Thursday, October 02, 2008

Germany Derails NATO Membership For Georgia And The Ukraine

There was some other important news today besides our elections...namely German chancellor Angela Merkel giving in to Russian blackmail to bar Georgia and the Ukraine from NATO membership at NATO's meeting later this year:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization won't give Georgia and Ukraine a road map to membership at a meeting later this year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday.


Mrs. Merkel's rejection of a NATO track for Georgia and Ukraine, at a news conference with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in St. Petersburg, would effectively act as a veto. The Western military alliance operates by consensus.

U.S. officials had hoped a NATO ministerial meeting set for December might be the occasion for the alliance to extend a so-called Membership Action Plan, or MAP, to the two ex-Soviet States. However, any quick move toward their NATO membership grew less likely after Georgia's five-day war with Russia in August.

The U.S. State Department declined to comment, saying it hadn't seen or heard Mrs. Merkel's remarks.

No great mystery here.Putin used Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom as the stick.

Germany is dependent on energy sources that either originate or flow through Russia, and Gazprom had been demanding a piece of Germany's energy infrastructure and distribution as the price to keep the oil and gas flowing, especially with the cold European winter just around the corner.

Like magic, as soon as Merkel agreed to blackball Georgia and the Ukraine from NATO membership, Gazprom backed off from its demands and it's business as usual.Plus,there was an additional carrot as well. As a sweetener, the Russians suddenly agreed to a huge gas exploration deal between Gazprom and Eon, the German utility, something that's been in negotiation for over four years.

Under the deal Eon gets a 25 per cent stake in Yuzhno-Russkoye, a Siberian field and one of the world's largest gas reserves. In exchange, Eon gives back almost half of its 6.5 per cent stake in Gazprom.

Not a bad price, all in all for sandbagging Georgia and the Ukraine. Although I'd also wager that part of the bargain also includes German cooperation with Russia on watering down any meaningful sanctions on Iran...who just happens to be one of Germany's major trading partners.

Das is aber spas, nicht wahr?


Anonymous said...

During Soviet days the Russians controlled part of Germany. That would be East Germany. Given that Russia is looking to reestablish the Soviet Union, they will likely be wanting that part of Germany back pretty soon. Georgia and Ukraine are an important buffer between Germany and Russia, it seems unwise to surrender these countries so quickly.

I think the best bet for Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, and other former Soviet and Eastern bloc nations who do not want to be a part of Russia's empire would be to band together themselves and oppose Russia. As much as I hate to say it, I simply don't think NATO or the US can be counted on right now.

Georgia was a de facto member of NATO. Given that when one NATO member is attacked other NATO members are treaty bound to come to this country's aid and Georgia was betrayed, this demonstrates that NATO is useless right now. I would expect other members of NATO to take a critical look at the alliance.

Essentially being a member of NATO antagonizes Russia especially if you were under their sphere of influence at one time. NATO will not come to your aid if you are attacked. I would expect current and prospective members of NATO to be taking a critical look at the alliance in the near future. In summary, the alliance has no marginal utility. I expect it to be disbanded within a year or so.

Finally, if we are going to allow Russia to reestablish the Soviet Union without any meaningful resistance as we have done so far, then we fought the Cold War for nothing. This is truly a sad state of affairs.

Anonymous said...

NATO won't even honor its committments to Afghanistan!! As it stands now, NATO is a completely useless organization, in fact it has negative utility.

Anonymous said...

Merkel is feeding the alligator......