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Senate Report: NATO Countries Should Resume Arms Sales to Georgia

A report released by the staff of Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) has sparked controversy from Russia and Georgia.  Titled “Striking the Balance: U.S. Policy and Stability in Georgia,” (PDF) the report argues NATO Allies need a coordinated policy toward Georgia, and suggests it should include a resumption of arms sales that halted following the 2008 Georgia-Russia war:

The United States and NATO allies must reconcile a policy that leaves a dedicated NATO partner unable to provide for its basic defense requirements. These efforts will be most effective if they are undertaken on a multilateral basis. The Alliance must come to grips with the reality that Georgia will require coordinated security support from America and European nations for some years to come.

Particularly in the realm of security assistance, such coordination is critical. While Georgia finds itself under a de facto arms embargo, other NATO allies are pursuing record military deals with the Russian Federation. Georgia has become an exceptional contributor to international security through its contributions to missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. A strategy to enable Georgia to similarly provide for its own territorial defense will require close cooperation with NATO allies to preserve stability in the region. 

Following the war between Georgia and Russia, both Europe and the United States have largely stopped selling lethal military equipment to Georgia.  The United States has nonetheless continued training Georgian forces for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq under a program titled the “International Military Education and Training Program” (IMET), and funding appears to have increased for this training.  Relatively speaking, military equipment sales to Georgia were much higher than training funding up to 2008, but have dropped to zero in 2009 (see charts based on data from the Lugar report).


Georgia has embraced the report while Russia and the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia argue arms sales to Georgia could lead to another outbreak of violence in the region. 

Since the 2008 war, Russia’s actions regarding the breakaway territories of S. Ossetia and Abkhazia have chafed many NATO governments.  First, Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent following the war; only three countries globally followed suit.  Furthermore, the EU monitoring mission chief Hansjoerg Haber has complained that Russia has neither reduced its troop presence in South Ossetia/Abkhazia to pre-2008 levels as stipulated in the French-brokered peace agreement, and Russia continues to refuse access to the enclaves by EU monitors, reports the Associated Press. The Lugar report cites the same concerns.


There are some signs of rapprochement between Georgia and Russia, argues Christian Science Monitor:

The signs include last week's deal to reopen a single border post on the major Caucasus highway and a possible agreement to resume direct air links.

"The prevailing mood in Georgia is that relations with Russia should be improved, and the government should work more actively toward that end," says Georgi Khutsishvili, director of the independent Center on Conflict and Negotiation in Tbilisi.

"The fact that leaders of both countries have a terrible personal relationship, and keep saying bad things, is not a suitable basis for state policy. We need to move beyond that," he adds.

Should we expect any major change in policy toward Georgia in the near future? Probably not.

Many in Europe have demonstrated an unwillingness to embrace Georgia if it comes at the chagrin of Russia. Several European countries have slowed Georgia’s progress toward NATO membership, such as in 2008 when Germany led the charge to block Georgia from getting a NATO Membership Action Plan, causing tension with those in the Alliance who supported advancing Georgia's NATO bid (see AR article).  Having pressed the “reset button” with Russia, President Obama is likely weary to make any moves that would upset Russia.

Georgia has always been a tough issue for the NATO Allies: on one hand it is a small and unstable country that would probably be a bigger liability than asset to the Alliance on strictly military terms (the Russia-Georgia war being a case-in-point); on the other hand, what message is sent if NATO is unwilling to help a country that wants to join it’s ranks and to embrace western reforms?  Given this tough situation, most politicians will be happy to keep away from making any big moves on the matter until it is forced upon them. While the Lugar report offers bold proposals, it is unlikely to be followed by any bold changes in policy.

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Pat Patterson on :

Those Georgian soldirs are also being reequipped in Iraq and Afghanistan by the US. The US has tasked at least one Burke-class destroyer to the Black Sea and has use of the port at Burgas. Which is only some 25 miles from the Bulgarian flagged joint US base at Aytos. Aytos is very important as it has a cement runway outside of the city that is capable of handling dozens of flights a day and has a 15,000 ft runway. And at any one time there is at least a regiment of the Army being retrained and refitted there at any time. Sometimes there is at least a brigade sized presence there. The US may not be directly supporting the Georgians but they have enough tactical assets in the area to give the Russians pause and the Georgians with a large strategic chip in play.

