Latvia Curiously Unmoved by Suggestion That Fences Don’t Work

Latvia is building a fence to keep the migrant wave from its shores.

That fence will be on the Russian border.

For any of you not following the news closely, the current migrant wave is coming through the European Union. Russia is not a member of the EU. Lithuania and Estonia, which border Latvia, are.

Latvia has a large, restive, minority ethnic Russian population. Russia is currently leveraging one of those in East Ukraine to significant effect.

Some might call Latvia’s stated reason for the fence — preventing migrant movement — a pretext. This is nonsense, though not because a couple of hundred Vietnamese immigrants have come over the Russian border. The migrants Latvia wants to stop are Russian migrants, with or without main battle tanks and artillery.

Riga has learnt quite a bit the last few years, about Russia, and NATO, and the European Union. And what it’s learnt is that when Vladimir Putin decides he wants to cut up your country, Brussels and Washington will find they left something baking, and they really need to get to that right now lest it burn, but they’ll be back right quick.

This is how alliances shatter. It’s not with angry words or sudden breaks, but with slow losses of confidence and negative reinforcement.

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