How do you feel about the current state of defense in the region?
By - KevTravels
I agree with other commentor, that in current geopolitical situation we’re not going to get attacked, but situations change, and sometimes people notice that after the change has already happened and it’s too late. Ukraine wasn’t attacked for 20+ years, before it was, and they were absolutely unprepared. I really doubt they were expecting to get invaded. It happened fast.
I guess current spending is alright. 2% is meeting NATO quota, regions relationship with Alliance is alright, and I trust those people to know what they’re doing when deciding how much troops to station.
I’m no expert of course, that’s just my take
I think everyone is pretty chill, mostly because the probability of war breaking out soon is very very unlikely. Some people like the NATO troops, some don't care, and some are calling it an invasion. I personally think the current amount is enough. Nobody is really scared shitless that we're defenseless, but sometimes I hear people saying we shouldn't be so aggressive towards Russia, Belarus, China, because we are so small and weak. But really, nobody is that scared/bothered to do anything about it.
who is calling it an invasion?
There is some group of people who are affected by the propaganda from the East
For most folks in your country or the region is it more like "out of sight, out of mind"?
It's always hard to tell. I've a pal from Lithuania who I discuss about Russia from time to time but honestly it seems more like political establishment here in the US who are more concerned about Baltic security (of course this is just because anti-Russia is the norm continued) than those in the region. Though, of course I imagine it's simply because most folks probably correctly assess it as Russia isn't stupid enough to do anything so utterly stupid in the region.
In short, the answer is both. It's like a self-eating snake.
There are lots of people who group up and formed in USSR and when capitalism came (in their mind - The West), they weren't ready for that. Many people lost jobs or received cents and were doomed to suffer, while other gain wealth. So they blocked their minds and started blaming the West for their problems and prising communism and Russia because in their mind "everyone was even and there were lots of jobs with good enough salaries".
About 2%+, in my opinion at this moment 2% it's enough because we are meeting NATO obligations and a couple of millions to the army won't make big difference, but they could make big difference in education (which at this moment is a bigger problem in Lithuania) and education can solve the other problems.
I think we are, since because of geopolitical situation, there won't be any invasion of the baltic states. It is more likely Ukraine will be invaded, which is unlikely. For us to spend too much or too little is bad, we still have to put up a presentation of force to the Russians, but not too much so the other institutions and the people suffer. I don't know exactly what is happening, or is 2.5% of our gdp is too much. That's just my take from the current situation we are in and history.
Just another question to probe, do you feel there isn't enough of a working relationship between the 3 nations at the moment whether it's forming combined units or developing a common defense strategy and equipment?
Definitely. For example Latvians ar developing their new APC (modified patria 6x6) together with Finland for finnish, latvian and norwegian armed forces. Estonia backed out of the project and Lithuania wasn't even interested.
I think what you should be looking at is why that was the case.
Im not comfortable, till Latvia reintroduces conscription.
1000 land forces + 8000 questionably trained guards(some of them are in retirement age and many havent attended training in a long time) is a lacluster force compared to our neighbours and is very bad at detering
Also, we still have so many things to develop on, I think military arms race will be like economic growth - never finished, but always working on :D
I personally am against conscription because if I am forced to fight in a war then I will do my best to get the fuck out of there but if I have a choice, if the war is even worth fighting ,then I may fight.
What I personally think would be best is give people easier access to training on how to operate weapons and over time slowly make more and more of them legal, in which case you have lots of semi competent people with access to weaponry if needed, and if the country falls these people can do as the Forest Brothers did.
But as previously stated this is just what I think, and also due to 3D printers I think weapons regulation will get to a point where it is too hard to enforce it, so better teach people now before it gets to that point.
Weird flex about 0.01%, but ok.. ([data](https://i.imgur.com/pFYyoh2.jpg) from [here](https://www.nato.int/nato_static_fl2014/assets/pdf/2021/6/pdf/210611-pr-2021-094-en.pdf))
2% is enough for Latvia.
Extra 1% means more than 230 mil. euros per year. That money per year on army is a waste.
That money is times over enough to make teachers salary competitive. So if they could find extra 1%, that would mean that it could be spent waaaay better and solve many more problems than fear of invasion.
Education should be number one priority.
I am totally against making Latvia some military state or buffer zone.
How does spending more on defense make Latvia a "military state or buffer zone"?
When nation with many more problems that money can solve chooses to cut budget and to put it into army instead of education, isnt it military focus?
Sure, still not sure what a military state or buffer zone is though.
If all east of country is made as some modern day magenot line and we would spend 3%, then 4%, then 5%.
Thats buffer state for you.
Why not just have a modern and capable army up to the task of defending the country?
Depends on cost of it. You think that 2-3% of gdp can be just taken that easy without cutting other fields budget?
If cost is 2%, why not.
If cost is 5% and your roads are a mess, education is in very bad state, taxes are being risen when salaries are stagnating, then nobody needs this modern and capable army.
There would be nothing left worth to defend :)
Do i really have to explain that? It is not strategy game where you can just spend money on army.
You need to balance all of those, but you should aim to make them all competitive as well. A half assed defense isn't much better than none.
Things in EDF have drastically improved since me and my friends served, however there are still absurd weaknesses in key fields.
1. No proficent anti air capability
2. Nonexistant navy, 2 minesweepers aint no defense. At least this year they bought some seamines.
3. Reservist drills are way too infrequent to maintain skills. It's important to remember EDF is mainly reservist force, and in dire times depends on them.
2 percent of gdp may seem like a lot, but given our low economic volume it should be 4-8.
