Ukraine and Georgia: Entry into NATO Put Off Indefinitely
By F. William Engdahl, 4 December 2008
NATO ministers in Brussels have decided to ignore US wishes and to
delay the admission of Ukraine and of Georgia in effect indefinitely in what
the Washington Administration is sheepishly trying to claim is a positive
'compromise.' The decision, following EU member state alarm last August over
the prospect of European states having to go to war at some point against
Russia over an incalculable despot in the Caucasus or in Kiev who decided to
provoke Moscow to react, was simply too much.
The Germans have a far too deep and painful collective memory of the
last war with Russia to be willing to treat such a prospect as lightly as Condi
Rice or Washington seems willing to do. The decision deepens growing tectonic
fault lines across the Atlantic, as the 'Made in USA' financial crisis deepens
and the dollar looks more and more vulnerable once hedge fund repatriation
effects by yearend wind down. The year 2009 will be clearly more turbulent even
than 2008 in world geopolitics.
The Brussels decision is the more remarkable as an indication of the
slipping power of Washington over European NATO members. The December 3 NATO
Foreign Ministers Brussels meeting issued what to the naïve observer might
appear a masterpiece of diplomacy. They unanimously agreed to sidestep the
usual Membership Action Plan vote for Georgia and Ukraine, the first concrete
step towards NATO full membership. Instead, NATO will expand the activities of
two existing bodies - the Nato-Georgia Commission and the Nato-Ukraine
Commission - basically to oversee the same reforms as would have been contained
in the action plan. As well NATO ministers agreed in their communique to renew
ties with Russia 'in a conditional and graduated manner.'
Translated into real political language, Washington has undergone a
stunning setback in its agenda of encircling Russia with NATO. Despite the fact
President-elect Obama retained Bush Administration Defense Secretary Robert
Gates, and named a person to be Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who is
strongly on record for bringing Georgia and Ukraine into NATO, key European
NATO members, led by Germany and France, blocked what must be a unanimous
The real reason for the refusal is the growing realization within the
European officialdom that it was Georgia's incalculable President, Mikhail
Saakashvili, and not Moscow who initiated the adventure of sending Georgian
troops to try to occupy the breakaway province of South Ossetia, that on
evident encouragement of Washington.
On November 28 in Georgian official Parliamentary Commission testimony,
on the background to the August events, which saw Russian troops march into
parts of Georgia to repel the attack on Ossetians, Saakashvili made the
surprising announcement that he had indeed initiated the war.
According to Saakashvili, the attack on the South Ossetian capital,
which involved night shelling of residential areas with multiple rocket
launcher systems, was aimed at protecting Georgian citizens. He said it was a
response to Russia's "intervention" in the region. "We did start
military action to take control of Tskhinvali and other unruly areas. But we
took this difficult decision to fend off our territory from intervention and
save the people who were dying. It was inevitable," Saakavili said.
The Georgian President claims Russia moved tanks into South Ossetian
territory before Georgia launched its attack. He said: "The issue is not
about why Georgia started military action – we admit we started it. The issue
is about whether there was another chance when our citizens were being killed?
We tried to prevent the intervention and fought on our own territory."
Saakashvili's surprising admission came only hours after the testimony
of Georgia's former Ambassador to Moscow, Erosi Kitsmarishvili, who testified
for three hours before he was shouted down by pro-Saakashvili members of
A former confidant of President Saakashvili, Kitsmarishvili said
Georgian officials told him in April that they planned to start a war in Abkhazia,
one of two breakaway regions at issue in the war, and had received a green
light from the United States government to do so. He said the Georgian
government later decided to start the war in South Ossetia, the other region,
and continue into Abkhazia.
He refused to name the officials who he said had told him about planned
actions in Abkhazia, saying that identifying them would endanger their lives.
The official US line has been that they had 'warned' Mr. Saakashvili against
taking action in the two enclaves, where Russian peacekeepers were stationed.
Kitsmarishvili's testimony in front of the parliamentary commission,
was shown live on Georgian television. The chairman of the commission, Paata
Davitaia, said he would initiate a criminal case against Kitsmarishvili for
"professional negligence." Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria, who
was called on short notice to comment on Kitsmarishvili's testimony, called the
allegations "irresponsible and shameless fabrication," and said they
were "either the result of a lack of information or the personal
resentment of a man who has lost his job and wants to get involved in
politics." Mr. Kitsmarishvili was fired in September by the president.
Mr. Kitsmarishvili walked out amid the furor on Tuesday. "They
don't want to listen to the truth," he told reporters. Two days later,
Saakashvili proved Kitsmarishvili right.
