NATO Adds Albania and Croatia, Rejects Macedonia, Georgia, Ukraine
Despite — or perhaps partly because of — backing from the United States, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has denied membership to Macedonia and rejected a bid to grant Membership Action Plans to put Georgia and Ukraine on a one-year path to membership in the Alliance. BBC:
Nato has confirmed it will not yet offer membership to Georgia or Ukraine after the 26-member alliance was split amid strong objections from Russia. Moscow said Nato’s promise that the ex-Soviet republics would join one day was a “huge strategic mistake”. At a summit in Romania, Macedonia was also denied Nato entry but Albania and Croatia were given the green light.
US and Czech officials agreed to base a missile defence radar on Czech soil, a plan that has also angered Russia. And President Nicolas Sarkozy indicated France would return next year to the Nato military command it left in 1966 in protest at the dominance of US commanders. He also said hundreds of extra French troops would be deployed to Afghanistan, easing fears of a crisis within the Western coalition there.
US President George W Bush had called for Georgia and Ukraine to be allowed to join. But the move was opposed by Germany and France, amid concerns voiced by Russia over Nato’s eastward expansion.
Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a news conference Georgia and Ukraine would become members eventually. The alliance decided not to offer Ukraine and Georgia a membership action plan – a gateway to membership – but agreed on Thursday to review this in December. Georgian diplomats said they were “not happy” with the delay but welcomed the promise of eventual membership.
Macedonian officials said their rejection was a “huge disappointment” that would undermine stability in the Balkans. The US had also called for Macedonia to join but this was strongly opposed by Greece, which has a northern province that is also called Macedonia. It argued that the former Yugoslav republic’s insistence on being known as Macedonia implied a territorial claim.
As the Alliance grows further outside its traditional sphere, accession of new members gets more complicated. There are legitimate concerns over the readiness of all of these prospective members to contribute to the security goals of the Alliance. At the same time, allowing Russia to dictate demands as to the ability of sovereign states to enter into treaties is quite problematic.
And, as Steven Taylor notes, the “Macedonia” situation almost defies logical discourse.
Ultimately, though, this is bad news. I’ll explain why in a longer post