Pat Patterson on :

Dropped a paragraph. The US and the West should at least rearm the Georgians to make up for the equipment lost. Which will mean in many cases better equipment that can replace some of the Cold War armaments, heavy artillery, ground radar, anti-aircraft and anti-missile batteries, etc. I agree with Kyle in that if this problem is pushed off then Georgia will have to seek allies where it can or sour on further reliance on the West. I think Turkey would show the possibility of delayed action.

Kyle Atwell on :

Hey Pat, I never directly said Russia would look for allies elsewhere. I mean it seems logical it would, but while the West isn't fully embracing it, I think it will continue to tease it just enough to keep the government interested (barring any major changes in national perspective due to government change, which of course is ver possible). Last I heard, and this may be admittedly dated info, Georgian's strongly supported NATO membership (at around 70%). I thought Ms. Ashton's comment to the EU Parlmiament this week regarding Russia were interesting: "On the question of whether Russia uses gas and oil exports to bully neighbouring states, Ms Ashton said she intends to "put pressure on Russia to make sure they see these issues in an economic way not a political one." But the EU's top diplomat also said the bloc must have a "strategic relationship" with Russia, while pointing to an upcoming meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow as an opportunity to start off on a new footing." From the EU Observer: http://euobserver.com/9/29240/?rk=1 It seems she will follow the Germany/France lead on playing it cool with Russia.

Pat Patterson on :

I mentioned Georgia indirectly and the smaller democracies directly in that they might seek new allies. Was that a typo in saying, "...Russia would look for allies elsewhere." Caroline Glick, a Jerusalem Post writer and blogger, argues that some of these nations will seek closer ties with China. Not because of any desire to ape their political model, economic probably, but that the Chinese are consistent in blocking sanctions against any nation. Except of course in the 70's when they successfully isolated the other China.

Pat Patterson on :

Here's the link to Caroline Glick. http://www.carolineglick.com/e/

Marie Claude on :

Israel's opening to China, she doesn't say that these smaller democracies will, but should, that's only her wish ! China has no interest in small democracies, one would know, Tibet anyone ? But China does have interest in backing counties like Iran, or some African's, where she get minerals What will offer a country like Georgia or Israel, apart wines, peaches, or drones, but Chineses already manufacture their arms !

Pamela on :

Ok, can you guys just put this on the calender for like maybe JULY. I am accusing you of navel gazing. " thought Ms. Ashton's comment to the EU Parlmiament this week regarding Russia were interesting: "On the question of whether Russia uses gas and oil exports to bully neighbouring states, Ms Ashton said she intends to "put pressure on Russia to make sure they see these issues in an economic way not a political one." EUnich meet gang banging.

Pat Patterson on :

Won't they have to hire some locals to do the banging as they lack the equipment to do it themselves.

Marie Claude on :

your excess of arrogance is going to drive you gloriously into the end of America, as we used to know it since 1917

Pat Patterson on :

What were we know as before 1917? Mexico?

Marie Claude on :

no, for us you existed only since april 1917, before there is a void up to 1783

Pat Patterson on :

That's odd then who donated the Statue of Liberty to the US? The Haitians? la Liberté éclairant le monde

Marie Claude on :

if you only knew the true story of the statue !

Marie Claude on :

"We are reaping what we have sown." so wise ! :lol: uh no, I wouldn't have cut off Pen's nuts, I prefer men with them :lol: Though I'm not afraid to challenger them

Pat Patterson on :

Ok, I'll bite. What is the "...true story of the statue?"

Marie Claude on :

"Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi originally idealized the statue of liberty concept for the Egyptian government to adorn the entrance of the Suez canal. Before the idea came to fruition, the Egyptian government went bankrupt and hence it never was realized." http://www.sandmonkey.org/2006/07/09/the-american-christian-scene/#comments (nomad) was me then came this idea to offer it to New York: http://freemasonrywatch.org/statue_of_liberty.html

Pat Patterson on :

I should have suspected this grand and secret true story would of course be bogus and borrowed from a comment on another blog. A dinner party was held in France in 1865 where some kind of monumental gift was mentioned to show friendship between France and the US. Bartholdi was at that meeting and was excited about the idea but he didn't go to Egypt for another two years to work for de Lessups in the building of the Suez Canal. But the host of that party and his guests were the impetus while Bartholdi was hired to create their vision. There his vision of the size changed from grand to gigantic. It is entirely possible that a model might have been made for de Lessups and the Khedive but nothing has survived while there are models and drawings that Batholdi made that are in the posssession of both the governments of France and the US. Aside from the fact that no one really cares if there was another intent for the model as the Statue of Liberty was designed and built for America by a France that even then worried about its failure to create a stable government and that could successfully integrate large groups of people into citizenship. Not even a A for effort here as the Sandmonkey link goes back to Wikipedia and Snopes discounts the entire theory as simply either not true or impossible to prove.

