The Coming Storm

100615-M-0884D-033
LOSKA, Estonia (June 15, 2010) Estonian soldiers wade ashore during a combined U.S. and Estonia amphibious assault training exercise during Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2010. BALTOPS is an annual exercise to improve interoperability and cooperation among regional allies by conducting realistic training with the 12 participating nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Rocco DeFilippis/Released)
100615-M-0884D-033 LOSKA, Estonia (June 15, 2010) Estonian soldiers wade ashore during a combined U.S. and Estonia amphibious assault training exercise during Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2010. BALTOPS is an annual exercise to improve interoperability and cooperation among regional allies by conducting realistic training with the 12 participating nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Rocco DeFilippis/Released)

Baltic Sea Security

Today the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) releases its ground-breaking report on Baltic security: The Coming Storm. Authored by CEPA Senior Vice President Edward Lucas, the report marks the first phase of CEPA new Baltic Sea Security Program.

The central finding of the Coming Storm report is that the nine “front-line states” – the Nordic five (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), the Baltic three (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and Poland – need to end their “strategic incoherence” in the face of a multi-pronged and sustained military, propaganda and espionage offensive from Russia. Though these countries – which the report calls the NBP9 – have a combined GDP one-third greater than Russia’s, their generally weak defense spending and poor coordination makes them highly vulnerable to Russian threats.

The report plots the growth of Russia’s revisionist regional agenda since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and explains how division between the seven NATO countries and non-NATO Sweden and Finland intensify the region’s vulnerabilities. It concludes with a ten-point road-map for increased security cooperation.

Geography makes the defense of NATO’s most vulnerable members, the Baltic states, difficult, even impossible, without the full cooperation of non-NATO Sweden and Finland, the report notes. For their part, NATO countries in the region are nervous about military cooperation with non-NATO countries. As both Sweden and Finland are strong U.S. allies, American leadership can overcome this, the report argues.

June 30, 2015