Another Obama Brussels Botch Up - President 'Forgets' Georgia Will Join NATO
Breitbart London has learned that President Obama has undermined Georgia’s NATO membership application, in the second foreign policy gaffe of his European trip this week.
Speaking at the press conference after the EU-US summit yesterday the US President wrongly suggested that Georgia “is not currently on a path to NATO membership”. In fact the country has been on the path to membership since 2008.
At the North Atlantic Council in Bucharest that year the attending Heads of State and Government agreed the following statement: "NATO welcomes Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that they will become members of NATO.”
This was backed up by the US State Department last year, when John Kerry issued a statement saying: “We stand by the Bucharest decision and all subsequent decisions that Georgia will become a member of NATO. The United States will work to make sure that Georgia’s progress is acknowledged by all members of this year’s NATO Summit.”
The mistake comes after Breitbart London revealed that Obama had wrongly claimed “Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organised not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations” In fact there had been no UN backed referendum in the country.
Former Georgian Ambassador to London Giorgi Badridze, told Breitbart London: “President Obama’s remarks could hardly have come at a worse time – or have been formulated in a worse manner.
“Firstly, it’s wrong to link Georgia’s aspirations for NATO membership with those of Ukraine. Georgia has been working hard to achieve more progress in that direction, while Ukraine formally withdrew from the process years ago.
“The second – and most damaging - thing the President said is that Georgia and Ukraine are ‘not currently on a path to NATO membership’. This ignores the fact NATO made a firm commitment to admitting Georgia at the Bucharest Summit back in 2008.
“Thirdly, stating Russian opposition as a reason for halting Georgian progress towards NATO membership will only embolden Moscow and strengthen its view that it has a right to effectively veto enlargement – a dangerous precedent.
“Putin’s tanks are positioned along the border with Eastern Ukraine, Crimea is under occupation and Putin has long been looking for a reason to finish the job he never had the chance to finish in 2008: terminating Georgia’s independence. Against that backdrop, Obama’s comments were not only unfortunate but, in the context of regional security, dangerous. “
Daniel Hamilton, a UK-based Foreign Policy expert, told Breitbart London: “Over the past sixty-five years, NATO has more than proved its worth as a guarantor of peace, stability and security in Europe.
“The 1999 and 2004 expansions waves that brought in former Warsaw Pact states in Central Europe and the Baltics demonstrated that NATO is a work in progress – not just a Western European club.
“The prospect – and later, promise - of NATO membership has been a key driver in Georgia’s transformation from failed post-Soviet backwater to pro-western success story. For Obama to claim Georgian NATO membership is off the table at a time when the country faces vast existential threats from Russia not only emboldens Moscow but undermines western influence in the region.
“NATO’s collective security guarantee served as a powerful deterrent to the expansionist impulses of the Soviet Union. So too, should it serve as a deterrent to Putin’s Russia of 2014. We must stand with Georgia”.
President Obama’s comments have overshadowed his visit to Europe and are likely to raise serious questions about his administration’s ability to deliver a strong united foreign policy.