PREVENTING ESCALATION in the BALTICS

By Kühn, Ulrich | Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - Reports, March 28, 2018 | Go to article overview

PREVENTING ESCALATION in the BALTICS


Kühn, Ulrich, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - Reports


A NATO PLAYBOOK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ULRICH KUHN is a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a senior research associate at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP)/James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, based in Vienna, Austria. Previously, he was a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow with Carnegie's Nuclear Policy Program, and a fellow with the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH). He holds a PhD (summa cum laude) in political sciences from Hamburg University, an MA in Peace Research and Security Policy from Hamburg University, and a Magister Artium in medieval and newer history as well as German literature from the Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms University Bonn. His current research focuses on NATORussian relations, transatlantic security, nuclear and conventional deterrence and arms control, and the proceedings of the OSCE.

Kühn worked for the German Federal Foreign Office and was awarded United Nations Fellow on Disarmament in 2011. He is the founder and a permanent member of the trilateral Deep Cuts Commission and an alumnus of the ZEIT Foundation Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius.

His articles and commentary have appeared in Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Washington Quarterly, and War on the Rocks.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

THE AUTHOR wishes to thank James Acton in the first place for his always insightful comments and continuous efforts to improve the quality of this report. In no order of the significance of their contributions, this report also benefited from the help of William Alberque, Samuel Brase, Samuel Charap, Toby Dalton, Ryan DeVries, Dave Johnson, Martin Zapfe, the anonymous Baltic and Polish officials and experts who were interviewed, and Carnegie's whole Nuclear Policy Program team. This research was conducted at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC, between September 2016 and September 2017.

Carnegie gratefully acknowledges the support of the Stanton Foundation that made the writing of this report possible.

LIST OF ACRONYMS

A2/AD Anti-access/area denial

BALTOPS Baltic Operations

CFE Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe

CSBMS Confidence- and security-building measures

DMA Agreement on the Prevention of Dangerous Military Activities

EFP Enhanced Forward Presence

ENRF Enhanced NATO Response Force

EU European Union

INCSEA Agreement on the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas

INF TREATY Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

NAC North Atlantic Council

NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization

NEW START New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty

NFIU NATO force integration units

NGW New-generation warfare

NPR U.S. Nuclear Posture Review

OSCE Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

SACEUR NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe

VJTF NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force

SUMMARY

AMID THE ROLLOUT of the February 2018 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, security analysts have understandably focused much attention on its implications for the U.S. nuclear arsenal, intra-alliance ties with key North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partners, and Washington's icy relations with Moscow. But nuclear deterrence only partially addresses NATO members' shared concerns about Russian behavior, especially in light of Moscow's growing propensity to undermine the alliance with nonkinetic operations and other tactics that nuclear warheads cannot easily deter.

The risk of escalation sparking a wider conflict-deliberately, inadvertently, or accidentally-between Russia and NATO is dangerously high. This is particularly the case in the Baltics, a region that would be difficult for NATO to defend because the military balance there very much favors Russia; moreover, Moscow could instigate unrest among the Russian minorities living there. …

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