Just to point out that in order to get to a high economic volume, you need those extra 1.5%-5,5% of GDP not in the military, but in infrastructure, education and support programs for entrepreneurs. You gotta grow the economy first.
As long as we don\`t have about 200,000-300,000 actively ready troops it will never be enough.
Do you mean like standing army? That's impossible, it would be like 6% of baltic states population permamently in army. That would cripple our economy. Do you mean in reserves? Well, Estonia alone can field 90k if all reservists and defense league members are called in.
That's not completely true. The rule of thumb for warfare is that you need at a minimum a 3:1 advantage in numbers if you want to win an attack. The maximum number of troops Russia could possibly send without leaving itself vulnerable in other defence districts is maybe 200 000, but probably less. Estonia alone (without NATO) is capable of fielding about 30 000 fully equipped troops with top of the line equipment, and an additional 40 000 in case of a general mobilization with 90s-00s equipment. At these numbers, it would require about 200 000 Russian troops for Estonia alone.
Not to mention that its not like Russia is going to send 2 field armies against small Estonia. Baltics arent some gold or oil mine, unkike Putin portrays it.
If they cant invade us with small VDV or tank force, they'll never do it.
Actively ready troops is such a bizzare statement, as it really means nothing in specific. Do you mean active reserve? Reserve in general? Professional forces?
Right now there is an urgent need to fortify our borders against little sand people arriving via Belarus, but a few years ago some arrived to Norway via Murmansk and some to Finland - so anything in between is in danger as well.
Also, I am not sure how much, but quite a large share of those sand people appear to be of the black sand type.
Increasing it would be bad for The average citizen. Those few extra tents and so on won't save us from russian invasion(if they ever do attack) but will take up resources that The country really needs.
But it deters.
You see, life isnt like in HOI4, where u justify a war against weaker nation and it always succeds... there are limitations and desires. In real life, u dont go to war, just because you can...
Imagine if you wanted to rob a house. What are the chances of you commiting robbery if a)theres noone inside b)there are 2 teens with sticks,that can potentially cause some trouble
Even with The best tech, our country is doomed if there will be war with Russia.
We either change our strategy and be more like The swiss(ready for partisan activity) or not spend that much on military.
Latvia can't fight an out right battle, but we can cause hell if we know every inch of swamp and forest. We need to focus on hidden defence.
Latvia keeps focusing on The wrong stuff. Those new trucks most likely can be easily shot by drones and it sucks for our terrain.
Remember that even NATO troops are more like half troops in crap situations, their moral will be lower and may not see a big enough reason to fight. A spaniard may not see a reason to fight after Russia The same way we do.
If that budget is used for stuff like autonomous drones, automation and higher maths it will pay for itself 1000x. Defense money doesn't mean tents, if your country is smart about it.
Our country isn't smart about it.
You are your country. You literally decide what we do with defence budget!
I don't. I vote for someone, they join a coalition with a bad party who get The defense ministry.
I don't vote who becomes defense minister. It usually ends up with The opposite guy I wanted.
The government is corrupt, even if it did The right thing, it would use too much.
Defence budget should be 4%, with a twist. Money going 70% to research that is not only crucial for an actual defence, but extreme useful for talent generation and tech development in Latvia. Like higher maths, autonomous robotics, manufacturing automation, artificial intelligence bots for hybrid war in places like reddit, delfi etc. It would be extremely painful to invade any country with such arsenal, and more so, all of this development and talent generated along the way is useful for future growth of economy, so it's a no brainer we should do it.
No idea why you got downvoted
I have a better and cheaper alternative :D
We introduce conscription, build bunkers in cities and defence posts, but ATGM's and landmines.
For Russia, a country with every healthy male being a potential danger, having very fortified points of defence and *potentially* mined areas is WAY higher nightmare than a country with small token force and some tech.
You can wipe out tech centers with artillery and rockets, but you cant clear a country full of dangerous armed and coordinated groups with dangerous areas.
People often overrate tech capacities and underrate raw manpower advantage... after all, human still is and will be the most valuable asset on battlefield
Good point, but it does not take into account the reality of modern world - there is almost no chance of war starting in borders of NATO for at least 50-100 years, and same with russia, no country will invade them, reason being NATO and Russia being a nuke holders. So we are basically training ton of people for nothing.
However, if we do mandatory stuff like autonomous robotics engineering, higher maths and manufacturing automation for each individual, he will be way more able to kill invaders and stay protected in case of emergency. AAAND in case of war doesn't start these people are not gonna hang themselves due to depression, because they will be sought after professionals not only in Latvia, but globally.
We train people exactly for use now- for detternace, as to always be ready, but never use them. The same as countries with nukes - they have nukes not because they want to use them, but as to never use them.
While yes, investments in tech are useful, I doubt the efficiency with them here:
a)Latvia will never be a major arms research hub, most we could reach is cooperation in R&D or licence production
b)there are way more important military improvements rn with way higher effects than dedicating budget to research.
Also, you can combine conscription with university learning. 1 year in ze army, 4 or 8 years in uni. Double the effect
Personally speaking I already have enough know how to do what I would like and any information I lack I can easily find online without useless theory. So 1 year for basically nothing unless the person who served that one year cares about some certificate that says they are officially qualified
Oh, so show me where you can learn how to use and aim a gun online or learn military tactics AND practise them irl...
Very shitty argument you have here + in wartime, no one is gonna care about certificates. If you can do it, you will be put to it no matter your certification.
I was more speaking about the years of uni you spoke of
but why would we need defence
there is this country called Russia, thats why