Georgia, Euro-Atlantic structures and Russian propaganda
By Messenger Staff
Thursday, February 11Increasingly effective Russian propaganda has raised the possibility that Tbilisi might slow or suspend its efforts towards greater Euro-Atlantic integration, reads a report written by James Clapper, the head of the United States National Intelligence Service.
‘Even as Georgia progresses with reforms, Georgian politics will almost certainly be volatile as political competition increases. Economic challenges are also likely to become a key political vulnerability for the government before the 2016 elections.
“Rising frustration among Georgia’s elites and the public with the slow pace of Western integration and increasingly effective Russian propaganda raise the prospect that Tbilisi might slow or suspend efforts toward greater Euro-Atlantic integration. Tensions with Russia will remain high, and we assess that Moscow will raise the pressure on Tbilisi to abandon closer EU and NATO ties,’ reads the report.
Several days ago, NATO representative James Appathurai said that it unlikely for Georgia to gain a Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the Warsaw Summit.
Commenting on the statement, Georgia’s Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli said that “MAP has never been demanded by the current Georgian Government,” and that her Government’s main priority was full NATO membership.
After putting the issue to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, he said it was practically impossible for a state to become a NATO member without obtaining MAP.
At the same time, Georgia is consistently praised by Euro-Atlantic bodies for fulfilling its tasks and contributing towards international military missions.
If NATO still refuses to give Georgia MAP, and if the European Union also refrains from making a political decision on visa-free travel, Georgians might well be “trapped” by Russian propaganda; Georgia has progressed too far and sacrificed too much (especially a score of dead and wounded soldiers) to still denied true political entry into the West.