Central Europe’s geopolitical profile has changed significantly over the past 30 years, most noticeably as its frontier shifts eastward. During the Cold War, the Warsaw Pact occupied most of the eastern and southern coasts, closing the Baltic Sea to Western powers, while Denmark and Norway constituted the northwestern flank. Today, Russia holds just seven percent of the Baltic coastline, with its maritime stance stretched between the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland and an isolated enclave in Kaliningrad. With enlarged alliances, the north should be considered as two sub-theaters—Arctic and Baltic—because although very interconnected, the Scandinavian Peninsula acts as a shield covering both the Kola Peninsula and the Baltic Sea.1
Solve the Baltic's Geography Problem
The Dutch minehunter HNLMS Willemstad (M-864) transits in formation during maneuvering exercises with Standing NATO MCM Group 1 and Estonian Navy ships, all participating in international exercises with allied nations in the region.
By Lieutenant Commander Ott Laanemets, Estonian Navy
With Putin’s Russia on the near horizon, Baltic countries must organize in anticipation of a threat. But the area’s complex geography creates a challenge beyond the Great Bear.