NATO Policies in the Baltics: Objectives and Priorities
The authors employ geopolitical analysis to identify the core characteristics of NATO’s current policy towards the Baltic Sea region. After the demise of the Soviet Union, the region was considered as one of the safest in terms of military security. However, in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis, the region has witnessed a growing tension in relations between NATO and the Russian Federation. A comparative analysis of NATO’s official documents on the Baltics shows that the chief pretext for increased military presence in the region is the alleged need to defend the Baltic states from the Russian threat. Special attention is paid to the attempts of Western military strategists to encourage the neutral Nordic states — Sweden and Finland — to accede to NATO. This would lead to the organisation’s northern enlargement. The current situation suggests that to ease tension in the Baltic Sea region Russia has not only to respond adequately to emerging military threats but also to launch an awareness campaign to explain its position and dispel the myth about Russia preparing to start a hybrid war against the Baltic States.