06.12.2017 | War in Peacetime. Russia’s Strategy on NATO’s Eastern and Southern Flanks
Nicolás De Pedro, Research Fellow, CIDOB, Francis Ghilès, Associate Senior Researcher, CIDOB - CIDOB
NATO and the EU are facing an increasingly uncertain and complex situation with overlapping crises on their eastern and southern borders. The increasingly aggressive military posture of the Kremlin represents one of the main challenges for NATO and the EU. Russia is showing willingness to compete strategically and to confront the two organisations directly, right now, both in their common neighbourhood and on the ideological and political level in their respective domestic contexts. NATO and the EU, meanwhile, are still only in the process of trying to build a sound strategy to deal with this multidimensional political warfare.
When it comes to the Eastern and Southern flanks, NATO has, to date, favoured an approach which analyses the threats separately. Issues and interests are, however, increasingly cross-linked, if not intertwined. Yet NATO members have different perceptions, interests and therefore agendas which are linked to history and economics, possession or not of effective armies and energy dependence, and these differences risk seriously fragmenting NATO’s analysis. The context of both flanks could not be more different. In the East, the lines of confrontation are clear. Russian behaviour has restored deterrence and collective defence as the Alliance’s core purposes. Defining a clear strategy to counter hybrid warfare has begun, though it remains very much a work in progress. In the Mediterranean, however, NATO has yet to define an overarching structure to deal with the complex challenges the region presents, notably those related to governance issues and the strengthening of existing states.
This joint monograph by CIDOB and The Institute for Statecraft attempts to shed more light on these seriously complex issues and to suggest ways forward.
The report is available at