The Return of Direct Defense in Europe

Meeting the Russian Challenge

by Robbin F. Laird and Murielle Delaporte


With the seizure of Crimea by the Russians in 2014 and ongoing use of cyber warfare in the region, Europe is grappling with how to deal with Russia's return as a direct threat to the continent.

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September 2020


Pages 258
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Security Studies/International and Transnational Security
  Politics, Law, and Government/International Relations
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The Cold War is over, but the danger from Russia has returned. This book explores the challenge Europe faces of building a 21st-century defense infrastructure and rebuilding NATO forces to confront Russia and other authoritarian states and movements.

Neither the return of the Russian threat nor Russia's seizure of European territory was anticipated or prepared for. The two core Western institutions—the European Union (EU) and NATO—expanded eastward but without shaping a defense structure designed for the direct defense of the continent. Since 2014, there has been a shift in thinking, with more allocation of resources to defense. However, with the crises in the EU and the shift in U.S. global defense policy—first with Barack Obama's focus on the Pacific and then with Donald Trump's reset—how the West deals with the 21st-century Russian defense challenge is a work in progress.

This book looks at the nature of these 21st-century challenges, which are as significant as the Cold War but require different responses and different means. The authors analyze how key European states and institutions are seeking to address the new situation by incorporating a wide range of interviews in every key NATO nation. The book concludes with a look forward at the decade ahead and at the flashpoints that could trigger European conflict.


  • Provides an overview on the new strategic context within which European states have to readdress defense challenges
  • Offers a series of case studies built around key nations involved in rethinking direct defense in Europe
  • Focuses on key building blocks of crafting a 21st-century approach to deterrence of Russia and to working with the United States
  • Concludes with a discussion of how European divergences and U.S. interactions with those divergences are reshaping NATO and the direct defense of Europe
Series Description

Praeger Security International

As the world gets "smaller" through technology and globalization, the security risks we face grow and multiply.

International security in the 21st century is not a topic that can be adequately addressed in nightly news soundbites or online articles intended to be relevant for 24 hours or less. Comprehending these complex issues requires insight from foreign policy specialists, diplomats, military officials, peace scholars, historians, and security experts—participants and observers on all sides of each conflict. This series provides the tools for understanding security issues in our uncertain, unstable world.

Written by subject experts and well-known researchers, the books in the Praeger Security International series give readers access to carefully considered and highly informed viewpoints on the critical security issues that threaten to destabilize our world. With titles authored by diplomats, first responders, economists, journalists, civil servants, military leaders and combatants, legal experts, psychologists, and other knowledgeable specialists, these books offer in-depth reflections, thorough analysis, and international perspectives that are unavailable in mass media. These titles represent an invaluable resource for students and researchers as well as anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the complex issues that affect our lives and future.


  • Provides reliable, comprehensive information on all matters relating to security that is ideal for students, teachers, researchers, and professionals
  • Offers insightful commentaries written by a diverse group of scholars and experts who provide interdisciplinary treatments of newsworthy events and important historical occurrences
Author Info

Robbin Laird, PhD, is a military security analyst who lives in Washington, D.C., and Paris. He is a fellow at the Williams Foundation in Canberra, Australia. He has worked at several U.S. think tanks, served in the U.S. government, and taught at several U.S. universities. Laird is author of several books and articles on defense issues.

Murielle Delaporte is a graduate of Sciences Po in Paris and of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and is currently editor of a leading French defense magazine, Opérationnels. She is also the NATO and Europe correspondent for the U.S. defense publication Breaking Defense.

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