Friday, September 19, 2008

Nato should stop expanding: UK think tank

A top British think tank has issued a report saying that the plan to expand NATO by taking in former Soviet states like Georgia and Ukraine is dumb.

Of course the International Institute for Strategic Studies used more diplomatic language, saying that continued expansion is a "strategic error", but the message is basically the same. The IISS report called Georgia "irresponsible" for launching the attack on South Ossetia and then calling on the Western nations to bail them out when Russian troops flooded over their border. They also said that expansion into Ukraine doesn't make sense at this point since many Ukrainians are opposed to NATO membership, a factor in their government collapsing last week.

The IISS report is at odds with the statements of the United States and United Kingdom governments, both of whom are pushing for fast-track membership for Georgia and Ukraine. But you have to remember that whole point of NATO is for its members to provide mutual defense - if one is attacked the other members are suppose to come to their aid (militarily). It doesn't make a lot of sense then to take on members who are already involved in a conflict (like Georgia), or where the population is split over whether to join the alliance in the first place (Ukraine).

This has been the position of some powerful NATO members - namely France and Germany. It all should make for some really interesting discussions when NATO meets in December.
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