US BMD “closer to Caucasus”. What is in store for Georgia?21.09.2009 | 09:02
US President Barack Obama abandoned the idea of BMD deployment in the Czech Republic and Poland. Russian president Dmitry Medvedev stated in his reply to Washington that he "had appreciated the responsible approach of the States" in solving the issue controversial for many countries remarking that now Russia was ready for further talks on a joint mechanism of missile non-proliferation in the world with the USA. Does that mean the long-discussed "reset" is working? How about Georgia then, a point of dispute between Moscow and Washington? How will the new US BMD system "somewhere closer to Caucasus" affect Georgia?
The front-page news of all today's newspapers - both Russian and Western - is the statement made by US President Barack Obama on Washington's rejection to deploy missile defense elements in Poland and the Czech Republic.
The decision adopted by Washington was backed in Great Britain and Germany. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in his reply to Washington stated he had "appreciated the responsible approach of the States" in solving this issue controversial to many countries remarking that now Russia is ready for further talks on a joint mechanism of missile non-proliferation in the world with the USA.
However not all are unanimous evaluating this decision. Poland's ex president Lech Walesa stated the US new administration had turned its back on traditional allies in Central Europe. ""It's not that we need the shield, but it's about the way we're treated here", - The Wall Street Journal quotes the ex leader.
Russian newspapers also speculate on the motives of Washington's decision and its consequences. For instance Rossyiskaya Gazeta writes that Obama's administration is developing a compromise plan for deployment of US weapons in Europe leaving out the clauses arousing Russia's irritation. "All these steps show that Washington understands how important it is to be on good terms with Russia", - the newspaper remarks.
Vedomosti business daily also believes that BMD cop-out is an obvious concession following the "reset" between the countries. "This moment is extremely favorable for extension of military and political cooperation between Russia and the USA», - Vedomosti write.
The foreign press is less optimistic. The Telegraph believes that the States' decision to change BMD program in Europe may provoke "Vladimir Putin's signature smile". "This decision allows the Russiam PM to considerably enhance his influence at home and abroad", - the newspaper thinks expressing the opinion that "Russia interpreted the USA's decision on BMD the way they had long wanted to: the White House takes Russia as the biggest empire in the world". "It's like all holidays began for the Kremlin at one time", - the newspaper sneers.
The Times suggests two scenarios - an ideal one and a "nightmare". In the first case, the newspaper believes, Russia-US bilateral relations as well as their interaction in global politics will improve. At worst Moscow will consider Obama as a weak politician believing no efforts are needed to achieve its goals.
Such a great variety of opinions on the issue that concerns the world community is understandable. What will these possible tectonic shifts bring to geopolitics of Georgia that has been a sticking point on the way to warming between Moscow and Russia? Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama failed to agree on the Georgian issue at their meeting in Moscow.
It is important to note here that the White House has not abandoned the idea of BMD deployment in Europe - only the approach has been changed. Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee James Cartwright stated that the BMD systems would be deployed "closer to Caucasus". Georgia has already made some loud statements on the subject.
David Darchiashvili representing the parliamentary committee for European integration believes there will be no Russia-NATO thaw at Georgia's expense. The alliance's "hand lending policy" will serve to "civilize" Russia, as he vividly illustrated his idea talking to the journalists. "Whatever civil policy NATO might pursue this serves to the only purpose: to make Russia more civilized. This will not happen at Georgia's expense or in prejudice of the alliance's principles. These principles were declared more than once - open doors and international security cooperation", - Darchiashvili is quoted by Georgian media.
Some experts even believe it's the right time to sell Georgia's territory to the USA considering Georgia as a crucial location for US BMD systems as it is allegedly more efficient to be protected against medium-range missiles from its territory. It was Georgian expert Kakha Gogolasvhili's comment on the decision of the States to amend its BMD deployment plans in Eastern Europe and a hint of US General Cartwright that the BMD might be located "closer to Caucasus" as reported by Rosbalt.
As the expert told Rustavi-2 TV the BMD's efficiency in Caucasus is crucial for "the European states near the Black Sea, primarily these are countries of Central and Eastern Europe". It is almost important, Gogolashvili believes, that in case the US BMD is located in Georgia "the level of country's security will increase".