25 November, 2010

In the new 10-year strategic concept approved at the Lisbon Summit of North Atlantic Alliance, Russia is mentioned not as a rival but as partner while relationship with Georgia is scheduled to continue and develop.

Recent NATO summit was viewed with hope by a number of people in Georgia: Perhaps now, contrary to the Bucharest Summit, we would be given MAP?! However, as it was expected, it didn’t happen. NATO adopted a new strategic concept that is to be carried out during

the coming 10 years. In the concept it is underlined that the Alliance is offering Ukraine and Georgia continuation of partnership relations within the format of NATO - Ukraine Council and NATO – Georgia Commission.
That is, as expected, Lisbon Summit confirmed the decision taken at the Bucharest Summit that these post-soviet countries would enjoy full rights of North Atlantic Alliance when they are ready for it.
It’s no secret, that current authorities of Ukraine as well as majority of its population no longer have a desire to see Ukraine within the North Atlantic structure.
As for Georgia’s becoming a NATO full-fledged member in the coming 5 – 7 years, it is less likely considering the Russian factor.
At its 61st anniversary NATO declared that it doesn’t pose threat to Russia any longer and desires to establish real strategic partnership between North Atlantic Alliance and Russia. After making this declaration, NATO leadership hopes that Russia will take adequate steps.
North Atlantic Organization is also offering Russia to create joint European anti-missile system, the first stage of which will enable the air and anti-missile system of Russia and air defense system of NATO member countries in Europe to exchange operational information.  
In NATO they also think that Russia can provide much help in anti-terrorist operation that is underway in Afghanistan under the aegis of ISAF by training law-enforcers and military personnel as well as by supplying weapons and helicopters through air and land corridors from Europe to Afghanistan.
As we see, North Atlantic Alliance is seriously interested in developing strategic cooperation with Russia.
For many of our readers it may be hard to apprehend it but closer NATO Russian relations are in strategic interest of Georgia. Convergence of the West and Russia may hold the latter back from exerting power policy upon its neighbors and first of all – on Georgia.
Until this happens (if it happens at all!), unfortunately, it seems that Georgia won’t become a hull-fledged NATO member even if our authorities send a whole army to Afghanistan to please the North Atlantic Alliance.
The North Atlantic Alliance, wishing to establish strategic partnership with Russia, won’t make steps that may irritate the Kremlin; what’s more, because of partial occupation of Georgia, as there is bigger politics at stake (from their point of view).
Today NATO is stuck up to its neck in the war with Afghanistan like USA was earlier with Vietnam or Soviet Union with the same Afghanistan. If President Bush Jr. didn’t start full-scale military campaign in Afghanistan and came to nothing more than special operations of pointed strikes against ‘Al Queada’ and Taliban, North Atlantic Alliance that was assigned by USA to guide the operation in Afghanistan through AISF since 2003, wouldn’t be in such a dire situation. 
For the last seven years main attention of NATO and its finances are spent on supplying ISAF in Afghanistan, 5 thousand kilometers’ away from Brussels. It postponed the approved plan to expand NATO eastwards, to which, to a certain extent, was sacrificed the strategic interest of Georgia to become a NATO member as soon as possible.


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