On 26 August, 2021, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia hosted an online discussion “Migration as a weapon of hybrid war against Latvia: what next?”
The discussion on the hybrid war against Latvia by the regime of Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko was attended by the Minister of Defence Dr. Artis Pabriks, senior researcher at the National Defence Academy of Latvia Dr. Toms Rostoks, and Dr. Māris Kūlis, researcher at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the University of Latvia. The discussion was moderated by Kārlis Roķis, editor of the defence industry news portal “Sargs.lv”.
Toms Rostoks, Senior researcher at the National Defence Academy, expressed hope that the conflict will not escalate, but the threat must be monitored. The experts also agreed that Belarus in this conflictual situation has picked up on something very important, namely that the European Union (EU) has raised the issue of migrants and refugees, and where the EU needs to reconsider its position. Rostock believes that Belarus is now trying to put pressure on the EU to lift sanctions previously imposed on Belarus.
Also Māris Kūlis also believes that Latvia should stop confusing the terms “refugees” and “migrants”, understanding that people on Latvia’s eastern border are a purposefully organised migration flow and not victims who are persecuted.
“What is happening with the so-called ‘welcomist movement’ is a bad thing. Europe is trying to stick to its principles, which is fine, but the biggest problem is the EU slogan ‘united in diversity’. A group of countries that wants to be united but whose basic idea is to be different. And what is happening in this context of ‘welcomists’ (from the Enlightenment onwards, and universal ethics, who recognised diversity as main issue), is that there is a real, genuine desire to save the whole world. But what next? Let’s welcome, but why don’t we go further? And the great misfortune of the moment is the confusion of values with inversion – we have lost our measure. The welcomist movement, though nobly intentioned, has fallen into self-enchantment. “
Also central to the discussion was the idea of the state, because who gets involved in conflict resolution, the state or society. And Kūlis adds: “The essential thing is the idea of the state. A rather catastrophic situation is developing at European level – hybrid warfare, or a new kind of warfare, is first and foremost in the cultural sphere. Already philosophical ideas speak of man as a symbol of the animal, and it must be understood that the work is in this field. And where is the misfortune? Western society believed prematurely and imagined that there was nothing to be improved in the system of cultural symbols. But we have to continue to talk about Western ideas and values here and now, addressing why the state, precisely the state, is needed.”
The experts also addressed the question of hybrid wars and their consequences, i.e., whether NATO is caught up in self-enchantment, paying lesser attention to the question of threats and hybrid wars, what defines these phenomena and how to tackle them with newer means. More topics were discussed.