Thursday, July 23, 2009

Biden Supports Georgia in NATO

In a visit to Georgia, VP Joe Biden gave a speech at the parliament in Tblisi where he reiterated US support for Georgia joining NATO. The US has long supported NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine, and the issue became even more of a hot topic issue after the events of last summer. After the South Ossetian War, it puzzles me as to why this is even still being considered as a wise strategic move.

What value do Georgia and Ukraine give to the United States? I suppose there is the argument that having NATO on Russia's doorstep will ensure Russian oil gets pumped uninterrupted into Europe, but this is a weak reason to rush these countries into a security alliance. In the case of Ukraine, most of the country do not even wish to join the alliance, so we should not force a security agreement on the country if they do not want it.

Now on to Georgia. I think it's a very persuasive argument that Georgia is exactly the kind of ally the United States should try to avoid. We already know that the country's leadership is willing to act in an irrational manner, as indicated by the attempt to recapture Abkhazia and South Ossetia. And if Saakashvili were to do something rash again and provoke another conflict with Russia, should the United States openly risk war with a large (and admittedly) weakened giant? The sane answer would be no, and I think the American people would be very hesitant to go to war in a place where our security interests are weaker than they were in Iraq.

The future of NATO should be very subdued; we've seen it come under criticism for being ineffectual in Afghanistan, so I think very serious questions need to be asked with regards to its future as an organization. Do we need an organization to check Russian power in Europe? Not anymore, that need died with the Berlin Wall. The United States would undoubtedly be safer if it pulled back from NATO, and there was no longer an obligation to rush into war to protect non existent strategic interests.

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