One idea under discussion is the deployment of a battalion from NATO member states such as the United States, Britain, and Germany in each of the Baltic States and Poland. That will hardly suffice to defend the Baltics. A 2015 RAND study suggested the need for seven brigades—including three heavy armored brigades—to have a chance of stopping a major Russian offensive.
[S]uch a force would appear overly provocative to Moscow, posing a potent ground offensive capability less than 400 kilometers from Russia’s second city of St Petersburg.
Unfortunately, what the NATO politicians don’t recognize (or choose not to) is that it’s necessary to be provocative in order to deter. If Russia sees no danger from its illegal seizure and annexation of Crimea, and support for armed separatism in eastern Ukraine [and buildup of its own forces in eastern Ukraine], or from its nuclear threats against Poland and its cyber warfare conducted against those Baltic States, then Russia will simply continue those threats, those invasions, those occupations.
I aim to be provocative (with not too many apologies to Malcolm Reynolds). Here’s more provocation: we need to move the flotilla in the Baltic Sea, the one that’s been a repeated target of Russian fighter-bomber buzzings, close on Kaliningrad. And when the Russians send fighter-bombers to buzz the flotilla again, the flotilla—every single ship of it—should blanket the Russian aircraft with ECM so as to cut it off utterly from its Russian base. And the flotilla—every single ship of it—should illuminate the Russian aircraft with targeting radar.
It’s time to stop fearing angrifying our enemy and thereby letting it get away—literally—with murder. It’s time to get provocative.