There’s been a lot of talk recently, both in this space and elsewhere, about the hegemonic overreaching of the United States in its support for Georgian membership in NATO, as well of its backing of Georgia in the conflict with Russia over South Ossetia.
Here’s a reminder that there are other interested parties who, for their own pragmatic reasons, are just as keen to pull Georgia into NATO. According to Al Arabiya:
Georgia to Become NATO Member: Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday in the Georgian capital that the ex-Soviet republic, currently mired in conflict with Russia, will join NATO.
“Georgia will become a member of NATO if it wants to — and it does want to,” she said before talks with President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi.
It was one of the strongest statements yet of support for Georgia’s NATO membership bid, which is fiercely opposed by Russia.
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Merkel was in Tbilisi to support Saakashvili and press for the withdrawal of Russian troops who attacked Georgia on April 8 to repulse an offensive by Georgian troops against a Moscow-backed separatist region.
Moscow is furious at Georgia’s attempt to join NATO. The Western military alliance is divided over how fast to accept Georgia, but has indicated that membership is a matter of when, not if.
Why would the Chancellor of Germany want Georgia to join NATO? Why help those foolish Americans poke at the bear?
Russia, as you may recall, has a strong double-handed grip on the manly generative organs of the EU through its control of the gas pipeline into Europe. This little maneuver has given the Russians a lot of leverage over European policy. When the EU displeases the Kremlin, it’s only necessary for the bear to reach a paw towards the handle of the energy spigot, and the Europeans can be expected to fall into the line.
One assumes that Ms. Merkel doesn’t like to have her options limited in this manner, so she’s ready to bring the Georgians and their pipeline under the NATO umbrella, knowing full well that the United States will bear the brunt of any subsequent enforcement.
It’s a game that various European countries have played very effectively over the last few decades, with the most recent examples being Bosnia and Kosovo.
Bring the Americans in to do your dirty work. No European blood has to be shed. You get to be a continent of “peace”, and thus retain the moral high ground, but you still get a big slice of the pie.
Besides, American help is so much cheaper than any other available option.
Hat tip: TB.