U.S. strategic interests and Georgia’s prospects for NATO membership
Martel, Albert M.
Yost, David S.
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Many observers in NATO and European Union (EU) countries hold that Russia is attempting to challenge the increasing Western influence in Central and Eastern Europe and reassert itself as a regional and global superpower. The 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine provide evidence in support of this theory. Twelve Central and Eastern European nations have nonetheless joined NATO since 1999, and others have pledged their membership aspirations. This fact alone suggests that a general fear of Russian aggression persists among Central and Eastern European nations, and that NATO enlargement is both justified and welcomed. This thesis examines Georgia’s prospects for NATO membership and assesses U.S. strategic interests in this regard. To accomplish this, this thesis analyzes Georgia’s geostrategic importance and investigates links between Georgian and U.S. foreign policies as they relate to NATO enlargement. As regards Georgia, the key questions concern the extent to which the United States supports Tbilisi’s candidacy for Alliance membership, and whether the United States and its NATO Allies are willing to accept the risks and responsibilities that would be incurred with Georgia’s NATO membership. This thesis concludes that U.S. decisions regarding Georgia’s candidacy for NATO membership will be of critical importance.
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