The active transatlantic flirt between Europe and the USA was re-energised after World War II and lasted until the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Tracing the story back, from Georgia’s perspective transatlantic cooperation began with the establishment of the Western European Union (WEU), primarily against Germany.
Subsequently, US foreign policy underwent several abrupt changes, ushered in by growing concern over the increasing power of the USSR as an actor that managed to succeed where Hitler’s Germany had not. Consequently, the principle of mutual defence was agreed, leading to the establishment of NATO – and the gates to the era of the Cold War were opened wide.
After the USSR dissolved, former Soviet Republics embarked on their own independent nation-building processes, significantly impeded in separatist regions by civil and military conflicts orchestrated by the newly established Russian Federation, in order to keep particular strategic regions under its strategic control. Even today, 26 years since regaining their sovereignty, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan face and have faced multiple challenges engendered by the conflicts fostered and supported by the Russian Federation in order to keep NATO and the WEU away from Russia’s claimed “sphere of influence”.
Notably, the NATO-Warsaw Summit marked a major change in the Alliance’s policy to strengthen the eastern flank. Earlier, at the NATO summit in Wales
On top of that, the
Due to these political dynamics, Georgia’s strategic significance has greatly increased. First, its physical location between Turkey and Russia makes Georgia an important partner. Second, while aspiring to be a member of NATO, the country supports and contributes to NATO’s security architecture within the Black Sea region. Third, as part of the NATO Response Force, Georgia hosts the multinational US Army Europe-led exercise, Noble Partner. Noble Partner exercises were established in 2015 in order to train service members from the Georgian Armed Forces and NATO member states for the NRF and to assist Georgian troops in improving their interoperability with NATO military units. In a nutshell, the exercise enables Georgia to comply with, interoperate with and contribute to the NRF.
In contrast to the above-mentioned political dynamics, the world operates on multiple levels. Aside from European security arrangements, the U.S. is facing a strategic shift from Europe to Asia that creates a significant uncertainty about Russia, and so the idea of enhancing European military capacity is discussed at length within the EU.
But, before unleashing the EU’s military potential, a well-remembered promise made at the NATO Bucharest Summit about the Ukraine and Georgia joining the membership of NATO (a process stalled by Russia’s actions) should be revisited as a matter of trust. Furthermore, reversing any apparent loss of trust between Russia and NATO means recognizing Russia’s “sphere of influence”, which directly challenges Europe’s own security arrangements and the logic of Western sanctions on Russia. For instance, President Obama’s attempt to rebuild trust between the West and Russia resulted only in the latter’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent involvement in Syria.
Originally published in European Security and Defence magazine
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