Event Title

Gunshots Just Outside Your Window Are Not the End of the World

Faculty Mentor

Michael Lipscomb, Ph.D., and Stephen Smith, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Political Science

Location

West Center, Room 221

Start Date

21-4-2017 3:30 PM

Description

One of the most pressing questions in current International Relations is: Can the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and their touted but untested Collective Defense clause protect the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – from a Russian invasion? This question affects not only the millions of people living in these three countries, but also those in over a dozen other former Soviet states. This paper introduces the theoretical lens of International Relations Realism to address this question, and explains why it is the most appropriate and direct way to study the issues in the Baltics. It then describes how the Baltic States’ geographic proximity to Russia and their significant minority populations of ethnic Russians make them both appealing and vulnerable to Russia, as well as what the West has done to provoke Russia. Even if NATO is capable and willing to defend the Baltics, forces would not be able to mobilize for at least 48 hours; therefore, Estonia and Latvia have already set up preemptive defense strategies based on the Swiss government’s system during the Cold War. After explaining the measures in place in the Baltic States, the paper explains how NATO creates their forces and where they get their funding, and distinguishes reality from propaganda by identifying what belongs to NATO and what belongs to the United States. It then compares the power of NATO to that of Russia regarding armored units, and addresses the Baltic States’ lack of infrastructure to support the fundamental armored units to defend them from invasion. The paper argues that NATO lacks the financial and military capacity to defend the Baltic States from their Russian aggressors with internal reforms alone. While an amended budget and an increase in NATO forces are essential to Baltic defense, the Baltics must supplement such reforms with an increase in their own military presence.

Course Assignment

PLSC 490 – Lipscomb, Smith

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Apr 21st, 3:30 PM

Gunshots Just Outside Your Window Are Not the End of the World

West Center, Room 221

One of the most pressing questions in current International Relations is: Can the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and their touted but untested Collective Defense clause protect the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – from a Russian invasion? This question affects not only the millions of people living in these three countries, but also those in over a dozen other former Soviet states. This paper introduces the theoretical lens of International Relations Realism to address this question, and explains why it is the most appropriate and direct way to study the issues in the Baltics. It then describes how the Baltic States’ geographic proximity to Russia and their significant minority populations of ethnic Russians make them both appealing and vulnerable to Russia, as well as what the West has done to provoke Russia. Even if NATO is capable and willing to defend the Baltics, forces would not be able to mobilize for at least 48 hours; therefore, Estonia and Latvia have already set up preemptive defense strategies based on the Swiss government’s system during the Cold War. After explaining the measures in place in the Baltic States, the paper explains how NATO creates their forces and where they get their funding, and distinguishes reality from propaganda by identifying what belongs to NATO and what belongs to the United States. It then compares the power of NATO to that of Russia regarding armored units, and addresses the Baltic States’ lack of infrastructure to support the fundamental armored units to defend them from invasion. The paper argues that NATO lacks the financial and military capacity to defend the Baltic States from their Russian aggressors with internal reforms alone. While an amended budget and an increase in NATO forces are essential to Baltic defense, the Baltics must supplement such reforms with an increase in their own military presence.