August 11, 2008
On his blog, Nikolas Gvosdev points out that Bush’s push for Georgia to join NATO may have played a significant role in President Saakashvili’s decision to try to gain control of South Ossetia by force.
The reasons for keeping Georgia out of NATO. Rather than being more open and honest, a number of European leaders searched for excuses so as to avoid having to say no outright. One of them was that Georgia could not be considered for NATO membership until it had resolved the separatist conflicts and established its territorial integrity. Perhaps the feeling was that Abkhazia and Ossetia would end up being like the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus—an “eternally frozen” conflict. There are indications that one of the reasons for this operation, from the Georgian side, was to begin to restore the country’s territorial integrity so as to remove this objection to Georgia’s NATO membership.
Finally, I hope that there was nothing done by the U.S. that someone in Georgia could have considered to be a “wink” or a “nod” for this.
Remember April Glaspie? Washington has a bad habit of making ambiguous, contradictory statements that can lead to unnecessary conflicts that last for decades.
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