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NATO, EU and Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Friday, March 28
A very popular saying during the Ukrainian Maidan appraisal was that Georgia’s fate was decided in Ukraine. Indeed, Ukraine was on the crossroads of its future development - either it would crawl back under Russian subordination as one of the former Soviet Union states, or it would proudly join the Western states as an equal nation.

Ukraine chose the second option and in return received Russian aggression which eventually snatched Crimean territory from Ukraine.

However, exactly these events, in particular, Russia’s utmost grudge against Ukraine’s independent step towards the West, raised the concern of Western countries and strengthened their determination to stop Russia’s aggressive policy by joint efforts.

Under these circumstances, it has become very important to decide Georgia’s fate once and for all.

Practically, Georgia is the only state among the former Soviet republics which consistently has been trying to integrate into the European structures and the North-Atlantic Alliance. For that, Georgia was once punished severely by Russia. In 2008, Russia occupied two territories – almost 20% of Georgian territories and recognized them as independent states.

After the events in Ukraine, many politicians, analysts and journalists started remembering August 2008 when the merciless northern “monster” attacked tiny Georgia. Although there was some condemnation of Russia’s step, nobody had moved a finger to force Russia’s retreat from Georgia. There were concerns, statements, and similar expressions but no action - neither economic sanctions against Russia, nor any serious steps, which had made Russian conduct painful for it.

Moscow’s appetite has thus increased. Now, it exercised aggression against Ukraine, which is much larger than Georgia either with population or territory.

This time the world has started recognizing the threat coming from the Kremlin to the peace, security and order in the world. The Kremlin has put international legal regulations, agreements, and treaties upside down. It did what it wanted to do, not caring for other’s opinions, demagogically explaining and justifying its imperialistic and aggressive steps.

Therefore, at this state of development of historical events, the civilized world finally decided to accelerate the process of Georgia’s accession into the European structures and possibly into NATO.

The date has been fixed to sign an agreement between Georgia and the EU on Eastern Partnership association membership no later than June 2014. Next it will be the time to sign the Membership Action Plan (MAP) between Georgia and NATO, thus placing the country in the final stage before joining the alliance.

However, just at the end of The Hague Nuclear Security Summit US President Barack Obama said that neither Ukraine nor Georgia have been promised to receive the MAP for certain as a guarantee to join the Alliance.

According to Reuters, Obama said the Crimean crisis would not put Ukraine and Georgian membership of NATO back on the agenda.

"Neither Ukraine nor Georgia are currently on a path to NATO membership. And there has not been any immediate plans for the expansion of NATO's membership."

This position, which presumably is not the sole position of the US president only and represents the general opinion, has frustrated Georgians who feel a sense of indifference from the West towards the fate of tiny Georgia. It also gives ground for speculations on a popular level that the West is afraid of Russia.

Such position of the NATO members give ground to certain pro-Russian forces in Georgia to promote their position among the population – going back to Russia. Currently, several rallies in different regions of Georgia were held in support of the idea of joining the Russian-led Eurasian Union instead of realizing its aspirations to join NATO.

So far most part of the Georgian population is in favor of NATO but any kind of tolerance has its limits. After all, Georgia wanted to join NATO to protect it from Russian aggression. Now the result of Russian aggression is here: Georgia is missing 20% of its territories, which are declared “independent” but are occupied by Russian soldiers.

Unfortunately, the West does not recognize its mistakes because it should admit that it was a big mistake when the West initiated and supported the violation of borders of Serbia through recognizing Kosovo as an independent state and thus created and encouraged precedent of separatism.

Similarly, the West has made a mistake not to apply serious sanctions against Moscow after it occupied some part of Georgian territories. At least this time the West should take more substantial steps to force the Kremlin to retreat. Otherwise, its appetite might further increase.