The U.S. does its best to strengthen its positions in the Baltic States. The U.S. hunts out excuses for being there, having no actual reason and legal grounds to deploy its military contingent in the region.
For instance, though its troops are not even a part of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle group in Latvia, the U.S. troops and military equipment are permanently present in the country. The more so, the U.S. always finds a basis for its presence. Thus, it is eager to take part in military exercises, give money to build military infrastructure, participate in different joint military conferences, sell military equipment or just give advices.
For such purposes the U.S. initiated Operation Atlantic Resolve as a demonstration of U.S. commitment to collective security in the region.
As part of this operation thirteen UH-60 and HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters arrived in Latvia in February. Likewise, 150 soldiers from the 3rd battalion of the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade arrived and are stationed here on a rotational basis. The U.S. contingent is expected to stay in Latvia for nine months. It is said they fulfill operations in the National Armed Forces base in Lielvārde.
Another fact of the U.S. active involvement in domestic affairs is the so called advisory assistance which has turned into a guide to action, supported by the U.S. financial help.
U.S. defense think-tank the Rand Corporation has produced in April a new report titled Deterring Russian Aggression in the Baltic States.
According to the report, “a robust technology initiative to enhance military capabilities for all three states would cost about $125 million, could be implemented over several years, and is scalable. The authors discuss the benefits and risks of expanding unconventional and total defense efforts and potential Russian responses and countermeasures. Finally, they outline steps that the Baltic governments, the United States, other NATO allies and partners, and the European Union could take to enhance these efforts.
The authors conclude that total defense and unconventional warfare capabilities can complement the existing conventional defense efforts of the Baltic states and NATO, improve warning of an attack, augment initial defenses, and buy time for (and provide support to) national and NATO conventional responses.”
For Latvia, in particular, the authors advice to enhance the size and capabilities of its national guard and reserve forces and improve whole-of society resilience efforts. Just after report’s release, Latvian Minister of Defence Pubriks announced the planned snap checks of combat readiness. The Defence Ministry also wants to prompt residents’ involvement in the comprehensive defense system, so they know what they must do in order to defend their country. A booklet with all the necessary information for residents will be released in the fall, the booklet will also be available online, added Pabriks.
These all steps should be considered as the attempts to influence Latvian authorities and population and to force them to grand the U.S. the possibility to do what it thinks is better fo Latvia. The U.S. wants to create a condition under which the small Baltic States cannot exist or behave by themselves.
The key recommendation given by the authors of the report is “the United States, other NATO allies and partners, and the European Union could take further concrete steps to support the Baltic countries in developing their total defense and unconventional warfare capabilities.” And they will take these steps even if Latvia is not ready to accept their help.