Baltic Sea Region - In Need of a More Total Defense   [open pdf - 4MB]

"This is a paper about the security situation in the Baltic Sea region. Its thesis is that when it comes to the security situation there, the Western responses to Russia´s actions can be characterized as too little, too slow. Further actions are suggested, here framed as Total Defense, including more resilient Psychological Defense, recognizing the threat and defending against it with civilian cyber security capabilities as well as quick, reliable, transparent information, and education in source reliability. Furthermore, a strengthened Economic Defense is needed, where especially the European dissonance in energy policy must be addressed, as well as an improved Civil Defense considering basic needs and protection of the people in times of crisis. Resilient people in trustful societies are needed to effectively resist cross-domain coercion. A stronger Military Defense is also needed, where all allies and partners live up to the two percent commitment, and with substantial multinational presence in Eastern Europe. There the force structures also should shift focus from the last decade´s expeditionary mindset, and larger conscript forces are advocated. This Total Defense should be applied within a comprehensive approach, both nationally and in close international cooperation. NATO and the EU are both essential in this effort. Future policies should be aimed at comprehensive deterrence and denial, without escalation or cornering Russia. That country today is too interwoven into the global system to be contained or isolated in a Cold War style. Challenges for the West, besides sticking together, are to formulate policies that do not primarily aim at turning Russia into a country the West would like to see, but enabling both to coexist, recognizing the differences and the interdependency, laying down red lines for Russian behavior that include the Baltic Sea region. The Baltics constitutes NATO's first military line of defense; but politically, it might also be the last."

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