Foreign policy priorities plotted

Latvia's foreign policy experts and observers gathered in Riga January 18 for the unveiling of what is effectively the annual handbook of Latvia's foreign policy. 

Produced by the Latvian Institute of International Affairs (LIIA), the 250-page tome contains all any geopolitical policy wonk could possibly wish to know 

Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said the publication was a suitable overture to next week's annual foreign policy debate in the Latvian parliament, the Saeima, quipping: "We are still working on the speech for a week's time -- we just hope it won't be out of date by then..."

Ojars Eriks Kalnins, chairman of the Saeima's Foreign Affairs committee and signatory of a recent letter to incoming US President Donald Trump expressing hopes for continued US resolve with regard to Russia, urged policymakers to concentrate on getting their own house in order.

"I think this will be the first [US] administration I can remember where its positions are not really known in advance... What can Latvia do in such a situation? In my opinion what we can do is identify and stick to our priorities," said Kalnins.

When the weather is windy you need to take care of your own stability first of all."

Kalnins also emphasised that the Latvian diaspora overseas should both inform and influence Latvia's foreign policy, citing Canada as a particularly impressive example in this respect.

LIIA director Andris Spruds pointed out that Trump himself had repeated said during his election campaign he favored an "unpredictable" foreign policy as a strategy to prevent other governments guessing what he would do next.

"It will not be simple... We also see the first use of 'twitomatie' (diplomacy via twitter) said Spruds.

The yearbook can be downloaded in PDF format from LIIA's website HERE.

 

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