Chicago Summit: Again No Date Set for Georgian NATO Entry
24 May, 2012
Chicago Summit: Again No Date Set for Georgian NATO Entry

At  the NATO Summit in Chicago, Georgia participated in three meetings, each held in a different format. The first meeting took place in a 28+13 format, i.e. NATO member states plus 13 main NATO partners including Georgia as the sole representative from the Eastern Europe. The second meeting gathered 28+4 countries where Georgia was represented together with three aspiring countries – M

acedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzogovina – and discussed membership prospects with the NATO member States.

The third meeting assumed a 28+ISAF format and tackled Afghanistan peacekeeping operations. Naturally, here too Georgia factored on the guest list, given its biggest contribution to the Afghan operations among non-NATO participating countries. Come to it, Georgian troops are getting further boost to reach 1700 after an extra infantry battalion finishes its deployment on the Afghanistan soil. By then, Georgia will take the absolute lead among all participating countries, leaving behind the current first place holder Australia with its 1550 troops.

Three paragraphs of the declaration adopted by the Chicago NATO Summit at the end of the meeting is dedicated to Georgia. The declaration re-affirms committment of the Alliance to the decisions of the Bucharest Summit and that Georgia will become a NATO member state. In the declaration, NATO once again expresses its support for the territorial integrity of Georgia and calls Russia to revoke its recognition of Abkhazia and so called South Ossetia. Members of the Alliance are grateful to Georgia for its significant contribution to the ISAF and underline importance of holding fair and democratic parliamentary and presidential elections in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
As expected, nothing special was done about Georgia at the Chicago NATO Summit. The date of possible Georgian entry to NATO remains unidentified, even if it has gotten ever so closer.  The Chicago declaration only mentions that NATO will examine progress in fullfillment of national plans by aspirant countries individually. Georgian participation in three meetings of the Chicago Summit, as well as separate handling of the Georgian issue and the extent of support offered to the country are achievements of their own virtue indeed. Yet, it seems the road to the NATO entry is long enough and the length depends on the solution of internal NATO problems.
The Russian factor aside (which affects the position of certain Alliance members who shun the idea of Georgian membership), a new financial predicament has just emerged to torment the alliance. At the Summit the Alliance leadershep announced that it shifts to smart defense strategy. It means economizing spendings and diminution of prospects that the NATO Member States will have fully fledged armies.
Perhaps many people will be shocked to learn that the financial crisis for instance, forced the Netherlands, a NATO Member State, to get rid of tanks, while the United Kingdom, another NATO member, had to say goodbuy to frontline military jets. As for Germany, it shelved plans of purchasing drones. Smart Defense strategy introduces a new principle for the Member States. For now, each will develop only a certain aspect of military might which it has been traditionally strong and advanced. For instances, Czech armed forces will choose elements of defense against radiological, biological and chemical warfare because since as early as the times of the Warsaw Pact they have been distinguised with their level of preparedness for countering effects of weapons of mass destruction.
Thus, given the severety of the financial crisis that NATO is facing and NATO’s attempts to save even at the expense of military preparedness, the Alliance is not likely to jump to expansion by accepting new members.


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