August 18, 2008

Georgia and NATO Membership: It is worth it

"Russia has shown us once again how much scorn it has for western style democracy, let us therefore ..."

The Economist takes an in-depth look at the origins and long-terms effects of the war, saying the conflict is more than simply punishing Georgia for its aspirations to join NATO, or even trying to displace Mikheil Saakashvili but “it is about Russia, resurgent and nationalistic, pushing its way back into the Caucasus.”

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel is the latest of the European leaders to stress formally her desire for Georgia, to gain eventual NATO membership. Like Bush, she places democracy and its proliferation first and appears willing to defend the nation because of its adherence to democratic principles and its alliance with the West.

I am firmly of the belief that Georgia should become a part of NATO and have supported its past participation within the complex process that candidacy for membership entails. It is a long arduous route and one that looks at political structures, economic and resource matters and legal characteristics of the state. In becoming a NATO ally, the organization has to ensure firstly that the aspirant nation meets the many criteria specified for membership. Only when it has deemed that the nation has all the qualities of what is expected of a good ally will membership be granted.

To be sure, Georgia is doing an estimable job at developing its democracy in addition to building the necessary institutions and international relationships necessary for successful candidacy and integration with the better part of Europe. This, against a backdrop of trying and well-publicized circumstances. Problem is, Georgia still has many challenges, more reason why NATO membership will bring with it, many tangible benefits. The goals required to realize membership extend well beyond military and defense measures. Georgia will have to achieve and comply with predetermined political and economic outcomes in addition to a demonstrated capacity and yearning to attain specific objectives in the political and economic sphere. This includes the reconciliation of any international, ethnic, or external territorial wrangles hopefully by peaceful means, a commitment to the rule of international law and human rights issues, the ability to bring about democratic control of their armed forces, promote stability and security through economic liberty along with socially just initiatives. All the necessary attributes of a stable, successful and thriving state.

Ultimately, and aside from her own efforts, Georgia’s admission to NATO must be handled with utmost diplomatic sensitivities to avoid triggering another cold war between Russia and the alliance. Perhaps the best way to achieve this long term is to have both NATO and the United States work with, not against the Russians in an attempt to export and sell the wider values of NATO membership and its institutions to Russia and its people in particular. In the interim however, The United States must ensure that Russia’s present objectives do not extend beyond South Ossetia and Abkhazia and weakening the Georgian army. Furthermore, it must see to it that Russian intervention fails to undermine and eventually force the removal of President Mikheil Saakashvili only to be replaced by a Soviet style Putin lackey.

In fact, and as Charles Krauthammer argues, the West can “alter Putin's cost/benefit calculations” through a range of non-military measures:

“Suspend the Nato-Russia Council established in 2002 to help bring Russia closer to the West. Make clear that dissolution will follow suspension. The council gives Russia a seat at the Nato table. Message: Invading neighbouring democracies forfeits the seat … Bar Russian entry to the World Trade Organisation … Dissolve the G-8. Putin's dictatorial presence long made it a farce but no one wanted to upset the bear by expelling it. No need to. The seven democracies simply withdraw. Then immediately announce the reconstitution of the original G-7 … (and) announce a US-European boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi.”

Adds Krauthammer; “All of these steps (except dissolution of the G-8, which should be irreversible) would be subject to reconsideration depending upon Russian action - most importantly and minimally, its withdrawal of troops from Georgia proper to South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The most crucial and unconditional measure, however, is this: reaffirming support for the Saakashvili government and declaring its removal by the Russians would lead to recognition of a government-in-exile. This would instantly be understood as providing us the legal basis for supplying and supporting a Georgian resistance to any Russian-installed regime.”

Russia has shown us once again how much scorn it has for western style democracy, let us therefore reply such that we the West display how much disdain we have for Moscow’s methods and its disrespect for the ultimate guarantor of freedom, the last form of Government – Democracy.


The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Well researched and excellent post as always Otto.

Not only should Georgia become a NATO member but all of the former Soviet sattelites also. This will help to prevent another Russian foray into a soveriegn Nation as being a part of NATO will give the Red Bear pause before he strikes.

I beleive that this invasion was a test by Vald the Invader to see how far he could go and how much he could get away with before serious response started.

He has been sliding toward a rebirth of the USSR for years and the desire to recapture former sattelites has been there all along.

Once KGB always KGB. Plus you can't trust someone with a last name that sounds like a bodily function!

WomanHonorThyself said...

yes Otto!..Russia has shown us once again how much scorn it has for western style democracy...sigh feels like another Cold war doesnt it!

Z said...

WOW, when I heard Russia was hassling POLAND, too, chills went up my back. TOO reminiscent of another time (we thought)

Excellent thinking, otto.....thanks for this. Isn't Krauthammer exceptional, too? Thanks.