, 25 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
How important is Denmark to @NATO?

Consider their role in post-1990 NATO expansion

The story starts in the late 1980s. At the time, Danish Foreign Minister, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, was frustrated
Specifically, Denmark could not continue to be a "footnote" country, as it had been during most of the Cold War
The "Ellemann-Jensen doctrine" asserted that small states can wield great influence in international affairs IF they leverage international institutions.

This doctrine called for Denmark to be more assertive and active in the UN, NATO, and the EC (soon EU).
In a April 1989 speech, Ellemann-Jensen called on Denmark to adopt "active internationalism" as its new foreign policy
Then the Berlin Wall fell and everything was on the table. Time to act!
A February 1991 Danish Foreign Ministry Memo crystallized the new foreign policy approach for Denmark

The report read:

“In the relationship between the Soviet Union and the West, Denmark, isolated, naturally plays no prominent
...Everything indicates that the only Western countries that Moscow takes seriously are USA & Germany. But w/ our policy towards the Soviet Union we can affect our Western partners and thereby-at least marginally-be part of increasing the influence of the West on Soviet policy."
This led Denmark, along with the other Nordic countries, to sign the "Mariehamn Declaration" in November 1991.

Below is an image of the Finnish version of the declaration (via the Finnish Parliament archives)
The declaration stated: “The Nordic countries should actively seek to influence European and other developments. . . in the Baltic Sea and Baltic region”
In other words, the former Soviet Republic Baltic states couldn't be left out on their own
Indeed, in 1990 -- almost a year before their formal independence -- Ellemann-Jensen offered Baltic representatives the use of facilities
in Copenhagen.

This meant Denmark was one of the first states to recognize the Baltics (whereas the USA was something like the 30th).
Denmark, as both a Nordic state and a @NATO member, took the lead.

The goal was for the Baltics, if possible, to enter @NATO.
Since immediate NATO membership was closed, a first step would be for the Baltics to demonstrate their "value added" as members.

By the mid-1990s, due to the Balkan Wars, @NATO
was focusing on deploying Peacekeeping operations.
This presented an opportunity. Led by 🇩🇰, with help from the other Nordic Countries and a few other nations (namely 🇬🇧), 🇪🇪 🇱🇻 & 🇱🇹 formed the Baltic Peacekeeping Battalion (BALTBAT).
This allowed the Baltic states to accomplish three objectives.

First, it allowed them to receive Western supplies to begin rebuilding their military forces. As Garry Johnson, Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces Northern Europe, said:

"They were starting from zero"
Second, it allowed the Baltics to gain training in an area that could be perceived as valuable to @NATO
(& also valuable to Russia, as maintaining peace in the Balkans was a priority). Indeed, their first deployment was with 🇩🇰
Third, it "signaled" to @NATO, namely 🇺🇸, that the Baltics could be "good citizens" if allowed in @NATO.

As a 1999 editorial in the Norwegian paper @Aftenposten
remarked, "BALTBAT almost functions as a preparatory school for NATO membership"
This set the stage for the Baltics to enter the "Partnership for Peace" and then the "Membership Action Plan"
Following the 9/11/2001 attacks and the US operations in Afghanistan, the Baltics were eager to participate in ISAF
So at the Prague @NATO summit in 2002, the 19 NATO members voted to bring in the Baltic states. Here is the announcement in the official post-summit press release
To underpin the centrality of Denmark to the Baltic experience, consider that the official reports detailing the effectiveness of BALBAT came from the Danish Ministry of Defence.

Here is an image of the 1997 report, which I acquired directly from the Danish Defence Ministry.
@jurpelai & I detailed this narrative in chapter 6 of our @UChicagoPress book, "Organizing Democracy"

It is because of the Danish experience that I now see the role of "middle powers" in shaping the agenda pursued by the "great powers".

I highlighted this point in a @monkeycageblog piece from last summer

Of course, this is just one way that Denmark has proven to be a vital @NATO member since the Cold War.

But it's a story worth recalling: without Denmark's efforts, I don't see the Baltics being in NATO.

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