Russia invades the Baltic States - then what?
February 19, 2015 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Looking for incisive, detailed and realistic analysis of what may happen if Russia invades the Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia and/or Lithuania. While this is suggested as a possibility, I can't find quality analysis of what happens - or is likely to happen - in this scenario.

Looking for:
- analysis by a person or organization who are competent, credible
- calm and detailed
- considering the NATO response, world response, likely military play-out
- considering the possibility of escalation e.g. conflict beyond the Baltic states
- free i.e. not behind a paywall

Not looking for:
- biased to a level which compromises the analysis
- chat / discussion (I can however just ignore comments attached to a quality piece)
- hysterical / ranting / scaremongering
- video blog or podcast analysis; just looking for detailed text
posted by Wordshore to Law & Government (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I recommend the latest edition of "A Quick and Dirty Guide to War". It covers the whole world, but it's divided into sections representing different areas where conflict could be or is happening, along with incisive analysis of each scenario.

Jim Dunnigan is really outstanding at this kind of stuff.

If you want something online, try StrategyPage.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:41 PM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Maybe not specific enough, but many of your criteria are met by the discussion on the group blog War on the Rocks, e.g. Defeating Putin's strategy of ambiguity, which lays out a generic template for the Russian approach. The blog is not ideological although it is biased in favor of Western/US/NATO thinking about security. But it's open about those biases and doesn't rant or rave.

Poking around, I found What if Russia attacked the Baltics? which references a study by the Swedish Military Academy, but alas, the original reporting seems to have been in Estonian. If public, it would probably be an interesting document to get hold of.
posted by dhartung at 10:15 PM on February 19, 2015

You might wish to read Gwynne Dyer's two pieces on the situation in the Ukraine. He has a web page and writes columns on world events especially political and military situations. The first article is one was written before the rioting in the capital caused the government to fall. The more recent one discusses his belief that both the outside powers the Europe Union-US and the Russian sides are in a situation they didn't mean to trigger and don't know what to do with.

While this does not directly answer your questions about the possibility of what would happen if the three Baltic nations were to be annexed it might provide you with a perspective on how committed the two groups are in the competition for power in Europe.

Dwyer is an insightful military history who can offer a relatively unbiased view. However he does not fully take into account how corporate interests have power comparative to political entities and how that can lead to conflict (Cheyney - Halliburton et al.) nor the way that conflict can occur because leaders do not have full authority over their instruments and agents.

Even the best analysis is only going to be conjecture and not able to readily predict the juggernaut effect of hostility and competition between groups. There were few political analysts who would have predicted that two shots fired in Sarajevo would precipitate the First World War, nor that one street vendor setting fire to himself in a public place would trigger the Arab Spring. That said, a comparison of the GNP of Russia compared to the GNP of the European Union or the comparison of other statistics and benchmarks could give you insight into the balance of power.
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:41 AM on February 20, 2015

Best answer: This may or may not be the Swedish Military study that the article mentioned by dhartung refers to: Swedish military solidarity around the Baltic Sea: Three scenarios [HTML web cached version] [PDF download]. Obviously it's focused on the Swedish response in particular, but it includes assumptions about NATO behavior in different scenarios.

You might want to do some searching about the Eagle Guardian plan. This was NATO's plan drawn up in 2010 to defend Poland and the Baltics from a Russian attack. Secret documents mentioning it's existence were leaked by WikiLeaks and obviously pissed off Russia. I don't know how many specific military details of the actual plan were leaked though. And obviously plans would have changed by now. But it can serve as some kind of basis for assumptions about NATO's likely reactions.
posted by Kabanos at 8:55 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

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