Thursday, October 24, 2013

NATO Won't Take In Ukraine and Georgia

Two nations that had wanted into NATO won't be joining next year. Russian opposition trumps their bids.

Ukraine and Georgia are still out in the cold:

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Ukraine decided to end its long-standing bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization while Georgia remained interested but would not become a member in 2014, Russia's RIA Novosti news service reported.

This is instructive:

Officials said NATO-Russia cooperation, improving capabilities and progress in Afghanistan were the top agenda items when the alliance's defense ministers meet Tuesday and Wednesday.

Angering Russia by pushing into more of the old Soviet Union is being ruled out because NATO lacks military capabilities and doesn't want to risk Russia cutting off our supply lines to Afghanistan.

Remember, that's what Russia has counted on all along.

Georgia has no place else to go, of course. So they'll keep trying.

And I'll admit that I don't want Georgia into the alliance until they give up hopes of taking back their lost provinces that Russia took from Georgia in the August 2008 war. We shouldn't want a new member intent on drawing their bigger friends into a war with Russia to reclaim people who seem foolish enough to prefer Russian control. Let those in Abkhazia and South Ossetia enjoy their new friends and focus on making Georgia prosper to give their future generations a reason to regret their forefathers' choice in 2008, eh?

Ukraine is interesting. They apparently won't try again for membership. Of course, I thought their wishes were moot since Ukraine renewed the Russian lease for Crimean naval bases. I thought NATO rules don't allow member states to host military bases of anyone not in NATO.

Indeed, I had to grudgingly tip my hat to some truly smart diplomacy over that one.

I have to wonder if Russia will now feel free to pursue Anschluss with Ukraine--or at least pull off a Sudetenland victory by absorbing the more ethnic Russian eastern portions of Ukraine--knowing that Ukraine lacks bigger friends.

Ukraine might regret giving up their nuclear weapons that they inherited when the Soviet Union fragmented.