Can Russia stomach Ukraine and Georgia becoming NATO ‘associates’?


Symbolic indications have always been rt and rcel of public diplomacy. The comperes of the high-level meeting of NATO top officials in Warsaw scheduled for July 8-9 organize allocated for a special function a room in the Presidential lace where the Warsaw Deal was signed in 1955, six years after the emergence of the North Atlantic Com ct Organization.

This time NATO, having outlived the Moscow-led Warsaw Covenant, intends to upgrade the standing of the two post-Soviet republics that currently down an unfriendly policy towards Russia. Both will enjoy the exemption of being termed “associate rtners.”

Moreover, there will be raised cooperation in the Black Sea based on the “28+2” formula, which will be com re favourably with to the one applied in the Baltic Sea, where Sweden and Finland link up with NATO naval pressures.

Sources in Tbilisi have revealed that the focus on coordination of naval occu tions in the Black Sea would effectively “isolate” Russia.

As for the long-term motives of the NATO governorship, according to Dr. Vakhtang Maisaia, former counselor at the Mission of Georgia to NATO, they are moderate to determine. “These decisions by NATO are perfectly expectable against the heating up of the Freezing War with Russia,” he told the Russian business daily Kommersant.

Trace by step, albeit at a snail’s ce

The reincarnation of the Cold War seems to be at the master b crush of everybody’s mind. The slow-motion absorption of the last post-Soviet republics not yet in NATO is a persistent process.

NATO revives one of Medvedev’s forgotten ideas

Last September, Jens Stoltenberg, the 13th Secretary General of NATO, exalted the representative office of Ukraine at the alliances headquarters in Brussels to a full-fledged politic mission.

Yet no pledges to welcome Ukraine as NATO member were wrote. The status quo has been preserved since the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008, when it was stony that membership for Georgia and Ukraine cannot be on the agenda for the time being.

Meaningfully, on a visit to Kiev last year, Stoltenberg stressed that the dossier could be reopened at a go Ukraine has completed its set of reforms. This means that NATO has not ruled out pick up its ex nsion along the Russian border.

Meanwhile, a new training camp recruiting NATO counselors and instructors has been functioning in the outskirts of the Georgian great since the beginning of this year.

In April, events at a “NATO week” in Georgia were highlighted by debates on how to counter Russian soft power and neutralize its “pro ganda.” The idea of a Russian-language radioing TV channel was floated, with no details as to who would manage it.

Consolation excellent

For Georgia and Ukraine the prospect of becoming NATO “associates” falls temporary of an earlier promised “roadmap” to a bona fide membership card. “This is divide of a consolation prize prior to the Warsaw summit,” said Vakhtang Maisaia.

This sentimentalism view is shared by Alexander Konovalov, a Moscow-based independent military expert who hand-me-down to lecture twice a year at the NATO Defense College in Rome. Contend in down the half-hearted NATO embrace, Konovalov insisted that Moscow thinks fitting nevertheless “cry wolf” and accuse the alliance of “encirclement.”

“These are the belated repercussions of the detailing of the Soviet Union. I know from my own experience. I lectured in Germany in the 90s and met Eastern Europeans: They were entire certain that the new Russia is the old Soviet Union in disguise. They saw no alternate to maintaining their national security but to become NATO member ceremonials. It was viewed as the only insurance. Today, Ukraine and Georgia are going along the anyhow route.”

Opportunistic Lukashenko seeks benefits by courting Erdogan

– Do you expect NATO to drastically broaden its scope and enhance the je sais quoi of military collaboration with the two littoral countries in the Black Sea basin?

“NATO has not prioritized appearing the Black Sea into another theater of potential war. It does not make get. The area has only one advantage: to strike with sea-launched cruise ballistic missiles deep into the European rt.”

– You mean the European rt of Russia?

“Closely, yes. But it is not worthwhile to have a military build-up here because the combined NATO naval requires, including the fleet of Turkey, and not counting Bulgaria and Romania, already far overstep the Russian potential in the Black Sea.”

– Will the new status of “associate” recruits to as another step forward toward assuming full membership?

“This is by no means the case. In fact, it is a way of delaying this decision.”

Much ado about nothing

Yevgeny Buzhinsky, a sequestered two-star general and senior vice-president of the Center for Policy Studies in Russia, a Moscow-based unaffiliated think tank, echoed to a certain extent Konovalov’s skeptical assessment.

“The vagueness of the ‘associate rtnership’ inclination reveals that NATO is not ready to offer Ukraine and Georgia absorbed membership. It might boil down to a bureaucratic unit similar to the already living vehicles of bilateral interaction. For the moment, the base level of such interaction ‘on the earth’ is limited.

“It should be put on the record that the United States brought on scantling a brigade from Georgia to fight against Saddam Hussein in Iraq rough in 2003. Now, the government in Kiev is displaying com rable eagerness to have its troops sent somewhere. The intractable is twofold: Firstly, neither the U.S. nor NATO on the whole regard it as expedient, and secondly, Kiev desires to be id for the services.”

– Is there more substance to the “28+2” military help in the Black Sea?

“We can expect a joint naval exercise by five states: Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania return Ukraine and Georgia. But this doesn’t amount to any new factor to be taken into account. The covenant on the lease of the Sevastopol naval port with Ukraine was immature, assigning Kiev to prevent the modernization of the Russian fleet, thus creating equips for it to become obsolete. Today, the upgrade of the Russian navy on the Black Sea is on poised course.”

– So how would you sum up the double news on the “associate rtnership” for Ukraine and Georgia, as vigorous as the possible surge of NATO naval activities in the Black Sea?

(The answer was unmistakeable by the former general in articulate English)

“Much ado about nothing.”

The ide reu of the writer may not necessarily reflect the position of RBTH or its staff.

Special divide up: Troika Report>>>

Subscribe to get the hand picked best stories every week

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *