Thursday, August 14, 2008

Why Georgia Does Not Belong in NATO

William Pfaff in the IHT; Nowhere in what I have read of the comment on this small but important war has it been explained [ital] why [unital] neither Georgia nor Ukraine should belong to NATO. They carry with them ready-made wars that NATO neither can nor should be expected to deal with. They are both ethnically and culturally divided nations whose histories are of struggle between or among their component parts.

In Georgia it is between the linguistically distinct enclaves that in the past were Russian and wish again to be Russian, and the majority of Georgians who want to be part of the West, but are also determined to dominate their rebellious territories.

If they would peacefully renounce those territories, an ethnically and culturally united Georgia would have every right to demand NATO membership. But as things are now (or were, until the last few days), Mikheil Saakashvili wants his country inside NATO to protect him from the consequences of forcing those dissident territories to remain under Georgian domination. NATO has no business doing such a thing, and as Russia supports the rebel enclaves, NATO membership for Georgia has war with Russia built into it. As we have just seen.

In Ukraine, the problem is between a culturally and historically Orthodox and Russian-speaking Ukraine, and a westernized and Uniate Catholic Ukraine, whose ties are to Poland and Lithuania. Westernized Ukraine is trying to use NATO to help it dominate Russian Ukraine. This again has war built into it, and NATO must stay away from a conflict that is an unresolved and possibly irresolvable internal Ukrainian problem.

NATO is extremely lucky that Germany and France blocked it earlier this year from offering membership to Georgia. Had they not done so, NATO today would either have threatened Russia with war this week, or its Article Five guarantee to come to the military aid of any of its members under attack would have been discredited.