NATO, Georgia, Russia: A Tragic Triangle
By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, December 13Since Georgia freed itself from the Soviet Union it has set out its pro western orientation in a clear cut manner. In the beginning, this was pursued very modestly, and then later with bigger and greater vigor. Georgia has established its aspiration to join NATO to protect itself from the imperialistic claims of its northern neighbour Russia. Some Georgian analysts think that most of the country's problems start with Russia. First, Moscow actively participated in the dismemberment of Georgia, wrenching the two regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from the body of the country. Russian supported and inspired separatists from these two regions allowing them to take control and carry out ethnic cleansing of the Georgian population in the 1990s. Finally, in 2008 after Russia’s invasion of Georgia these two territories declared their independence which was immediately recognized by Russia who installed a considerable amount of soldiers and military hardware there. The result is that 20% of Georgian territory is not controlled by Tbilisi and Russian tanks are about 40 km away from capital. Just around a month ago Russian President Dmitri Medvedev confessed that Russia’s attack on Georgia in 2008 was a preventive measure to stop NATO expansion and to stop Georgia’s efforts to join the North Atlantic Alliance.
NATO permanently repeats that its doors are open to Georgia, though so far Georgia has not been invited to join the alliance. Georgia humbly stands at the open doors waiting. This is both humiliating and dangerous, as while Georgia stands there exposed Russia continues to perceive a threat to its interests. Just recently, NATO officially nominated Georgia as an 'aspirant country'. This irritated the Kremlin greatly. Following the step, President Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov openly threatened Georgia with repeated aggression. As in 2008, Russia could at any time launch an attack and then invent any excuse which the world will have to swallow.
What will come next? Officials in Tbilisi express their hopes for better developments. However, independent analysts suggest that Georgia has little chance if any at all to join NATO in the near future. There are two major obstacles, the NATO charter clearly identifies that a member cannot be a country with territorial disputes. So there are two solutions: either NATO has to change its charter or Georgia has to recognize its breakaway regions as separate ones and stop making claims on them. From today’s point of view both these options seem unrealistic.