The book emphasizes the region as such and its complex security challenges, seen in a longer-term perspective. Security is conceived in the classical sense yet with a clear understanding of the links to the broader aspects. The book is divided into three parts, the first of which provides a framework of general insights and theories relevant to the region, about assymetric power relations, historical and geopolitical factors, worldviews and political culture. The second part deals with regional policies of specific governments, those whose policies are seen to have special significance (Russia, Germany, Poland, Sweden). The third part focuses on intergovernmental institutions, in particular those of the Nordic countries and the European Union, along with the WEU.
Throughout the book, relations between the three Baltic states and Russia are the centre of attention. The interaction of this conflict group both internally and with other states in the region is examined with regard to its Russian, Nordic and European aspects. The concluding chapter examines the issues in the light of three philosophical traditions in the study of international politics. The volume brings together an assembly of leading scholars from Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, the UK and the USA.