“NATO Does Not Need To Be Everywhere”

The Washington DC-based expert community gathered at the Heritage Foundation to discuss new ways NATO could defend its member states and show more support to non-member countries. Voice of America’s Georgian team were able to catch some exclusive comments regarding this topic and more specifics on Georgia:

George Benitez, Atlantic Council

I think NATO needs to have a more proportionate response to Russia’s threat in Europe. It needs to deploy permanent bases in its frontline states because of the gross nature of threats. And while I do not think NATO should provide Article 5 protection to non-member states, it should help them to more actively increase their defense capabilities, strengthen domestic resilience and help them protect their national sovereignty, because its in NATO’s and in Europe’s interests to keep the national sovereignty of all states in Europe.

A NATO training facility for Georgia was agreed upon at the Wales NATO Summit in 2014. It became operational last year. Now there is a tangible NATO presence in Georgia that did not exist before, and I think such signs of cooperation are good steps for NATO but also positive developments for Tbilisi.

Luke Coffey, Heritage Foundation

First of all, NATO needs to get back to basics, to its original founding document, the Washington Treaty of 1949, and start thinking about preserving territorial defense and the territorial integrity of its member states. NATO does not need to be everywhere, doing everything, but it needs to be able to defend its members’ territory in the north Atlantic region. That said, NATO needs to pursue a policy, and offer the right equipment and troops for its members in this region, for example to the Baltic States where there is a potential for confrontation. But NATO should also keep the door open for countries like Georgia who aspire to join the Alliance some day. We must make sure that Georgia remains on a path towards eventual NATO membership.

I know Georgia and Ukraine are often lumped in the same category but, frankly, they could not be more different. Ukraine is nowhere near that goal, not even close whereas Georgia has been progressing for membership for several years. Now, NATO needs to send a political signal that the NATO enlargement dream is still alive. The Alliance did the right thing to send Montenegro an invitation but it also needs to show that it is serious about Georgia’s membership. I think US and NATO allies could provide advance anti-tank missiles to Georgia to show that it cares about Georgia’s defense. So I think its time to send Georgia a strong signal: “You’re on the right path, be patient, we will get you there - the door is not closed.”

Link: http://www.amerikiskhma.com/a/luke-coffey-jorje-benitez-interviews/3199349.html

Anna Kalandadze

25 February 2016 19:04