NEWPORT, United Kingdom – Battle lines in Europe were being drawn in Wales today as the NATO conference got underway. Estonia is likely to be granted a permanent NATO presence to protect it from Putin, whilst Georgia, which is partly occupied by Russia, will have its offer of membership withdrawn.
In a repeat of the Cold War, the conference is effectively now deciding which countries to protect and which to throw to the Russian bear. Yesterday President Obama visited the Estonian capital Tallinn and delivered a message that NATO and the US would protect the country. He said: “”The defense of Tallinn and Riga and Vilnius is just as important as the defense of Berlin and Paris and London.”
In response the Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas asked for practical help. In advance of today’s conference he said: “It is important for Estonia that the current presence of allies on land, sea and air continues in order to increase the response speed of NATO forces and so that NATO brings its defense plans in accordance with the changed security environment.”
Estonia’s gain is Georgia’s loss. The country was invaded by Russia in 2010 and there is no sign that Putin plans to pull out. At the 2008 NATO conference in Bucharest, the Georgians were promised membership if they made certain commitments. It appears that concerns about antagonising Russia has now cost Georgia its NATO membership.
A number of European countries were said to be jittery about giving Georgia support given the tensions that already exist because of the annexing of Eastern Ukraine. Also it was hard to see how NATO could cope with a country that is already being occupied by Russian forces.
However, the plan to put Georgia in NATO is not without its backers, most notably John McCain. Senator McCain has long argued that Georgia should be given membership to counter Russian aggression. Earlier this year he called for the membership application to be speeded up.
Eastern European political analyst Daniel Hamilton told Breitbart London: “While the commitment shown to defending the Baltic states is admirable, a wish amongst some European powers to placate Putin’s Russia risks leaving some countries very badly exposed.
“On the basis of every conceivable military metric, Georgia has met the appropriate criteria for NATO membership. A stable democracy in possession of a modern military, the country is the largest per capita contributor to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
“With Ukraine under siege, Moldova threatened and Russian tanks lurking on Georgia’s borders, this is do or die time for NATO.”
The Georgian delegation to NATO were unavailable for comment but are said to be privately seething about their treatment.