Georgia-NATO: Myth and Reality
The report quotes numerous polls in Georgia, indicating that at least half of the population questions the appropriateness of its possible future membership of NATO; Western diplomats in interviews hinting that they do not want to complicate relations with Russia because of the possible expansion of the alliance, as well as statements of Georgian politicians and political scientists naming the problems that can occur if Georgia joins NATO.
Among them are:
- Conflict with Russia, who has nuclear weapons;
- NATO thinks that accepting Georgia will give them more trouble than benefits. Georgia is involved wherever NATO needs it, without joining it, in particular has its troops in Afghanistan;
- In Georgia there are two conflict zones and no NATO member wants Russian and NATO soldiers to be ten meters from each other, since in such a case even a casual conflict could escalate into a serious confrontation that no one would want.
The authors of the report argue that during Mikheil Saakashvili's rule, Georgia developed an irrational approach towards NATO membership.
The conventional view is that everything that was bad in the Soviet ideology was automatically good after the USSR collapsed, according to the report. If NATO was really an alliance against the Soviet threat, it would have been dismissed after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. In fact, just the opposite is happening: NATO is expanding t the former socialist countries and some of the ex-Soviet republics.
In the book "The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership" published in 2004, Zbigniew Brzezinski gives interesting analogies: "In the 1990s, NATO acquired a new role, bringing stability to the violent and troubled Balkan region. At the beginning of the next decade, it became clear that we can't avoid a certain stability pact for the Caucasus, which would be similar to the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe." Recognition of Kosovo's independence demonstrated what this "stability" looks like in the Balkans Such a rejection of the territorial integrity is unattractive for Georgia. Brzezinski believes that further penetration of NATO into the former Soviet Union is inevitable, since Russia recognized the superiority of the Atlantic community in the structure of world security. The last eight years have demonstrated that the attitude of Russia (and not only Russia) to NATO has radically changed.
"In Georgia, we talk a lot about NATO, but the discussion rarely comes to details. Almost nobody talks about what exactly to expect from Georgia's membership in NATO? What advantages does it give us? Joining NATO not only affects the territorial integrity of Georgia, which undoubtedly is vital, but also influences all aspects of the Georgian state, "- says the report.
According to its authors, the military aspect is unattractive for Georgia. Back in 2007, former Georgian Defense Minister David Tevzadze said, "In NATO there are quotas for the armed forces and plans to use all the troops of the alliance members.Having joined the alliance, Bulgaria, Romania and the Czech Republic disarmed. After they were told what their function in NATO would be, these countries had to significantly reduce their armed forces. If the situation changes tomorrow, these countries will become vulnerable due to the lack of their own troops. If we join NATO, we will become the first target of the Russian attack. Even if we join the Alliance, in practice, no one can help us with their troops. The only help tool available to NATO is Turkey, who is capable of reacting quickly, but rapid response means that Georgia will become a theater of war." Incidentally, it was the Turkish factor that made the population of Adjara be negative about the desire to join NATO. Feeling all the "benefits" of economic (and not only) expansion of Turkey, the Adjarians identify it with NATO, as well as the tangible concessions of sovereignty (not just autonomy, but also the country as a whole).
The report authors believe that the West only needs Georgia's membership in NATO West to realize its own interests. Those are "cheap" soldiers for NATO operations.Kosovo showed that the territorial integrity is not a "red line" that the West can't cross. After the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia, Boston University professor Andrew Bacevich wrote that the bombing had to be a lesson for each European country who believes that the rules of the new system of international relations established by Washington after the Cold War are not about them.
For the U.S. hegemony in the combined, integrated and free Europe is very important. What can we say about Georgia? Following the "Rose Revolution", the Georgian parliament hurried to ratify an agreement that allowed U.S. troops to move freely on the territory of Georgia and not face local justice in the case of a crime. They will be judged according to American laws. Georgian authorities can't search, detain, or arrest American servicemen. While in the previous 10 years, Russian soldiers had no right to move from one base to another without the permission of local Georgian authorities, and when the rule was violated, they got arrested... "What else is joining NATO, if not an attempt on our sovereignty?" is the rhetorical question of the report authors. Politics has turned Georgia into a military base for NATO, where Americans are free to move around and do whatever they want.
Georgian society demonstrates strikingly poor knowledge of NATO. Most Georgians believe that NATO is a military organization. Nobody mentions that France left the NATO military organization, but remained a member of the Alliance. It did it in 1974, explaining it by its desire to "fully restore the sovereignty of France." With all its problems, Georgia remains the same stranger for the West as it was 20 years ago. The decision to join NATO will postpone resolution of territorial disputes in Georgia for decades.