Georgia and NATO
By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, June 17
NATO was created by the West to eliminate the threat of the Soviet Union and its allies after the Second World War. The organization has expanded since then. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO integrated several eastern European countries within the alliance. When the Baltic States: Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia became independent, they joined the alliance. After Al Qaeda’s attack on the United States, Bulgaria and Romania were also permitted into NATO. The alliance aims to consolidate the former Yugoslavia states as well. Many of such decisions were caused by political circumstances, as some of new NATO members did not meet all the alliance criteria.
There were ethnic problems in some of the states, corruption, poor human rights records, a heavy socioeconomic situation and so on.
Georgia knocked on NATO’s door at the end of the last century, submitting an official application to become an alliance member. Since then the country has been steadfastly doing its homework. Georgia has considerably improved the level of democracy in the country and has created a strong NGO sector. Georgia had been diligently providing soldiers for the alliance peacekeeping missions in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan for many years. Georgian soldiers are now being sent to Central Africa to protect international security there under EU aegis.
NATO is not against Georgia’s membership in the alliance. However, there are certain obstacles that inhibit Georgia’s progress. The number one issue is the negative attitude of Moscow towards Georgia’s membership. Russia is dead-set against Georgia’s NATO aspirations. It was irritated as well when the Baltic countries entered NATO. Russia wants the former Soviet counties under its control.
Now, Russia is exercising its aggression on Georgia through various means. The first is that Russia openly states that it is against Georgia’s participation in the organization. The second is the military attack on Georgia in August 2008. Georgia is in a deadlock. Our territories are being occupied by Russia. According to the NATO charter, no country can become an alliance member if it has territorial problems. We should remind the reader that even within NATO two members of the alliance Turkey and Greece were on the edge of fighting over the Cyprus issue. On the other hand, NATO definitely does not want to get involved in a military conflict with Russia, as according to the NATO charter, an attack on one member of NATO is considered an attack on all of them, and they have to respond together. One would be crazy to start fighting with Russia today.
The situation is such that Georgia has only one way to integrate into NATO. It has to give up its de-facto territories. Only in such a situation, will Georgia have a chance to become a NATO member. Another option is for NATO to change its charter. It is also unlikely to take place. It should be stressed that Georgia wanted to become a NATO member to protect itself from Russian aggression. Now the game is over. Russia firmly controls the occupied Georgian territories. It has deployed thousands of soldiers there, making them the guarantors of Russia’s policy.
Some analysts in Georgia and ordinary people keep asking: Do we still need NATO? We think that we still do. However, this wish should not become an unfulfilled dream, as everything has its limits.