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Georgia euphorized14.11.2011 | 19:41
Despite the fact that the visit of NATO general secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen was of no practical effect, Tbilisi burst into euphoria with experts heralding Georgia's prompt NATO accession. GeorgiaTimes correspondent asked Felix Stanevsky, head of the Caucasus department at the Institute of the CIS countries to comment whether such hopes have grounds.
"Ah, it's so easy to deceive me!.. I'm glad myself to be deceived". Euphoria that covered Georgia after the visit of NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen shows that sometimes there is no need to deceive if there is a strong desire to be in error. Rasmussen gave no hope with regard to Georgia's NATO entry, though it made local experts interpret his evasive words as bright prospects. Hardly had the secretary general departed, when Georgian mass media burst out all emotions on the matter. By all appearances, happy tears will shine on newspaper pages for a long time, and comments will hang like noodles on ears of naïve readers.
"I would point out two factors. First that Georgia has been given full support over the issues it is interested in concerning territorial integrity from the point of view of NATO entry. On the other hand, Rasmussen told about specific directions NATO wants Georgia to pursue reforms in to meet NATO standards and have the integration process accelerated", - is Vasil Chkoidze's comment on Rasmussen's fruitless visit. Indeed, Georgia was given full moral support - like it has had over the past few years. Another question is: so what's the result?
"Rasmussen said that there is time before the summit in Chicago and new schemes may be invented. As we see, they are seriously thinking that Georgia's progress in directions required by NATO must be rewarded somehow so a new institutional form toward Georgia should be adopted", - expert Kakha Gogolashvili hopes.
It will be remembered that at the time of the visit Rasmussen couldn't name even approximate terms of Georgia's NATO entry. His answers to such questions were non-committal ending in obscure "we'll see". "This decision will depend on further progress", - the secretary general told PM Gilauri. Yet, the head of the organization was quite precise about demands: NATO wants Georgia to hold fairest and purest democratic elections in 2012-2013 and set up a constructive dialogue with Abkhazia and South Ossetia eventually. Unless these primary tasks are fulfilled, NATO accession will remain a dream despite Georgia's expulsive pains. No zealous support of the Afghan campaign with Georgian contingent exceeding the rest of troops will help.
Rasmussen came up with a comment on his Facebook page leaving a clear impression that the secretary general simply mocks at Georgia and its aspirations. "Georgia has already moved closer to NATO by adopting bold reforms. So, my message today is very clear. Keep up the momentum, keep up the reforms and fully implement them. You are on the right track. And I look forward to the day when Georgia will join us as a full member of NATO", - he writes. Here is a reasonable question: what does this phrase "keep up the reforms and fully implement them" mean? There is no limit to perfection, as we know. Neither "full implementation" can be limited. Thus, his phrases are not obliging.
"The euphoria winning over Sakartvelo is typical of Georgia's current regime", - Felix Stanevsky, head of the Caucasus department at the Institute of CIS countries is sure. - Anytime an event takes place that the Georgian authorities can interpret the way they like, the country is full of joy. Biden comes - the country is euphorized, Rasmussen - again euphoria. Moscow and Tbilisi decide on a compromise on Russia's WTO accession - the same reaction. It is very typical of Georgia's unbalanced political elite.
In reality we should pay attention to Rasmussen's statements featuring what Georgia must do to become a NATO member. His words make it clear: there is a long way in front of Sakartvelo. As for his comments on Facebook on "full implementation" of reforms, this is a vague phrase. I don't think it's accidental. The essence is this: we will consider the issue the way we want. This phrase allows NATO leaders to analyze the situation in Georgia at their discretion. Georgia's true accession into NATO will strongly depend on international conjuncture.
However, I don't think Georgia will become a NATO member with Saakashvili as president. As for the future, I believe the West will try to get more control over Georgia's leadership. As far as quarrelsome Mikheil Saakashvili is concerned, Western politicians believe they have managed to bring him down and intimidate him. After all, he was not handshake-worthy for some time in the West. Though NATO and the West supported Georgia after the war in 2008, relations with the Georgian president considerably worsened. I think Saakashvili was impressed by the fact. Now there is no problem shaking hands with the leader of Sakartvelo. But he was cut down to size nevertheless".