February 13, 2020

ICDS in Munich: Is the Allied Military Presence in the Baltics Deterrence or Provocation?

The International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) will host a side event on 14 February at the Munich Security Conference, to explore with opinion leaders and policymakers whether the presence of Allied forces in the Baltic states is deterrence, reinforcing the security of the whole of NATO, or needless provocation.

Latvian President Egils Levits, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda, former NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning Heinrich Brauss and former Commander of US Army Europe Ben Hodges will lead the discussion.

The event will also see the formal launch ICDS’s latest policy paper, Capability and Resolve: Deterrence, Security and Stability in the Baltic Region. Authored by Heinrich Brauss and ICDS Research Fellows Kalev Stoicescu and Tony Lawrence, the paper assesses the credibility of NATO’s deterrence and defence posture in the Baltic region. Click here to download and read the policy paper.

Since 2014, NATO has taken steps to reinforce deterrence in the Baltic region not only to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, but also to enhance the security of all Allies. Russia, meanwhile, has continued to modernise and build up its military forces, to rehearse large-scale war with NATO, and to violate international arms control agreements.

The authors of the policy paper outline how Moscow’s regional military superiority and new ground-based dual-capable cruise missiles threaten stability in Europe and demand a resolute response from NATO and the Allies. The paper concludes with recommendations on how to enhance deterrence against Russia.

“Credible and effective deterrence is not free. The lack of it may be immeasurably more expensive though,” says Sven Sakkov, Director of the ICDS, emphasising the need for a stronger US military presence in the Baltic states.

Over the course of the past five decades, the Munich Security Conference has developed into one of the world’s leading forums for debate on international security policy. It brings together heads of state and government, ministers of defence and foreign affairs, and numerous representatives of major international organisations and leading think-tanks from all over the world. Find out more on the Munich Security Conference’s website.

For the second time, the ICDS will host a side event on the security of the Baltic states at the Munich Security Conference. At last year’s event, the ICDS explored how to defend the Baltic states.

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