THE DIALECTICS OF DEFEAT: NATO'S 'NO' TO TBILISI & KIEV
"We reaffirm all elements of the decisions regarding Ukraine and Georgia taken by our Heads of State and Government in Bucharest. Both countries have made progress, yet both have significant work left to do. Therefore, we have decided to provide further assistance to both countries in implementing needed reforms as they progress towards NATO membership.
Through a performance based process NATO will maximise its advice, assistance, and support for their reform efforts in the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Commission and NATO-Georgia Commission, which have a central role to play in supervising the process set in hand at the Bucharest Summit. In this context, we have decided to amend the NATO-Ukraine Charter on a Distinctive Partnership together with our Ukrainian partners to reflect this central role of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, as is already the case in the NATO-Georgia Commission. We have also decided to reinforce the NATO information and liaison offices in Kyiv and Tbilisi. Finally, without prejudice to further decisions which must be taken about MAP, we have agreed that under the NATO-Georgia Commission and NATO-Ukraine Commission, Annual National Programmes will be developed to help Georgia and Ukraine advance their reforms, which will be annually reviewed by the Allies".
Final Communique: "Meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Foreign Ministers held at the NATO headquarters, Brussels," 3 December 2008, in www.nato.int.
"As to MAP, again, we did not take up a decision about MAP. A lot has transpired since Bucharest. We did want to reaffirm the Bucharest decisions, and we have done that. But I think the really important thing here is that everyone knows that this is going to be a long process. And the practical steps that we can take within the Georgia – the NATO-Georgia Commission and the NATO-Russia Commission to help these states progress toward the goals of Bucharest, I think that’s the new element here. And we’re very pleased that that was accepted by the alliance....
It’s also the case when one talks about Georgia and Ukraine, Bucharest clearly set the terms, clearly talked about the eventual membership for Georgia and Ukraine. And a lot has transpired and not just – let’s be frank, not just in terms of the invasion of Georgia, but also a lot has transpired in those two countries. And I think we all want to concentrate on helping to solidify and consolidate their democratic governments. And to help them to do that, I do think that the engagement through the commissions will help them, and most certainly the engagement through the commissions will help them to answer a number of the questions that countries have about how to move them forward in accordance with Bucharest".
American Secretary of State, Dr. Rice, 2nd December 2008, "Remarks at NATO Headquarters", http://www.state.gov"
"You can argue as much as you want as long as you obey." Friedrich der Grosse.
Notwithstanding the attempt at putting an optimistic gloss on it, the fact of the matter is, that the US administration, has suffered a diplomatic reverse, admittedly one that was readily apparent for sometime beforehand, in NATO's decision on the 3rd of this month in refusing to approve Georgia and Ukraine for MAP membership. MAP -'military action programme' is an alliance programme, which is a stepping stone to eventual NATO membership, was as per the Americans, virtually promised and thus certain for both Kiev & Tbilisi approximately seven months ago, at NATO's meeting in Bucharest. We were told then, by official Washington, that notwithstanding the caveats coming from both Paris, Berlin, and Roma at the time, that MAP status would be given to both countries one year later. Aka, this month. As the above comments show, the Americans have had to retract their earlier promises, and, Tbilisi in particular has been forced to eat humble pie:
"Unfortunately, this is not some big news for us. We were waiting for [a] further decision about this [membership] . . . we were expecting more. It is a sort of disappointment for us....
Unfortunately, it is an unofficial [veto]. I don’t know how we should convince them. That is essential for us . . . we don’t know what will be tomorrow [since Russian troops are still on Georgian territory]."
Khatuna Mshvidobadze, Deputy Director of the Centre on NATO, Tbilisi, in "Georgia: Moving on Toward NATO, Without a Map," 3 December 2008, in www.eurasia.net.
The upshot is that while Russia is in a slightly weakened position due to the international economic crisis which has hit it exceptionally hard, it still was able to rely upon its partners inside NATO, id est., Germany, France, and Italia to block the proposed move by the USA (on Russia's sudden economic weakness, see: "Russian Economy," in www.ft.com). And, while Dr. Rice can crow all she wants about Russia having suffered diplomatically from its little war with Georgia, the fact of the matter is that the denial of MAP membership to both Ukraine and Georgia, was immensely added by the mere fact of the Kavkaz war this summer just past. Try as she might, there is nothing that the outgoing failure at Foggy Bottom, can say to the contrary.