NATO has expanded to the Balkans. Georgia was encouraged by Northern Macedonia’s joining the Alliance. Tbilisi considers this a good sign.
The Ambassador of Georgia to NATO, Alexander Maisuradze, is even more optimistic. According to the him, the signing of the accession protocol with Northern Macedonia means that the Alliance remains committed to the Open Door Policy. Besides, Mr. Maisuradze notes that this policy has concrete results:
“This process is also important for other countries aspiring to join NATO, including Georgia. It encourages us and confirms that the doors of the Alliance are open and Georgia will also enter this door. There will be a great many events during the whole 2019. Joint NATO exercises will be held in Georgia. Besides there will be a military committee visit. These events are really important and confirm that the Alliance supports Georgia’s membership.”
Actually, President Salome Zurabishvili estimated the current situation in a more realistic way. She openly declared that Georgia should not think about the MAP (the Membership Action Plan).
According to experts, Georgia should not think about MAP because since 1994 it has been trapped in the popular NATO PfP program – Partnership for Peace.
According to the NATO experts the main tasks of the PfP program are to remove concerns of those post-socialist states that will never become NATO members and prepare for membership in NATO those countries which NATO decided to accept.
The criteria allowing to become a member of NATO were determined randomly, and the opinion of Washington played a decisive role in it.
For example, Romania, which was economically, militarily, democratically, and politically inferior to Ukraine until 2014, became a NATO member in 2004 and an EU member in 2007. In 2009, Albania was accepted into NATO. It has been backyards of Europe, but now it is among the first waiting for EU membership. Only in 2008 Washington tried to move the Membership Action Plan for Ukraine and Georgia at the Bucharest NATO summit but France and Germany blocked this initiative as they did not want to spoil relations with Russia.
In 1994, the West has not decided yet what to do with the post-socialist space. Meanwhile, both the former countries of the socialist bloc and the former Soviet republics were aspiring to join the Western structures, thereby seeing an opportunity to solve their socio-economic, military, and political problems. So, initially the PfP program had to “busy” countries rushing into NATO with mastering some mechanism that allowed to make them compliant with the criteria of membership for decades.
Another important point was that within the PfP program countries cooperated with NATO on an individual basis. In this way the West prevented the creation of groups of special interest, such as the Visegrad Four, which had already created at that time (which was initially considered as a mechanism for joint accession to the EU and NATO).
In general, thanks to PfP program, the West got time to determine its strategy for the countries of the former socialist bloc. At the same time, their wishes were not rejected immediately. Moreover, there was a mechanism which made it possible to access any country to NATO at any moment, as well as to reject the NATO accession of any country under a specious excuse.
The PfP program originally presented as a mechanism to prepare potential candidates for NATO requirements just keeps countries in orbit as junior partners state as NATO does not intend to access them.
This is how Georgia has been fed with promises for so many years.
Of course, Georgia can take a new name such as “Nothern Georgia” (it is reference to Northern Macedonia) to please the West. A joke is a joke, but this won’t help Georgia anyway…