TBILISI HOPES TO ACCELERATE THE PROCESS OF JOINING NATO

By Arthur Dunn

The prospect of full membership of Georgia in NATO remains foreign policy goal of Tbilisi. Any significant change in the foreign policy situation against the backdrop of worsening relations between Russia and NATO countries can reintroduce this issue in a real, practical plane. United States continue to view the country as a key strategic partner not only in the South Caucasus region, taking into account the energy corridor from the Caspian Sea to the West, and the transit of military cargo from Afghanistan. Military-strategic importance of Georgia currently has increased and as a country, which lies along the southern perimeter, Caucasian borders of Russia.

 

US relations with Georgia have reached its peak in 2008, when Washington was actually seen as a powerful patron, promote and protect the interests of Georgia at the regional and global levels. However, the United States have not been able to provide real military assistance to Georgia in its war with Russia in August 2008, won the presidential election of Barack Obama and the subsequent attempt to "reset" between Russia and the United States have significantly reduced the importance of Georgia in the priorities of regional policy in Washington in the former Soviet space. The outgoing Bush administration managed to sign with Georgia at the beginning of January 2009 Charter on Strategic Partnership. However, this document does not give hard guarantees safe country. In July 2009, Georgia visited the Vice-President Joe Biden, who said that "the policy of reset" with Russia would not come at the expense of Georgia and the United States will contribute to the training and modernization of the Georgian army and to support the country in its aspirations to NATO . In return, Georgia in August 2009, took the decision to send troops to Afghanistan as part of Georgia's NATO peacekeeping forces, which was the most numerous contingent of the number of countries outside the North Atlantic Alliance.

 

But, despite repeated appeals of former Georgian authorities, the United States refrained from providing an effective military and technical assistance of the Georgian army offensive, recovering after the August war with Russia. Instead, the administration of the United States Barack Obama significantly hardened its position on the domestic political processes in Georgia.

 

Results of the September visit of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in Georgia confirmed the opinions of experts that Tbilisi's relations with Washington on the background of the Ukrainian crisis will continue to maintain the level of specific and sufficiently close relationship. But are unlikely to achieve the degree of confidence that the previous government had Saakashvili during the Republican administration of George W. Bush, Jr.. Even at the current background of dynamic deterioration of relations with Russia, the United States will refrain from providing specific guarantees security of Georgia. Nevertheless, the possibility of providing short-term NATO more serious military-technical assistance in case of further deterioration in Russian-Georgian relations - quite likely. Administration of the United States declared its readiness to provide up to 1 billion. Dollars in military assistance to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, as the Allies outside the United States, NATO, under the so-called "Act on the Prevention of aggression on the part of Russia - 2014".

 

It is clear that in spite of this, the Georgian side is not quite happy with such a dynamic relationship, hoping that the Ukrainian crisis will accelerate the process of deepening US-Georgian military-political relations, and budge question the ultimate delivery of the Programme of Action on the country's membership in NATO (Membership Actions Plan - MAP). For example, the Minister of Defense of Georgia I.Alasaniya at the end of April 2014, in a speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington has already announced, "as an idea," the proposal to place on the territory of Georgia defensive air defense of the NATO countries. Of course, that as the expansion of the Ukrainian crisis in the Georgian ports of frequent visits of American warships, as well as various kinds of joint exercises and military activities of Georgia and the United States. This suggests the possibility of further strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the sphere of security, especially in the framework of joint projects in the Black Sea security. Almost permanently moored in the port of Batumi is one of the American warships.

 

However, the transition to a qualitatively new level of relations between Tbilisi and Washington in the military-strategic sphere until unrealistic. Of course, will continue the political support of the USA Georgia in bilateral and multilateral formats. Including within NATO and in relations with the EU official Tbilisi. But without providing clear security guarantees and direct military assistance and membership. In parallel, the United States will continue to promote political and economic reforms in Georgia, ensuring the stability of the domestic political processes.

 

Given the more moderate position of the new Georgian government in its relations with its northern neighbor, "Russian factor" will take more and more important in the politics of Washington and Tbilisi, as well as Brussels, creating for them a new perspective.

 

 

 

 

29.09.2014

 

 

 
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