U.S. Perspectives on Nord Stream 2

By Matthew Thomas in Policy

April 3, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden has claimed that Nord Stream 2, the controversial Russo-German pipeline project, is a “bad deal for Europe” and has stated his administration’s opposition to the project. At face value, that would appear to be a rare continuity with the previous administration, but a deeper dive into the various perspectives in Washington reveals a much more complicated position. Despite spoken commitments to the bipartisan sanctions regime instituted by the Trump administration, it appears that the Biden administration is ready to wash its hands of the issue and move on.

A Contrarian View of Joe Biden and NATO

By Matthew Thomas in Policy

February 27, 2021

In the world of analysis, contrarian viewpoints are equally disliked and necessary. They help shape a more robust understanding of the situation at hand and can prepare countries for the otherwise unexpected. As much of Europe celebrates Joe Biden taking the helm in the United States after the much despised Trump administration, it is worthwhile to take a step back and question whether or not that enthusiasm is really merited. As such, this paper puts forth an unabashedly contrarian viewpoint for the sake of an enriched understanding of the world as it may be going forward, lest the Baltics be caught off guard in the broader optimism of their European counterparts.

Ukraine-Baltic Energy Cooperation in the Context of Russian Hybrid Aggression

By Iryna Zaporizka in Policy

January 21, 2021

This article provided by our Ukrainian partners, Ad Astra Despite being different in so many aspects, Ukraine and the Baltic states have always had a lot of things in common, the main one being a troublesome neighbor on the eastern border that we all have to deal with. The dissolution of the Soviet Union opened a new era in Russian foreign policy towards the territories that are or were once perceived as a part of the sphere of influence of the former geopolitical empire.

U.S.-Poland Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and Why It Matters

By Matthew Thomas in Policy

December 23, 2020

On November 9, 2020, 31 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the Polish Senate’s ratification bill of the U.S.-Polish Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). This agreement contains a number of provisions that will facilitate greater defense cooperation between the United States and Poland and improve deterrence and battle readiness for NATO along the alliance’s Eastern Flank. For the Baltics, this ratification is welcome news, as it not only improves the regional deterrent posture, but also a number of crucial conditions in Poland to enable more rapid and effective defense in the event of Russian aggression on their territory.

Baltic Sea Security Conference 2020

By BSF Team in Conferences

November 3, 2020

Baltic Sea Security Conference to deal with fragmented security approaches Baltic Sea Security Conference will take place on December 3rd in Helsinki, Finland as well as online. The conference concludes the Baltic Sea Security Initiative, involving workshops, lectures and seminars on the regional aspects of military, societal, economic and cyber security. The initiative joined 150 participants, including Baltic experts from Europe, United States and Japan. The experts of the initiative will share their conclusions with top-level guest speakers from public and private sectors over several panel discussions.

Much Ado About Something: 2% Defense Expenditures and What Really Matters

By Matthew Thomas in Policy

October 30, 2020

In 2014, NATO member states agreed to target defense expenditures of two percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2024. After this commitment, and following Russian aggression in Ukraine, NATO turned the corner on its declining defense expenditures. Facing a new challenge in a revisionist Russia, many allies to the east felt a new sense of urgency about funding their defense, aiming to build a credible deterrent against aggression on their own territory.

As Belarus Descends into Turmoil, the West Should Bolster its Readiness

By Matthew Thomas in Policy

September 30, 2020

Belarus seldom registers in the international press during normal times, but while years like 2020 are not so unprecedented, this certainly is not a normal year. Since President Aleksandr Lukashenko was declared the winner of the fraudulent presidential elections on August 9, the country has spiraled into civil unrest and authoritarian repression, and the headlines keep coming like a stampede. While no one was surprised by the announced outcome of the election, most analysts would not have predicted that Belarus would be launched headlong into a persistent crisis.

Trust, but Deter: How to Ensure Security Despite Russian Treaty Violations

By Matthew Thomas in Security

August 27, 2020

In August, Latvia marked the 100th anniversary of the Latvian-Soviet Peace Treaty, otherwise known as the Treaty of Rīga, which ended Latvia’s War for Independence and marked the beginning of the interwar period for the new Latvian Republic. The treaty established Latvia’s sovereignty and Soviet Russia recognized Latvia’s independence as “inviolable” for all time. But the Soviet Union did not honor this treaty, nor its treaties with Estonia and Lithuania. Between these treaties and other, more modern treaties such as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, we can see that Russia only abides by the treaties it signs for as long as it is convenient, then breaks them when it seems it can get away with doing so.

The Future of Belarus?

By Andreis Purim in Policy

August 12, 2020

The Belarusian elections occurred last Sunday, August 9th, and pitted incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko against political outsider Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. For what was supposed to be another easy campaign in Lukashenko’s winning streak, the protests leading up, and following the elections have sparked internal turmoil in Belarus. The Belarusian government now faces its biggest crisis in 26 years, as protests and police violence sweep the capital and the opposition increases their demands.

Moving the Front Lines: Could Recent Moves in Europe Signal an Adjustment of U.S. Focus Eastward?

By Matthew Thomas in Policy

July 31, 2020

In June the Trump administration announced its decision to pull 9,500 U.S. troops from Germany. The move was lambasted by those on the left and right alike, and indeed, at face value, it appeared counterintuitive. Any return to the Obama and Bush-era troop drawdown in Europe would be foolish facing a revisionist Russia. But if there is anything the keen and impartial observer should know by now about this administration, it is that it keeps its cards close to the chest, absorbing the criticism that inevitably comes and only revealing its end game down the line.