Sovereign states may seem safe, but the world’s evolving dynamics in technology and economic aspects cause changes and shifts in the security sector. Geopolitical power, rise in technological developments in communication and defense weapons, conflicts in international interests, and financial instabilities possess critical security risks in many countries. The Netherlands and Russia are among the world’s top economies and have stable political backgrounds, but they still face social, economic, and technological threats. The Netherlands has been prone to cyber threats and terrorist attacks for years, increasing the country’s need for strategic national security measures. Russia, in turn, feels that the United States and other allied nations are trying to obtain world dominance in political and economic affairs. This study uses a methodological framework that assesses the national security interests of Russia and the Netherlands and analyzes their security threats, opportunities, challenges, and potential mitigation measures, along with the ways and means of achieving them.
Both countries have the aim of protecting their international borders as independent states due to the risks of terrorism or foreign attacks. In both countries, territorial defenses involve defending against military attacks and retaliation, alien attacks, and preventing telecommunication breaches, such as cybersecurity threats in the Netherlands. Russian security emphasizes social issues and domestic human development, such as observing citizens’ constitutional rights, raising living standards, and freedom to access federal information for mutual benefits, particularly in the trade sector. The Russian government assumes that territorial security will help in territorial inviolability involving economic, political, and social stability, maintaining law and order, and citizen protection (Kremlin, Moscow 2021). Moreover, security also promotes equality in utilizing international cooperation among the state, citizens, and international relations.
Economic security implies developing and maintaining the countries’ financial statuses. Being a sovereign economy, Russia must uphold its robust economy to match other rival governments in the struggles for economic sovereignty. Economic security involves creating positive relationships with foreign allies in the trade sector, thereby ensuring high living standards for citizens and observing the federal procedural laws regarding economic activities and transactions within and across borders (Kremlin, Moscow 2021). The course of Dutch economic security is also based on economic stability as a critical component of a highly-developed state (National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism 2019). The country is less focused on a military course, but weaponry and technological innovations are also part of the country’s sources of income.
Social, Political, and Cultural Stability
A socially and politically stable environment refers to a harmonious co-existence between the state, citizens, and various ethnic communities in a given geographical region. Changes in ethical, cultural, or political conditions, in turn, risk a nation’s stability. In Russia, the government strives to protect and promote individual citizens’ intellectual and spiritual scope, while the Netherlands entails protecting against Islamic invasion while embracing cultural diversity (Kremlin, Moscow 2021; National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism 2019). By promoting spiritual and intellectual breadth, Russia ensures the strengthening and preservation of society’s ethics, humane acts, patriotism, and cultural heritage and developing the nation’s scientific capacity (Kremlin, Moscow 2021). The Netherlands focuses more on the stability of the physical environment for better living (National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism 2019). The country aims to ensure its ecological security and prepare for natural calamities, such as rises in water levels or earthquakes (PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency n.d.). On the other hand, Russia assumes that protecting and regaining spiritualism will reduce and eradicate foreign influence contributing to terrorism.
International security refers to creating and maintaining international relations by observing inter-state treaties and agreements’ laws, regulations, and standard requirements. Being an independent nation, the Netherlands has global connections throughout the nation’s cities and Europe (National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism 2019). As an extension of securing their international affairs, the state has the rule of law that governs and protects the smooth flowing of information. Russia’s global interests include strengthening its world position in the economic and political sphere and developing a mutually profitable relationship with traditional and foreign states (Kremlin, Moscow 2021). The Russian government advocates for peaceful foreign relations to enhance business interactions and improve the country’s economic stability. The Dutch assumptions also concern better relations to provide business opportunities.
Opportunities, Challenges, And Threats
Russia and the Netherlands face security threats due to the growing military strength of other powerful states, such as the United States. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) borders are drawing closer to Russian boundaries, which entails the threat of encroachment and possible invasion. Strengthening the country’s military protection is a viable opportunity of protecting the state’s wealth and resources and achieve world dominance socially, politically, and economically. Being a NATO member, the Netherlands can also face military control challenges. However, these risks may be caused by the activity of the alliance in the European region and are unlikely to be caused by external interference and encroachment on the country’s territorial integrity.
If the Russian military power increases, the state may be more aggressive in pursuing its interests of sovereign dominance and increase rivalry with other powerful states. The Netherlands also faces threats from more powerful military rivals. Although the other nations’ military activities do not show hostility, having more substantial military bases risks conflicts. Weaponry and military equipment in both countries require the participation of the EU as a powerful influence to mitigate potential stresses.
Taking over other states’ trade investments is common in global markets. The European Union (EU) sanctioning of oil prices and power struggles in resource distribution affect the Russian economy and financial stability. Political instability and poor democracy are also risk factors. Russia has been facing economic decline since the 1990s, and recovery efforts are still anemic (Russell 2018). The sanctions and drop in oil prices have affected the country’s economy. In addition, apart from sanctioning, the main factors contributing to Russia’s economic decline are internal factors, such as corruption, high poverty levels, and state dominance over large enterprises.
In the Netherlands, taking over other countries trade and resource distribution contributes significantly to the state’s economic growth. The country has no obvious rivals in the international arena, which allows it to trade more freely. Moreover, unlike Russia, which proposes financial stability to regain its sovereign glory, the Netherlands’ strategic plan involves enhancing existing security to guard against a sector that may pose security threats to foreign takeovers.
