Georgia's quest for NATO membership: challenges and prospects
Summers, Nakia J.
Yost, David S.
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Georgia has a resume of achievements in its relations with NATO since 1992. However, at the 2008 Bucharest Summit, the NATO Allies chose not to offer Georgia a Membership Action Plan. At the 2009 Strasbourg-Kehl Summit, the NATO Allies again chose not to offer Georgia such a plan. This thesis examines Georgia's prospects for NATO membership. It investigates the hypothesis that Georgia's membership aspirations are affected by two sets of variables -- internal and external. The two key internal variables that affect Georgia's prospects for membership are Tbilisi's progress on reforms and the unresolved conflicts with the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The NATO Allies will continue to evaluate Georgia on its efforts to democratize, develop a market economy, and create a professional military that contributes to Euro-Atlantic security. Georgia notes that the separatist regions are within its internationally recognized borders, but neither region desires to be reconciled with the government in Tbilisi. The primary external variable remains Russia's policy toward Georgia. Russia is opposed to Georgia joining NATO and has since the August 2008 Georgia-Russia war recognized the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.
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