Analyzing the complex geopolitical landscape of Europe from my perspective, it appears that this decade has placed a significant strain on nations, particularly on the Baltic states. The rising aggression of neighbouring Russia seems to affect these states profoundly.
Latvia, amidst these heightened tensions, isn’t just a silent spectator; it seeks to develop a significant international role by launching a bid for an elected seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2026-27 term.
The Latvian President, Edgars Rinkevics, has been consistently vocal about his concerns over Russia, increasing since 2014, and escalating with the war in Ukraine.
Russia’s intervention in Ukraine in 2022 stands as a disconcerting example of the threats small nations are likely to endure at the hands of bigger countries with imperialistic ambitions.
My take on Rinkevics’ visit to the United Nations headquarters in New York City on November 9, 2023, is that it marks Latvia’s intention to raise its status in international diplomacy.
From a country of just 1.9 million people emerges a commitment to bring stability in an increasingly volatile world. Latvia’s candidature carries historical weight as well.
The country, once under Soviet occupation for nearly 50 years, trends on a path to recovery from past scars. For contemporary Latvia, the quest for a Security Council seat isn’t merely about raising global awareness. It represents their claim to a place where vital decisions impacting global security are formulated.
Also noteworthy is the fact that Rinkevics is Latvia’s first openly gay president, took office in 2023. This was the same year when Russia stigmatized international LGBT groups as “extremists”. In doing so, Rinkevics amplifies Latvia’s scope in advocating pro liberal agenda internationally.
Meanwhile, Latvia’s bid faces competition from Montenegro, the only other contender for Eastern Europe’s single available seat. Observers express concerns about Russia’s persisting influence in the area as Latvia transitions towards greater international relevance.
Simultaneously, a substantive influx of Ukrainian refugees into Latvia, triggered by the Russo-Ukrainian war, escalates the existing tensions. However, it also presents a human aspect to this geopolitical skirmish, making it experientially real for common Latvians.
In my opinion, Rinkevics’ Security Council platform, which promotes international laws and women’s empowerment, advances Sustainable Development Goals and pushes for Security Council reform, is commendable.
Rinkevics proposes to include even more representatives from regions like Africa, Latin America, and Asia while advocating for a limit on the veto use among P5 members. His efforts to modernize and streamline the UN and reinforce its ability to deliver on its obligations indicate his stance as a reformist.
Latvia’s candidacy brings the effectiveness of the UN and its reform capacity into focus. Being a younger and smaller member state, Latvia’s voice seems critical in fostering a fairer global governance framework—an objective missed in recent years.
Lastly, securing the Security Council seat would go beyond national triumph. It would symbolize the legitimate right of smaller nations to be heard, reinforcing that international law and global peace aren’t just ideals but pragmatic tools to ensure that all nations, regardless of their size, can live without fear.