In The Collapse of the Baltic Tigers, Edward Lucas calls attention to the economic and geostrategic dynamics redefining the new frontier between Western Europe and Russia.

From Foreign Policy: Russia looms next door to the Baltic states as a contemptuous and even hostile neighbor that has played out repeated military exercises based on the scenario of reconquest. The three Baltic states are today members of nato but often feel they are on its margins: in the alliance on paper, but lacking the contingency planning and military presence that would bolster the security guarantee provided by Article V of the nato treaty. Russia’s increasingly angry rhetoric and ominous moves may seem like empty posturing from the safety of Brussels or Washington, but from a Baltic standpoint they are threatening—and all the more so for having thus far prompted no clear Western response.
It used to be Belgium that was counted as the “cockpit of Europe”—the place where great-power interests clashed and were settled. Now it is the Baltic states. At stake is not just nato’s credibility, but also that of the whole post-communist experiment: Is it possible for small countries on Russia’s borders to gain durable prosperity, security, and freedom, with their destiny determined by their own talents and virtues? Or will the ebb and flow of economic fortune ultimately prove that these small states are unsustainable as anything but satrapies for more powerful neighbors?
(graphic: Katherine Yester, Foreign Policy)