Russia wants to ensure technological independence by focusing on new technologies and innovations. The local government argues that its rivals are more powerful and have top-notch security systems that can easily hack and access their sensitive federal information (Russell 2018). The country will require a complete transition from traditional to modern technical designs for effective technological development and self-dependence. Moreover, coordinating with foreign countries in security matters is better than creating an independent security system due to power influences. Maintaining national relations should be a priority over cutting ties by being self-reliant in all aspects.
The Netherlands also faces high-security theorists from telecommunication technologies. Cybersecurity is rampant when rival states try to spy on the country’s top-secret information, corporate and military strategies, and policies (National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism 2019). Since the state and foreign interactions use the internet to communicate and transact business, creating a more secure communication system is challenging without sabotaging the exchanges. Transitioning to more digital solutions also depends on the country’s economic stability to sustain and risk huge expenses on innovations. New technologies may backlash; thus, the planning team must counterattack and prepare for any damages and financial costs. However, unlike Russia, the Netherlands uses its technical potential more intelligently through the implementation of an internal scientific base and the creation of favorable employment opportunities.
In Russia, spiritual and cultural values entail humanism, patriotism, high ethical standards, collectivism, and prioritizing the spiritual aspect over material possessions. Since time, Russians have claimed that other countries are negatively influencing their sociocultural patterns. The state argues that foreign cultures are spreading unethical social and moral values that contradict their traditions. According to the Russian president, powerful nations like the United States use their dominance to influence Russia’s cultural and social lifestyles. Foreign influence is the primary course of terrorist attacks in Russia, thus needing safety (The Russian Government, 2021). In the Netherlands, foreign religious influence is the major contributor to terrorist attacks on national and international levels. The primary source of these terrorist attacks is religious conflicts between Christianity and Islamic religions in Europe.
Like Russia, the spiritual and cultural traditions of the Dutch are at risk of foreign exploitation and influence. As extremists move to immigrate to the Netherlands, they spread their ideologies by influencing religious beliefs and promoting terrorist acts (General Intelligence and Security Service 2018). The widespread of Islamic believers in the country challenges efforts to stop terrorism and false doctrines. In the past, preventive measures were futile because extremists found ways of radicalizing vulnerable populations through discrimination, which gained their empathy and created negative attitudes towards anti-terrorism movements. Compared to Russia, the Netherlands has a more progressive outlook on democracy, which negatively affects its internal security.
Objectives, Ways, and Means
By utilizing their power and influence means, both states can enhance their security. For Russia, one of the objective ways is to curb corruption and raise citizens’ living standards to ensure financial stability. The country has sufficient resources to create a stable defense base to prepare for possible attacks and respond timely in the case of real threats. However, preserving internal integrity and promoting positive changes are more important objectives, and based on the official statements of governments, these areas of work play an essential role in increasing the country’s prestige in the international arena (Kremlin, Moscow 2021). Compared to Russia, the Netherlands does not have the same sustainable programs that would promote the development of patriotism in society. By creating appropriate social initiatives and building a framework for patriotic and military education, the state can better prepare the population for possible threats, including terrorist attacks.
In terms of technological development, the Netherlands is ahead of Russia, despite the extended human and natural resources of the latter. One of the steps that Russia should take is to pay attention to the sustainability of its labor market. By utilizing appropriate initiatives, for instance, decent wages, the government should move towards retaining highly qualified specialists within the country, including in the military industry. In the Netherlands, as a progressive country, the promotion of cybersecurity education for young people is an adequate solution because, according to the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (2019), the target activities relate primarily to the government’s initiatives, which is an omission. Despite the fact that the Russians’ socio-cultural perception is stronger than the Dutch one, the Netherlands can establish projects, for example, through telecommunications, designed to educate the population on the principles of protecting digital data. The strategies proposed are consistent with the needs of both countries and can help them address vulnerabilities in their national defense systems by applying available resources and their strengths to the full extent.
National security strategies involve protecting citizens and territorial borders and maintaining good relationships with foreign states. Economic security is the primary concern in Russia and the Netherlands, which entails gaining financial stability through controlling the states’ trade enterprises and raising citizens’ living standards. The framework used has made it possible to identify objective ways and means designed to address the development strategies for both states from the perspectives of their strengths and existing gaps. The two countries face espionage from foreign states and face the threats of breaches to their telecommunication systems. Maintaining socio-cultural and spiritual traditions is another national concern to prevent foreign disruptions and influence on social settings. Overall, both the Netherlands’ and Russia’s approaches to strategic planning involve more technological independence and international interactions. For Russia, one of the key strategies is to strengthen its internal labor market and create conditions for the retention of professional personnel in the military sector through decent wages and growth prospects. The Netherlands, in turn, should strengthen the socio-cultural dimension of development by promoting relevant patriotic programs among young people and creating training projects for digital data protection to counter cyber threats.
General Intelligence and Security Service. 2018. “AIVD: Annual Report 2018.” Web.
Kremlin, Moscow. 2021. “On the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation.” Web.
National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism. 2019. “National Security Strategy.”
PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. n.d. “Correction Wording Flood Risks for the Netherlands in IPCC Report.”
Russell, Martin. 2018. “Seven Economic Challenges for Russia: Breaking out of Stagnation?” European Parliament.
The Russian Government. 2021. “Federal Security Service.”