'And why it is bad for us'. Jānis Urbanovičs, a Latvian politician and leader of the Harmony party. Let me start with some alarming trends. Unfortunately, current world's situation gives no cause for optimism and continues to develop towards the worst of all possible scenarios. In recent months, the US administration's actions have led to believe in its intention to put the squeeze on Putin who is still regarded as the US deadly threat. It is no secret that China is the only country in the world whose freedom and independence of thought and action are tolerated by the United States. But most likely that is only because there is no breakthrough ideas on how to cope with the Chinese multi-billion population and the world's largest economy. With regard to other countries, obedience to the USA is the only acceptable way of behavior. Putin's Russia is completely out of character. And it is consistently going on for the last one and a half decades. Is Putin picking up on the fact that his resistance prompts even greater pressure? - Yes, of course he is. That is the message contained in a 'military section' of his recent address to the Federal Assembly, which has been intended to show the country and the whole world that he is persistent and consistent in his disobedience. I cannot be the judge of whether the picture that has accompanied Putin's speech is true or not. But there are unavoidable parallels with Reagan's Star Wars program, which has turned out to be a true Hollywood project. Nevertheless, I assume that most positions expressed regarding Russian new weapons are true and the latter can really float, fly and fire. The level of confrontations is rising. And it is now possible to talk about two scenarios. Both of them are negative. There is not any positive scenario as the situation shows no evident signs of improvement. If even behind-the-scenes negotiations are being pursued somewhere, then at least I am not aware of that, and so, they cannot be taken into consideration here. The first scenario represents a clean break. That is a moderate version of the so-called cold war where neither side misses a chance to do dirt on the opponent, but without starting an open fight with each other. By doing so, each side focuses on own problems, particularly as both America and Russia have them in spades right now. The second scenario is bad because leaders choose to measure strength with each other. But I really do hope that they, being of relatively sound mind and body, do not drive the situation to nuclear confrontation, but limit themselves to a certain localized war somewhere on the periphery. There are not many such places, the choice is scarce. And the first thing that comes to mind here is the Baltics, namely, its territory, not a group of Baltic countries. The more so as you can just light a match, throw it at skillfully managed segments of Latvian society and, because of lapses in Latvian internal policies, the fires may be raging there. In this scenario, unfortunately, my native cities, such as Rēzekne and Daugavpils, may be the first ones where Russian military commandant's offices will be opened. This is because a perspective of Russian occupation of Latvia cannot be doubted. Experts are debating on a time frame for starting the occupation - in 2, 3 or 5 days - rather than on its probability. However, in such apparently desperate situations the fragile shoots of positivity may also be found. They are on the other side of the world, namely, on the Korean peninsula. It is exactly from there that the news of Washington's willingness to enter into negotiations with Pyongyang has recently arrived. And it is all because of the South Koreans, who have a lot to lose and who form a sober estimate of any military confrontation between America and North Korea, its scale and effects on their status. Even if in this struggle nuclear arsenals are not used, Seoul, located less than 200 km from Pyongyang and almost 24 km from the border with North Korea, will always get more it asked for. Common sense, a sound outlook and elementary sense of self-preservation showed excellent results to the entire world: the South Koreans have managed to act as mediators between the US and North Korean politicians and diplomats in order to convince them to enter into negotiations. We are looking forward to their meeting. Now, I think, it is quite clear why I am talking about this. Indeed, Latvia could do the same, acting as a mediator between the West and the East. I have to confess I, too, have got illusions about it. After all, Latvia, which was a part of the Russian Empire for almost 300 years, had considerable experience in co-residence, political elite that got raised in Russian Universities and close economic and cultural contacts with Russia, may win over any other negotiator in talks between America and Russia, hands down. But the reality turned out to be quite different. Latvia acted not as a mediator but as a master conman, or should I say, a scarer. Together with Poles we scared the rest of Europe, as well as, the USA and NATO with 'ferocity, immorality, aggressiveness and incivility of the Russkis'. I guess it is time to stop scaring others and to start fearing for own safety because if representatives of our elite expect that in certain circumstances they will have time to board a plane and fly away, then I can assure you that not all of them will be able to do so. Some of them will catch a plane and others won't. Wherever the elite suffer, the ordinary people always suffer even more. As the Ukrainians say, when masters fall out their men get the clout. Some say, when a wild animal scares a man, the latter is capable of doing the most unexpected things, such as climbing up to the top of a big tree. Perhaps, a strong fear will encourage us, too, to do something unexpected, for instance, to start acting effectively, reasonably and peacefully, prioritizing the interests of own country and all people living there without exception. But it must be recognized that the ability to act in own interests are rarely manifested in the Latvians' behavior. In the 20th century, this occurred only twice. The first time that was 100 years ago, the second occurred in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. And that is quite understandable as every nation has its own cultural code. For centuries of foreign domination the Latvians learned to fall in line and even find certain convenience in their subordinate position. Shifting the responsibility for own future on their masters, the Latvians feel quite comfortable with it. This is a part of our cultural code. But right now, there is a need for its recoding, at least temporarily, as in this form it presents a danger for us, our children and grandchildren. Denying, as usual, any responsibility for own future and transferring it to the stronger, smarter and, in our view, the more successful players, we are at serious risk of losing. I mean to lose the battle for own life and life of our descendants by becoming a stage for presenting military developments and testing of the latest technologies. Certainly our partners from NATO, EU and OECD will then help us to recover and rebuild our country, but first, everything will be bombed to hell here. Do we really need it, my dear fellow citizens?