Editorial: the art of reading reports restfully

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Photo: Urmas Nemvalts

Of the report of the US think-tank Rand Corporation the slogan-like idea stood out that Russia may take Baltics by blitzkrieg if it so desires. Let such reports be read with an attitude of rest, though – carefully and thoughtfully while not overly dramatizing the details regarding conclusions drawn.

While the RAND report doe underline certain issues and even weaknesses in our national defence, let us not forget it is the analysis by but one think-tank and not exhaustive not encompassing the entire topic in all of its angles and details.

If would definitely be a mistake to generalise as if NATO would be helpless politically and administratively, and to emphasise the 60 hours it would hypothetically take the eastern neighbour to march thru. The report also features a detailed coverage of the strategic importance of Kaliningrad. Possibly, the enclave could cut off allied transit corridors. Meanwhile, let us not forget the enclave is vulnerable as such.

Always, the glass can be seen as half empty or half full. Viewing the West as strategic opponent, Russia would redistribute the international security cards – based on valued befitting it, of course. As expressed in trying to keep Ukraine unstable, attempts to split members of EU and NATO, intensified activity in Syria as resulting in a felt alleviation of the anti-Russia stand clearly felt at the Munich security conference.

The latter speaks of Russia’s success in playing itself back to the international table, and understandably the Kremlin also wishes to reach the annulling of sanctions without any requirements as to Ukraine issue.

On the other hand, US president Barack Obama recently unveiled a plan to boost defence spending in Europe, as increased amounts of heavy armament would be placed in Central and Eastern Europe. The Rand Corporation report may also be treated as support to the plan. On top of that, this summer NATO is having its Warsaw summit and to prepare for that materials are needed as basis.

Definitely, the analysis by the think-tank should be seen as a reminder that security begins with homework. While Estonia has spent 2 percent of GDP on defence, our neighbours and several partners have not. Estonia had planned boosting its armoured capacity. Among the many things taught us by the exercise Hedgehog last summer, we learned that the mobilisation capacity of our military is rather remarkable.   

There’s two sides to every coin and in the bigger picture our position isn’t as bad as it sometimes seems (especially to ourselves).


Cartoon: «Bomb dropping!» «Easy, it's but a report!»