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Comeback of Deterrence – An Austrian Review of BALTDEFCOL Conference 2018

In Blog, Conference Review, English by Christoph BilbanLeave a Comment

The fourth annual Baltic Defence College conference on Russia took place in Tartu, Estonia from March 8th to 9th. While a lot of the talks were on topics well covered in recent literature and commentaries, there were some strikingly new points as well. For an “outsider” from the peaceful heart of Europe – Austria – the rhetoric encountered on the panels as well as during the breaks, seemed rather belligerent. However, the threat to the Baltic states is real, but not likely. Hence deterrence is the name of the game now for the Baltic armed forces as well as for NATO. Since the NATO summit in Wales in 2014 the term “deterrence” experienced a revival in official documents and statements. While deterrence is seen as the way to mitigate the security risks posed by Russia to this region., RAND Corp in a recent study pointed out that NATO is vastly outgunned on its eastern flank. With just four battlegroups of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence permanently present in the area, force levels prevent a credible deterrence by denial. Nowadays, the EFP’s role is thus akin to a tripwire put in place to trigger Article 5. It was noteworthy then that conference …