latvia with active military and in protecting its borders from an enemy attack. In the case of a threat from the enemy, the small country of Latvia has strong support from the nations allied with NATO. Russia has proven to have a strong military base in its attack on Ukraine. Thus, if Latvia were standing alone, it would stand the same fate as Ukraine. The protection given by NATO enables it to enjoy the peace and the economic support provided that the EU ensures that the strategies it plans to implement to actualize the financial stability it aspires for will be actualized. However, Latvia is still economically poor and stands at the mercy of other powerful economies in Europe. Therefore, it has to work efficiently to ensure it fills the gap that pulls it down. Also, in the area of security, the country stands a risk of national security if it does not implement all the strategies intended. There is a need for qualified personnel as well as relevant resources required for the country to prosper.
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