Baltic Echoes of the NATO Warsaw Summit
In the Baltics, the NATO Warsaw Summit is viewed as a momentous event, marking a shift to a deterrent stance vis-à-vis Russia with the decision to deploy the four multinational battalions to Eastern Europe. This article contributes two new perspectives to the analytical voices discussing the key implications of the Summit. First, it reflects on and contextualizes the narratives and popular perceptions of the Summit in the Baltics that may not be immediately obvious to outside observers. Second, it highlights the views from the Warsaw Summit Experts’ Forum – a high-level Summit sideline event that considered the key agenda items in a less politically charged environment.
The multinational battalions have received disproportionate attention in the Baltic media. The boost to missions in Afghanistan and Iraq and greater consideration for cyber offensive measures were also discussed in passing. Meanwhile, the significance and implications of NATO-EU cooperation has been almost entirely lost on local audiences, and the return of nuclear issues to the table has hardly been mentioned. Perhaps most importantly, the Baltics seem to be missing out on NATO plans to address the underlying socio-economic causes of instability and insecurity that are of immediate concern to the Southern flank, but ultimately are also at the core of the alliance’s future direction.