Georgia’s prospects at the Wales Summit
By Messenger Staff
Thursday, September 4The NATO Wales Summit is scheduled for September 4-5. The alliance is currently facing multiple challenges and the key challenge is the crisis in Ukraine. Taking the current international situation into account, Georgian issues have been relegated to the shadows. However, the outcome of the summit in Wales remains crucial for Georgia. Public enthusiasm among Georgians towards NATO is decreasing from year to year and maintaining this enthusiasm in Georgian politics will be highly dependent on Georgia coming away from the summit with something tangible and positive.
It has already been decided that instead of the Membership Action Plan (MAP) Georgia will instead receive a “substantive” package from the alliance.
On September 1, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated that the new package will definitely bring Georgia closer to NATO. He admitted that the special document created for Georgia includes more intensive involvement of Georgian soldiers in NATO exercises and the possibility of holding training drills in Georgia.
He also stressed that the alliance will establish a defense capacity-building mission in Georgia with a particular focus on the Ministry of Defense, and will assist Georgia in its continued reforms and modernization of the defense and security sector.
At the Bucharest Summit in 2008, NATO leaders decided not to grant MAP to Georgia, but promised that the country would eventually become a member. In the case that there is just wording regarding deeper relations with NATO without any security guarantees, Georgia might face a serious threat from Russia. Russia might interpret this as a form of NATO enlargement to the East and carry out a military offensive against Georgia.
Additionally, if NATO fails to provide clear security guarantees for Georgia, the alliance will be a serious target of criticism among Georgians. As such, NATO’s popularity will further deteriorate in the country, leaving room for pro-Russian parties in Georgia to make political gains.