Russia’s aggressive actions in the vicinity of the borders of the Baltic states have stirred the discussion on the Comprehensive defense concept. This concept is based on whole-of-government and whole-of-society involvement in resistance against occupying power. This article examines the role of the armed forces in the resistance movement from a small state perspective. To define the role of the armed forces, this article scrutinizes the historical experience of the Latvian Forest Brothers and the traditional development phases of the resistance movement. The article argues that the armed forces must form the backbone of the armed resistance, which integrates the other security forces and the civilian population into the national level resistance movement.
Should the U.S. respond with military means to a limited Russian incursion in the Baltics? This paper explores Western attitudes towards such a hypothetical grey zone crisis. Using survey experiments and crisis simulations we find considerable reluctance to use military tools in order to support a Baltic ally, and surprisingly little variation across the audiences. The underlying reluctance to get the U.S. involved in an armed conflict with Russia in the hopes that such acquiescence may help preserve global stability indicates that the conflict in Ukraine only had a fundamentally limited impact on Western strategic thought on deterring Russia.