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Research Report

FRONTLINE ALLIES:: WAR AND CHANGE IN CENTRAL EUROPE

Copyright Date: Nov. 1, 2015
Pages: 140
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep06281

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. None)
  2. (pp. None)
  3. (pp. 1-14)

    War alters the behavior of states. If geopolitics is the quest for the survival of the state, then war is the tutorial that teaches states what tools they must acquire in order to survive. War rearranges the priorities of states, casting a harsh light on the utility of arrangements developed during the preceding peace. Old diplomatic alignments may suddenly seem inadequate or misbegotten; new or deeper alliances may seem urgently needful. More dramatically, the return of war to a theater that was blessed by peace for a prolonged period of time clarifies and crystallizes the military needs of the state...

  4. (pp. 15-24)
    Edward Lucas

    Europe’s new frontline states are the Nordic five (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), the Baltic three (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), plus Poland. Six of the NBP9 border Russia. But all nine are exposed to the Kremlin’s provocations and intimidation, which breach the conventions governing civilized behavior among neighbors and, in some cases, international law. These include aggressive espionage; targeted corruption; propaganda onslaughts; cyber-attacks; exploitation of ethnic and regional tensions; economic sanctions; coercive use of Soviet-era energy links; aggressive “snap” military exercises where the scenario involves attack, isolation or occupation (including the use of nuclear weapons); provocations in airspace, at...

  5. (pp. 25-32)
    Marcin Zaborowski

    The war in Ukraine has put Poland back into its geopolitical dilemma of a state placed in an unstable security environment. Poland’s sovereign statehood, built around the principle of rejoining the West, may be directly threatened as the result of Russia’s current offensive and the spread of its hybrid warfare to the Baltic states.

    This essentially means that Poland is again becoming a frontline state, which certainly narrows its diplomatic options although its relative importance for the West could grow. As Russia’s military buildup in the Kaliningrad region and aggressive exercises foreseeing nuclear attack on Warsaw are intensifying, it is...

  6. (pp. 33-42)
    Jiří Schneider

    Russia’s recent, more assertive posture against the West and its aggression against Ukraine made differences between the policies, statements and actions by Poland and other countries of the Visegrád Group (V4) – the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia – more visible. Do different threat perceptions pose a key problem or are they just temporary? What are their causes: is it history, geography, incidental business interests or more structural factors?

    This paper analyzes how significant these differences are and to what extent they predispose or predetermine a less coherent security posture from the V4 states in the future. How determined a...

  7. (pp. 43-56)
    Pauli Järvenpää

    With Russia’s use of force first in Crimea in winter 2014 and then later in eastern Ukraine, the term “hybrid warfare” has entered the current military lexicon – or rather re-entered it, since the concept itself offers nothing particularly new. In fact, the substance of the term is age-old and combines, inter alia, military, economic, political, propagandistic and even cultural activities to achieve political objectives, preferably short of war or with the use of physical violence, if need be.¹

    What has appeared to come as news to most analysts is that military force, be it hybrid or traditional, is still...

  8. (pp. 57-64)
    Thomas G. Mahnken

    Both in Europe and in Asia, today small states face coercion at the hands of their larger and more powerful neighbors. Russia used force against Georgia in 2008, has been using force against Ukraine since 2014, and could prospectively use force against a number of its other neighbors. China, for its part, has used a variety of coercive techniques in its territorial disputes with its neighbors. One common feature of these situations is an explicit effort by the coercing state to stay below the threshold of a military response and outside military intervention. As a result, small states have largely...

  9. (pp. 65-76)
    Andrzej Dybczyński

    The purpose of this paper is to analyze how Poland can deter Russia. Behind this question there are two fundamental assumptions, which are not acceptable by default:

    1) Twenty-five years after winning back its independence, and 16 years after joining NATO, Poland needs – and needs urgently – to create a more self-contained security policy.

    2) It is possible for Poland to deter Russia.

    Since both assumptions are far from being acceptable by default, their presentation must be the element of the overall analysis.

    Poland faced no major or minor security threats for 20 years after the democratic transition of...

  10. (pp. 77-86)
    Ian J. Brzezinski

    Over the last decade, Russia’s assertive military presence in the Baltic Sea has transformed it into a contested domain. Moscow’s aggressive maritime and air operations in the Baltic Sea underscore how this body of water is a seam in the security architecture of Europe, one that separates the nonaligned countries of northeastern Europe from the NATO allies of north-central Europe.

    The establishment of a Baltic Security Pillar comprising enhanced maritime, air defense and air force collaboration between Poland and Sweden would effectively address this seam. The inclusion of a limited U.S. dimension in such initiatives would not only significantly strengthen...

  11. (pp. 87-102)
    Elbridge A. Colby

    Conflict involving Russia has become materially more plausible in Eastern Europe in recent years.¹ Coupled with Russia’s increased focus on manipulating its large and diversified nuclear forces for strategic advantage, this is increasing the salience of nuclear weapons in the region. This set of developments presents a significant challenge for the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, neither of which currently appears adequately prepared or postured to respond effectively and appropriately to a conflict with Moscow, especially one involving nuclear weapons. The United States and NATO should therefore take steps to rectify this problem by adapting their strategic...

  12. (pp. 103-110)
    Christopher S. Chivvis

    After the Cold War, the key assumption underlying U.S. defense planning in Europe was that Europe had entered a period of long-lasting peace and that the catastrophic wars the continent had suffered in the twentieth century were a thing of the past. Europe had entered a post-Westphalian era in which international law, the institutions of the European Union, and norms about the use of force made major war obsolete.

    Sadly, these assumptions no longer appear to hold. Europe now faces a daunting array of challenges that together are forcing a thorough rethink of U.S. regional defense strategy and Europe’s role...

  13. (pp. 111-118)
    Jakub J. Grygiel

    Central and Northern Europe cannot rely on the U.S. or NATO alone to maintain deterrence in the region. The nature of the Russian threat combined with the curtailed and distracted military might of the U.S. puts a premium on local capabilities. Deterrence needs to be built on local defenses; the guarantees and the solidarity of the alliance remains indispensable but it is not sufficient

    In particular, this chapter argues that states in Central and Northern Europe have to develop their own capabilities and doctrines that, while anchored in the wider alliance, must be able to inflict clear and immediate costs...

  14. (pp. 119-128)
    A. Wess Mitchell

    U.S. security policy in North Central Europe is based on deterrence by punishment. As in the rest of its global alliance network, American extended deterrence in this region functions on the premise that the United States will be able to defeat the local challenger through devastating counter-attacks. As for U.S. allies in Asia Pacific and the Persian Gulf, the credibility of American guarantees to Poland and the Baltic States has rested on the wide supremacy of U.S. military power—not only its large strategic nuclear arsenal but the “overmatch” that its U.S. conventional capabilities have been thought to provide in...

  15. (pp. 129-133)

    The goal of U.S. policy should be not to remove the fear of CEE allies but to channel it toward renewed interest in and commitment to traditional security concerns. The ultimate objective is to restore strategic stability and consolidate the Western security order in the region. While this has political as well as military dimensions, the underlying problem is military: Russia’s ability to control escalation in a regional conflict—specifically, through the combination of limited wars, preponderance in local military balances and an escalatory tactical nuclear doctrine. This combination enables Russia to control the terms of military competition in the...

  16. (pp. 134-137)