With the recent further posturing of Vladimir Putin’s Russian Army, and the election of Donald J. Trump to the highest office in the United States this past month, things are starting to get a little tenser across the Baltic region.
The election of Trump, who stated from day one of his long fought campaign against Democratic challenger Hillary Rodham Clinton, that he has serious issues with the way that NATO is being managed and that he would consider dismantling the union if member countries did not, in his opinion, pay their fair share has caused nervousness in the region.
With this coming on the heels of the decision by Putin and the Politboro to place nuclear capable Iskander Missiles in coastal city of Kaliningrad, which is located on the Baltic doorstep, it has understandably caused much consternation in the region and in Poland in particular.
The Russian had also held several military “exercises” in the region in the past months as well, seemingly to test their strength in the area and certainly as a show of force to the former Soviet Republic states that make up the region.
Polish leaders in particular have expressed public concerns that they feel uncomfortable with all the activities and that despite being protected by the NATO alliance, an alliance that says that member countries are formally mandated to protect other member countries from hostile activities of other nation states, they still feel exceptionally vulnerable.
The rhetoric spewed by Trump with regard to NATO has certainly not made any of the smaller and more vulnerable NATO countries feel any safer, and many feel that the apprehension felt by Poland and the other Baltic states is not irrational given the current geopolitical climate.
While the states in question certainly hope that cooler heads prevail, they have made strides to up their financial commitments to their own military forces to the mandated 2% of GDP in an effort to both appease the incoming American President and also further their own capabilities.