Marie Claude on :

I was sure you would be a "denyer" uh have you read the linkd provided by me in french ? they confirm what Sandmonkey was up to

Pat Patterson on :

What link in French? If the idea of a gift predates the model then exactly what are you trying to prove? BTW, opinion blogs are often wrong especially if they repeat unsourced stories. And again what difference does it make where the original model came from except as a childish snub that ignores the magnamimous thought and its eventual location.

Marie Claude on :

inside Sandmonkeys --> nomad

Pat Patterson on :

I'm still not sure what your point was except implying that perhaps the design was a leftover. The link in French is basically almost identical from the article on the Ellis Island website. But since the idea for the gift and the general idea for some kind of monumental structure came about both before Bartholi went to Egypt or made a claimed model, which doesn't really sound similar to the Statue of Liberty except for the corona, all the rest is still irrelevant. And again quoting from unfootnoted articles is simply not the way to persuade.

Marie Claude on :

but your links are what ?

Pat Patterson on :

Just reading the links you posted as they are generally so inaccurate they contradict themselves and they certainly contradict the original insult.

Marie Claude on :

when will you admit you could be wrong sometimes, never with a French, so what do you gain in maintening your stubborn position ?

Pat Patterson on :

Wrong about what? Read what I said again, if read in the first place, and show me where I was wrong?

Marie Claude on :

http://www.ac-creteil.fr/bartholdistdenis/un-homme/barthold/textes/statue.htm http://www.terraz.org/liberty/article.php3?id_article=17 "Vers 1867-1868, alors que le canal de Suez se dessine, il réalise la maquette d'un phare monumental, à l'image de l'ancienne Égypte, ce projet destiné a être placé à l'entrée du canal ne sera pas réalisé mais donnera naissance à la Statue de la Liberté actuelle. "

Pat Patterson on :

And this quote would indicate that there might have been a model made for the lighthouse but the idea for the gift was before the model. " It is entirely possible that a model might have been made for de Lessups and the Khedive but nothing has survived..." If you're going to accuse someone of being wrong then maybe it might be a good idea to make sure that what you're complaining about is really what they said.

Marie Claude on :

do your kids like you ? cuz sumthin tells me, you'ren't an easy going person

Pamela on :

Ah. Such a temptation. But no. Marie Claude has a hair trigger but I remember. I remember when 'pen name' was here (may he be ok) and she absolutely savaged him for all the right reasons. And oddly, her English was quite clear. I'm quite certain had she had a chef's knife and 'pen name' in the same room, she would have respected the traditional nomenclature of 'eunich'. Marie Claude: It is incorrect for you to interperet my scorn of the EU as American arrogance. I spent a great deal of time and effort analyzing the EU 'Constitution' and the subsequent Lisbon treaty. Atlantic Review was kind enough to publish my thoughts about about it - I think the thread was something called called "What is this Mystical Conception". Whatever. What I remember from that thread is Zyme saying he neither knew nor cared who represented him in a gov't body. (I'd have to look it up, but it's beside my current point). So. Let me be clear. I fear for Western Civilization. Capital W, capital C. Europe, in a fit of guilt, has eschwed OBVIOUS power except in the collective -where there is no accountability. Power by stealth. It is bullshit that goes by the name of social justice. No bullets, please. Let's ban speech (see Netherlands - Geert Wilders). The conundrum is evident in one risible conflict: accomodate a minority that claims to be persecuted by the very fact of its demographic minority status- that demands death to homosexuals: or in the name of social justice accomodate homosexuality. There is such a thing as right and wrong and none of it is discerned in any terms that are deemed 'collective' or 'social justice'. I am not an arrogant American. I am blessed to have been born an American but it is nothing I have earned. I do, however, know my (our) history. So let me reiterate something. I am marinated in the idea that the individual and the state have a very clear relationship. The state serves the the people. I would like nothing better than to tell you that this is like baking a cake. But it isn't. My country is in the throes of something I haven't seen since the 1960's (Yes, I am that old). Does anyone remember the poster we once had - 'David' - who made a big deal out of promoting Obama? Nanne gave me the site he's currently posting at. Couldn't find him specifically. Anyhoo, David went out of his way to promote a guy who had spent 20 years in a racist 'church'. We are reaping what we have sown.

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