NATO Enlargement and the Baltic States: What Can the Great Powers Do?

  • November 01, 1997
  • Dr Stephen J Blank

NATO's enlargement has brought it to the borders of the Baltic states who covet membership in NATO. However, admitting them into NATO is one of the most difficult problems for the Alliance because of Russia's unconditional opposition to such action and because of NATO's own internal divisions on this issue. Nonetheless, a new regime or system of security for the entire Baltic region must now be on the U.S. and European agenda. The key players in such a process are Russia, Germany, and the United States. Their actions will determine the limits of the possible in constructing Baltic security for the foreseeable future. Dr. Stephen Blank presents a detailed and extensive analysis of these three governments' views on Baltic and European security. Their views on regional security are materially shaped by and influence their larger views on their mutual relations and policy towards Europe. Their views also demonstrate the complexity of the issues involved in constructing Baltic, not to mention European, security. But because NATO enlargement is the most serious foreign policy and defense issue before Congress now, such an analysis can illuminate much of what is happening in the NATO enlargement process and why it has taken its current shape.