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Ukraine, NATO, Georgia triangle

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, February 18
Ukraine’s newly-elected President Viktor Yanukovich has already reversed that country's previous policy of seeking to join NATO. This has brought to an end, at least for five years, the triangular relationship between NATO, Ukraine and Georgia, in which Georgia and Ukraine have tried in vain to enter NATO. Now only Georgia is openly expressing a wish to enter NATO, which says its doors are open but makes them rather difficult to reach.

Analysts suggest that Ukraine would have been a more valuable member for NATO and Georgia was trying to get in on its coat tails. Now the coat has been taken off, and maybe for longer than five years. Analysts are therefore suggesting that Georgia’s chances of entering NATO have become very small, if not nonexistent.

Georgia has not withdrawn its application to join NATO and is involving itself very substantially in its activities, sending troops to participate in the anti-terrorist operations in Afghanistan for example. The Government has also suggested that Georgia’s territory can be used as a new transport corridor for logistics supply to Afghanistan. However it should be said that the previous enthusiasm of Georgians for NATO has appreciably cooled. In fact people have started realising that Russia's anger and aggression are in fact motivated by Georgia’s NATO aspirations.

It is clear that Ukraine’s failure to be accepted by NATO, and its consequent move towards Russia, is a bad thing for Georgia. Georgian military experts suggest that Ukraine will refuse further military cooperation with Georgia because this assistance irritates Russia. This will deal a serious blow to Georgia's defence potential, as much of the military hardware in Georgia comes from Ukraine. There are some more optimistic prognoses however, according to which Ukraine's abandonment of NATO will make the alliance see Georgia as a possible replacement, thus ensuring that Georgia joins in quite a short time. But Georgia will still have to address various issues before this can happen, the first being that part of Georgia's territory is occupied and the second that the Georgian Government has failed to establish democratic institutions, an independent court system and protect human rights and the freedom of the media.

Of course the biggest test of Georgia’s democratic claims will be the forthcoming local elections. Almost 20 years of independence have not been enough to establish democratic elections in the country. Once again the leadership is promising a new wave of democracy, a modern constitutional arrangement and other fine-sounding things. But the three months left before the elections will run fast.