NATO Ambassadors Visit Georgia

Posted by Ivo Daalder
November 10, 2011
NATO Press Conference in Batumi Georgia

I'm in Tbilisi today with all the other Permanent Representatives to NATO. Hospitality alone makes traveling here a must, but when all 28 Ambassadors travel together, there's always a good reason. This trip is no exception -- we're here to discuss Georgia's many contributions to NATO, and our strong partnership going forward.

Georgia is on the path to NATO membership. It is undergoing the rigorous political and military reforms that our Alliance requires. NATO will be closely watching Georgia's upcoming 2012 parliamentary elections and 2013 presidential election as a gauge of their progress.

More immediately, this trip is a good chance for us to assess Georgia's progress and sticking points in its ongoing efforts to achieve rule of law, a substantive democratic process, media freedom, and an independent judiciary. To this end, we are meeting with Georgia's parliament, including opposition, President Saakashvili, and a number of civil society members and NGOs.

While we work with Georgia on its ongoing reforms, we will certainly be thanking the nation for its strong friendship. Georgia has proved itself as a dedicated partner to NATO.

Georgia is currently the second largest non-NATO contributor to NATO's mission in Afghanistan, contributing 950 troops. And it's about to become the biggest. President Saakashvili committed this past June to add 750 more troops in 2012. Many of these troops (a full infantry battalion) fight side-by-side with Americans.

Georgia' friendship extends to action well beyond Afghanistan. It has joined NATO forces in Operation Active Endeavour, helping us to monitor shipping on the Mediterranean Sea, and prevent the transport of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction.

It's well worth the trip to this beautiful capital to thank Georgia's leaders and service members for their strong and growing friendship. NATO is eager to continue working with Georgia as it progresses to a fully open and transparent society.

Editor's Note: This entry also appears on Ambassador Daalder's blog.



New Mexico, USA
November 23, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Dear Amb. Daalder,

I think we must tread very carefully with any new NATO memberships, especially with regards to Georgia being that there is such animosity between that government and the Russian Federation.

The mindset involved in many recent statements by the Russian leadership would indicate to me that either the "reset button" has malfunctioned, or the batteries need to be replaced, to be blunt about the current state of our bilateral relations with the Russian Federation.

I think I've got a workable solution to this, but it's going to require a unique approach that hasn't been attempted diplomaticly.

No Russian leader has ever been invited to tour the birthplace of the atomic bomb that my granddad played a huge part in developing during ww2 at Los Alamos, and I would suggest that all the leaders of NATO and the heads of states of member states be invited as well along with defense ministers to have a heart to heart chat while surrounded by the context of history.

Such an invite in itself would be a unique expression of trust given the work being done at LANL, and I would on a personal level love to be able to offer folks a unique perspective that they may not be able to obtain from anyone else but a member of one of the original nuclear families.

Wheras the bone of contention surrounds missile defense, and the means to exterminate the species in general, as well as the threats to peace rogue nations represent that compel us to develop missile defense at prohibitive cost to both the taxpayer and global cooperation with Russia, a choice must be offered and tendered with logic and a clear vision of what kind of world all who attend wish to see for their kids and grandkids.

It is not advisable as nations to drive into the future with junk in the trunk of the clunker with the echos of the cold war rattling around like so many loose nuts and bolts on a car that's falling apart sir, and it needs to be traded in for a new model sans baggage.

The only way to prove to Russia that missile defense is not directed at them, is to give them the choice to help us kineticly eliminate the threat missiles from rogue regimes that sponsor terror represent directly at their source (IE Iran, Syria) if they will not negotiate in good faith and continue to seek to aquire nuclear weapons in violation of UN resolutions.
In return US/NATO will not have the need to field a missile defense architecture so long as there is also a willingness on Russia's part to enter into serious negotiation with NATO on conventional forces and remaining nuclear force posture both strategic and tactical, that they do in good faith in reciprocation for our trust that we don't feel the need to field missile defense on their account.

I don't know what it's going to take to convince Russia that the true measure of Superpower status isn't in the exporting of arms , but in the export of food to starving populations via humanitarian intervention, which wins more friends and gains a nation the influence of lasting friendship over populations, as well as their thanks but someone's got to do it, and make the logic stick in their minds.

Their paranoia runs deep, and that's going to require group therapy sir.

Fear based policy based on an architecture of fearful weaponry can lend no one comfort or rest for the weary of living with imminent death and destruction.

The cold war's fundamental precepts being Mutually Assured Destruction, now that this concept has been abandoned as not being in the public's interest, we must construct a solid international understanding to create a Mutually Assured Peace, literally,

If there are to be trillions spent on the development of the missile defense system, rather than dealing with the reasons for its need in the first place, then we've missed the point that was so rudely made, that a terrorist will use whatever is conveniently available as a weapon.

Thank you for your consideration and the opportunity to post my thoughts here on your blog. I generally post on Dipnote, and I'll post copy of this there as well if you care to reply, or you have my email if you have a private thought or two you'd like to share about any of the above.

Best Regards, and have a Happy Thanksgiving,


United States
November 23, 2011

Zharkov in the U.S.A. writes:

Yes, surrounding Russia with NATO members and missiles is already provoking a military response.

Paranoid or not, if your home was surrounded by armed men who don't listen to your protests, you might begin preparations for a fight as well.

Having Georgia join NATO will not do a thing to remove Russian nuclear submarines patrolling off both US coasts. Better to get Russia to join NATO than Georgia, so everyone can relax.

Of course, if NATO plans to bomb more countries the way it boomed Libya, no self-respecting country would want to join NATO.

If NATO sticks to its mission of defending Europe instead of acting like an enemy aggressor against other governments, then it might be more attractive to be a member.


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