As I detail at some length in my book, due out in January 2009, Full
Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order, the strategy
of bringing Georgia and Ukraine into NATO is part of a far larger and more
dangerous strategic long-term plan of Washington to ultimately encircle,
confront and dismember Russia as a functioning state. Russia, even more than China,
is the most formidable obstacle to a Washington-centered sole Superpower Pax
Russia's understandable refusal to abandon its nuclear strike force in
the face of US violations of agreements made in 1989 between the Soviet Union's
Mikhail Gorbachev and then-US Secretary of State James Baker III, namely that
NATO would not expand east to the former states of the Warsaw Pact or USSR,
presents a dilemma for any planned sole US superpower domination.
The Bush Presidency was a raw attempt to remedy this by brute military
force. The militarization of Iraq and the Middle East oilfields was but one
step. The creation of a US 'missile shield' in Poland and the Czech Republic,
was another, a major step.
The misnamed 'missile defense shield' would be in reality an offensive
capability that when installed by perhaps 2012, that will put the world,
especially Western Europe on a hair-trigger to nuclear war, combined with entry
of Russian border states Georgia and Ukraine would simply present Moscow with
de facto defeat. This is not about Russia returning to old Soviet-style rule
under Putin or Medvedev. It's about the ultimate survival of Russia as a
nation, as Moscow rightly sees it, not about the fine points of democracy.
No one in either Berlin, Paris, London nor Brussels, and certainly not
in Washington, is ignorant of that reality. European NATO members are
increasingly nervous about the prospect of a military confrontation with
Russia. Last August's swift Russian response to act in aid of South Ossetians
against the Georgian invasion sent a reality shock through Europe. Neither
Germany nor France wish to admit unstable states like Georgia or Ukraine only
to be forced to act militarily in their defense in event of a repeat of the
madness of last August.
That, simply stated, is the real, unspoken reason that Washington on
December 3 in Brussels was forced to accept a face-saving compromise. The NATO
membership of Georgia and Ukraine to all intent and purposes is dead. As one
NATO military official stated, 'Nato has lost the glue that once held it
The statement of Rice following the NATO meeting was telling. She was
forced to tell press, '…there is a long road ahead for both Georgia and Ukraine
to reach those standards. The United States stands resolutely for those
standards, meaning that there should be no shortcuts to membership of NATO.'
motorcade shoot was 'Georgia stunt'
Further adding to the atmosphere of almost Laurel & Hardy comic
farce around Georgia's erratic President, who was filmed shortly after the
Russian invasion in August by BBC actually swallowing and chewing on his tie,
it has now emerged that an alleged shooting incident a week before the Brussels
NATO meeting, involving the motorcade of the Georgian and Polish presidents was
a staged 'stunt.'
Special services in Warsaw say the alleged attack near the South
Ossetian border was a provocation staged by the Georgians. A report by Poland's
Internal Security Agency (Agencja Bezpieczenstwa Wewnetrznego – ABW), published
by the Dziennik newspaper, claims Georgia staged the incident for propaganda
The incident took place on Sunday evening when Georgian President
Saakasvili was showing his Polish counterpart Lech Kaczynski the area near the
border with South Ossetia. After the convoy stopped at a checkpoint, there was
gunfire, which the Georgians claimed was an 'attack by Russian troops.'
Lech Kaczynski's personal security chief was dismissed. Colonel
Krzysztof Olszowiec was accused of failing to ensure proper security for the
president during his trip to Georgia. Olszowiec was dismissed despite
objections from Kaczynski, according to the Polish media.
The trip to the border area with Russian-backed South Ossetia was the
result of a last-minute invitation from Saakashvili, according to Polish
Foreign Ministry spokesman Piotr Paskowski.
Initially, Warsaw blamed Russia for the incident. But now Polish
security forces say it was staged by Tbilisi. Russia strongly denied the
allegations, saying Tbilisi was behind it. President Kaczynski confirmed that
shooting had taken place but stopped short of blaming anyone. Russia's position
has now been supported by Poland's ABW, who said "the shots fired near the
cars of Georgian and Polish president were a Georgian provocation". The
Polish document points out that Saakashvili kept on smiling after the first
shots and his bodyguards didn't react. The report also highlights another
suspicious fact, namely, that the bus carrying journalists was instructed to
travel in front of the motorcade, while the car with Kaczynski's own bodyguards
was pushed back by Georgian soldiers. The result was that they were not in a
position to witness the alleged shooting.
All in all it might be that Saakashvili's tenure as President faces
major internal challeges for his bent to undertake such reckless stunts. The
Obama White House will inherit a plate full of geopolitical problems in Europe
next January 21.