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The Daily Vertical: Whose Baltic Stability? (Transcript)


The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

The more Finland and Sweden cooperate with NATO, the more the security equation in the Baltic region changes.

Specifically, the more Finland and Sweden cooperate with NATO, the more defensible the Baltic states become in the face of potential Russian aggression.

And since Russia's annexation of Crimea and invasion of the Donbas put the the West on high alert three years ago, Finland and Sweden have been cooperating with NATO at unprecedented levels.

And this, of course, hasn't escaped the Kremlin's notice.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sent a not-so-subtle message this week, saying that the nonaligned status of Finland and Sweden was vital to the "stability of the Baltic region and Europe in general."

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Well, I guess that would depend on what your definition of stability is.

And, as usual, a bit of translation is required to understand exactly what Lavrov means here.

Because in Moscow-speak, the "stability of the Baltic region" means the insecurity of the Baltic states.

In Moscow-speak, the "stability of the Baltic region" means the Baltic states remaining vulnerable and easily isolated from their NATO allies.

In Moscow-speak, the "stability of the Baltic region" means Russia's continued ability to harass and threaten Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

But for the Estonians, the Latvians, and the Lithuanians, of course, stability means something else entirely.

It means that their security and their sovereignty are protected.

So from the vantage points of Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius, the stability of the Baltic region -- and that of Europe in general -- is only enhanced by Sweden and Finland cooperating as closely as possible with NATO.

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