Security expert in Munich: NATO deterrence necessary

Members of the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS), a leading Estonian foreign policy, security and defense issues think tank, took part in the Munich Security Conference over the weekend, including in a panel discussion presenting a recent study on the impact of NATO deterrence in the Baltic region, according to a report on current affairs show “Aktuaalne kaamera” Sunday night.

The original study states that while NATO’s sole purpose is to preserve peace and prevent conflict, the same is not the case for the Russian Federation, according to the report.

“NATO’s sole purpose is to preserve peace, that is, to avoid military conflict … especially here [in the Baltic region], because the geography of the Baltic States is as it is, and is very attractive to Russia,” said Kalev Stoicescu, Research Fellow at the ICDS.

“On the other hand, Russia may not follow the same principle of avoiding conflict at any cost,” Stoicescu continued, noting that the same principles applied to potential conflicts elsewhere in the world.

When asked if this meant that the danger of conflict was high, Stoicescu replied that the danger was not great, but nonetheless existed.

“The danger is small inasmuch as we deal with day-to-day deterrents. There was also quite interesting issue that if, for example, the Baltic States and Poland, all new NATO members that joined in 2004 or 1999, could have been left in the cold, whatever that meant. That would have essentially been an invitation to Russia to take action,” he said.

“When events om Ukraine began to unfold in March 2014, remember that in April that year, an American [military] company was flown to the Baltic States and Poland at the request of those countries, as an encouragement and, to some extent, deterrence, although one company is not that much of a deterrent, the U.S. flag was certainly clear and present,” he went on.

“The decisions to deploy an Allied presence, a more respectable presence were only made in Warsaw in 2016. This was preceded by lengthy discussions. It was not so automatic and so many members quite legitimately asked whether we were better with or without an allied presence. [However] In the Baltic States and Poland, it was quite clear that there was a need to be present at all times, so as not to encourage Russia, to not let our countries become secondary and unprotected and so on,” he added.

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