GUAM-NATO COOPERATION: RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVES ON THE STRATEGIC BALANCE IN THE CENTRAL CAUCASUS
Roger N. McDERMOTT, Yury MOROZOV
Roger N. McDermott, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent (Canterbury, U.K.)
Yury Morozov, Leading research associate, professor, Institute for Far East Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, Russia)
At the outset of this paper, it should be emphasized that although NATO is taking increased interest in the GUAM (Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Moldova) member countries there is no formal relationship or cooperation between NATO and GUAM. The declaration of the GUAM summit held in Baku in June 2007 announced a decision to intensify cooperation between the GUAM members and NATO, aimed at promoting democracy, stability and security and building closer ties with European and Euro-Atlantic structures. The first step aimed at intensifying cooperation involves the production of a series of joint papers by the GUAM missions to NATO. The first of these joint papers, intended to inform the Alliance and its partners on GUAM developments, structure and policies, was recently released and dedicated to the foundation of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development—GUAM (ODED—GUAM) and the 10th anniversary of GUAM. Georgia has taken the responsibility to coordinate the cooperation among GUAM member country delegations within the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
A leading member of the GUAM grouping, Georgia epitomizes the potential for cooperation between NATO and GUAM member states. Committed to gaining membership of the North Atlantic Alliance, it has taken serious steps to reform and develop its armed forces. However, while both are necessary conditions for a healthy relationship with NATO, they remain insufficient. As this article will argue, Georgia’s government remain internally divided on the goal to join NATO, as it must contend with a difficult strategic environment and the views and influence of its powerful Russian neighbor. For these reasons, the Alliance’s relationship with Russia, in particular as it impacts on the cooperation between the GUAM member states and NATO, is in need of readjustment. Ideally, such a readjustment will necessitate shedding the remnants of Cold War thinking and genuinely engaging with Russia on a new equal footing—recognizing that Russia too has a voice in the activities of the Alliance on its southern periphery.
On 6 and 9 March, 2007 both houses of the U.S. Congress approved the NATO Freedom Consolidation Act of 2007, supporting further NATO enlargement into the Western Balkans and…………….