Georgia Sticks It to Putin: We Still Want to Join NATO

DAILY BEAST

Published Jun. 21, 2022

Reuters

Georgia says it’s determined to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as soon as it fixes its “territorial problems” with Russia.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili made the announcement at an economic conference in Qatar on Tuesday, telling the crowd that the country’s “motivation is to become a member of NATO.”

But he said Georgian leadership is “not naive” in its ambitions, and that it understands it must first “resolve” issues with its breakaway regions before joining the alliance.

The country has long sought to join NATO, and although it’s considered a close partner to the Western alliance and regularly takes part in allied military drills, plans for accession have largely been viewed with skepticism because thousands of Russian troops are currently stationed in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

“Our government’s policy is to restore territorial integrity and sovereignty through peaceful negotiations. We have not been in contact with [Moscow] since we came to power. We have not had any political consultations since 2012, we have only trade and economic relations,” Garibashvili said.

His comments seem bound to strike a chord with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who has said Moscow would respond “extremely negatively” to Georgia joining the alliance and, shortly before the Feb. 24 full-scale invasion of Ukraine, said Russia would use any means necessary to stop NATO from helping Ukraine to win back territories occupied by Russian proxies.

(Russia made similar arguments to justify its invasion of Georgia in 2008, with then-President Dmitry Medevedev claiming that war had stopped NATO from expanding into former Soviet republics.)

When Garibashvili made his remarks Tuesday, his office had reportedly just received an invitation to an upcoming NATO summit in Madrid from Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The letter, which notes that the meeting comes as Russia has “shattered peace in Europe,” says NATO allies will “forge a new policy on Russia” during the summit. 

Since Georgia was first promised eventual membership in NATO back in 2008, some experts have called for the country to be admitted to the alliance even despite its “territorial issues,” arguing that the breakaway regions could simply be exempt from Article 5, which obligates members to jump to each other’s defense against outside aggression.

Former NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen made this suggestion in 2019, noting that the country “fulfills almost all criteria” to become a NATO member. “I think the way to move beyond that stalemate is to discuss in Georgia whether you will accept an arrangement where NATO’s Article 5 covers only that Georgian territory where the Georgian government has full sovereignty,” he said at the time in an interview with Voice of America.

Moscow has yet to publicly respond to Garibashvili’s NATO overture, with security officials busy in their latest bout of saber-rattling against NATO-member Lithuania on Tuesday.

Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev warned the Baltic country that its citizens would face “serious negative consequences” after authorities there imposed a rail blockade cutting off the transit of Russian goods to the exclave region of Kaliningrad on Saturday.

“Russia will, of course, respond to hostile actions of this kind,” Patrushev told a security meeting, claiming the blockade, which Lithuania imposed in line with EU sanctions, had been “orchestrated by the West against norms and principles of international law.”

. News Editor

6 comments

  1. “orchestrated by the West against norms and principles of international law.” Since when have the Rascists abided by international laws.

    Liked by 4 people

    • At the moment the putinazis are busy murdering Ukrainians, threatening Lithuania with unspecified nasty things and threatening Britain with total elimination by hypersonic missile.
      So I guess a threat to Georgia won’t be far off.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Garibashvili is PM, which is a position that these days holds executive power. He is from the Georgian Dream Party, which positions itself as Social Democratic. The President; Salome Zourabichvili, is head of state, but does not have executive power. She is an independent; an ex-ally of Saakashvili.
    Running things in the background is the billionaire founder of Georgian Dream; Bidzina Ivanishvili, who in the words of Brian Whitmore, is a Russian oligarch with a Georgian name. Brian believes he is a custodian of RuSSian money.
    Saakash himself believes he is a “prisoner of Putin.” And it seems they are trying to kill him.
    So the situation is complicated in Georgia. Notionally under putler’s thumb, Garibashvili seems to have broken out of the party line.
    All I can say is God help Georgia.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Unless NATO goes over to a regular majority vote rule, Georgia will become NATO member maybe in 20 or 30 years, if at all. It won’t certainly help any in the near future, should mafia land decide to attack it too, due to the country’s desire to join the alliance. Or, they could just eject Hungary and Turkey and at least become a somewhat more unified organization.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hungary yes definitely. Turkey must remain. Kick them out and you hand them over to putler.
      There is plenty of support in Turkey for Ukraine. As the LinkedIn guy Mr Ozgen shows. And of course although Erdogan plays both sides, he has helped Ukraine smoke lots of orcs with his Bayraktars. Ukrainians love them.
      Nato should die and be replaced by only by members who honour the original purpose of its creation.
      France, Germany and Italy are by far Georgia and Ukraine’s biggest enemies in Nato, but there are plenty of others.
      I would not trust any European Nato members except Poland, U.K., Pribaltika, Czechia and Slovakia.

      Liked by 3 people

      • It’s an interesting discussion. Recently Atlantic Council put out a paper (before the invasion) and that think tank put forward a hypothesis that in 15-20 years Turkey would be the regional economic and military powerhouse. Just an FYI

        Liked by 1 person

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