Baltics

  • Are the Baltic States Really Indefensible?

    One of the great canards of our time is that the Baltic states are indefensible. Although the reasons for making this argument are rarely spelled out, they revolve around the presumption that Russia not only enjoys local conventional superiority, but also that NATO cannot and often implicitly should not defend them and thereby make a Russian-launched war a protracted one.

    Few proponents of this argument bother to perform a true military analysis of the situation. While it is true that Moscow has enjoyed real superiority in the theater, NATO’s overwhelmingly superior capability if mobilized highlights the real problem with this argument. It either assumes or implicitly recommends a loss of will for NATO and a refusal to honor its commitment in the belief that Russia can quickly achieve a fait accompli that would render NATO counteraction ineffective or pointless, and would risk nuclear war. And of course, the latter alternative is simply unthinkable. Therefore we should simply give up the game.

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  • Nimmo Joins Public Radio International to Discuss the Baltic States, Trump, and Putin


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  • 10 Most Popular NATO Stories of 2016

    2016 was full of major developments in European security. Moscow’s campaign against the Western democracies went beyond the DNC hack and interference in the US elections.
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  • Latvia Heads Into 2017 Relying On Its Own Mettle—And NATO Metal

    'Channeling Brussels' with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs

    While the entire world carefully watches how 2017 unfolds, especially developments between the White House and the Kremlin, the Baltics are among those with the most finely-tuned binoculars.  Worst-case scenarios may be simply hypotheses for debate in other countries, but in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania they are part of daily geopolitical calculations as the Baltics navigate a very fine line of making sure their allies stay on high alert for Russian interference without portraying themselves as unduly alarmist or vulnerable.

    Having covered the Baltics in 1991 as they struggled against Soviet occupation and regained independence, I went back to Riga almost twenty-five years after the demise of the USSR to see the impact of this speculation that one of them may become the theater for “World War III.” Such a development is, according to the most pessimistic accounts, quite possibly nigh, with the election of the NATO-knocking Kremlin-admiring Donald Trump as the next president of the United States.

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  • Senators Reassure Wary Baltic Nations That U.S. Won’t Abandon NATO

    Three American senators arrived in Tallinn, Estonia on Tuesday to reassure the Baltic nations that the United States remained committed to their defense and to the NATO alliance.
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  • Nordenman Quoted by Agence France-Presse on US-Baltic Cooperation


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  • Grigas Quoted by Foreign Policy on Lithuania's Perspective on the Trump Administration


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  • The Transatlantic Relationship and the Future of US-Baltic Cooperation

    On December 7, 2016, as President-Elect Trump prepares to take office and European unity is challenged both within and beyond Europe’s borders, the Atlantic Council held a private roundtable and reception for a distinguished delegation of members of parliament from Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. This special session convened members of parliament from the Baltic region with Washington-based experts to discuss the transatlantic relationship and the future of US-Baltic cooperation.

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  • Is It Prudent or Paranoid to Worry about Russia’s Influence in the Baltics?

    Russia has been busy spreading its influence in Europe and Eurasia. Alexander J. Motyl worries that the Baltic states are “the most vulnerable to a complete [Russian] takeover,” and security expert Paul D. Miller predicts that World War III could break out in Latvia. Last month Lithuania issued a manual on what to do if Russia invades. These scenarios might sound far-fetched from well-appointed conference rooms in Washington, but in Eastern Europe, they do not.

    The security services of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have all sounded the alarm. According to Lithuania’s 2015 National Security Threat Assessment, Russia views the post-Soviet space as an “arena of geopolitical competition,” refuses to acknowledge their sovereignty, and has responded to greater tensions with the West by renewed efforts to influence its neighbors.

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  • Eastern Europe Must Prepare for the Worst about Trump

    President Barack Obama’s advice to the world that it shouldn’t “assume the worst” about Donald Trump may apply to countries whose existential interests cannot be threatened by the president-elect’s policies, but those that face a possible Russian invasion must assume and prepare for the worst.

    They cannot, as Obama recommended, “wait until the administration is in place” and then “make your judgments as to whether or not it’s consistent with the international community’s interest in living in peace and prosperity together.”

    Russian President Vladimir Putin’s tanks could be on the outskirts of Estonian capital Tallinn by then.

    No one knows what the Trump administration’s foreign policy will be. That said, his extreme disregard for the European Union, NATO, NAFTA, the WTO, and international law and his continual trumpeting of American interests suggest that, at best, he may be indifferent to Putin’s aggression in Eastern Europe or, at worst, he may even facilitate it by encouraging Russia to establish a sphere of influence.

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