The story of Georgia's NATO aspirations is not a new trend. This is evidenced by both the past and the present government while the West continues giving promises to encourage and help. However, it is namely Georgia's NATO aspirations that may indirectly affect the issue of territorial integrity of the country. The regular statements of the West that it is ready to see Georgia as a member of the alliance, postpone the return of the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
US will help Georgia move towards membership in NATO, US Secretary of State John Kerry said May 22, adding that the United States intends to assist Georgia to implement the Association Agreement with the European Union and move towards the path to NATO membership.
Tbilisi has repeatedly made it clear that the country wants to get from NATO more than a repetition of the Bucharest summit’s decision in 2008 that Georgia would sometime become a member of the alliance.
However, despite assurances from the West, the dramatic changes in the relationship between Georgia and the Alliance in the short term are unlikely. Georgia, of course, will continue to seek the necessary preferences in the issues of integration into the Alliance, but the West will not turn a blind eye to the real problems of the country.
There are insurmountable obstacles on the way of Georgia to NATO, about which officials of the Alliance remember, though they don’t talk about it.
The issue is that the Alliance won’t adopt the country which has territorial problems. This has a logical explanation. If Georgia is adopted without Abkhazia and Ossetia, it will be an indirect confirmation of the independence of the breakaway republics. If these two parts of Georgia are also adopted, the Alliance will have to grant membership to the territories on which Russian military bases are located.
NATO will beware of adopting a small country with big territorial problems just not to get involved in a possible conflict situation with Russia.
This means that if Moscow doesn’t want to have a member of the western military alliance in the South Caucasus underbelly (it doesn’t want), it would be right to leave Georgia’s territorial conflict in its current state and by all means try to maintain the status quo.
The military technical aspect also plays an important role. The gradual standardization of the armed forces in accordance with the parameters set in NATO, can’t be completed by Georgia in coming years. However, in the long term, Tbilisi has all chances to get closer to the Alliance’s requirements with the lapse of time in this regard.