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Did Georgia Make NATO Obsolete?

Did Georgia Make NATO Obsolete?

Georgian Orthodox Priest walks on Joseph Stalin squere in the town of Gori

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pledged supporttoday for rebel leaders who want to break with Georgia , as Washington demands the war-torn country's territorial integrity be respected. Medvedev met with the leaders of the two separatist regions in the Kremlin.

As U.S. troops airlift humanitarian aid to the embattled country, a shaky ceasefire with Russia appeared to prevail in the conflict zone in central Georgia — but there are reports of a standoff between Georgian and Russian troops in the towns of Gori and Poti.

On Tuesday, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies voiced support for Georgia . NATO officials hoped that Georgia would stay on course to one day join their alliance — a prospect Russia strongly opposes.

Meanwhile, Russia 's NATO envoy said it's time for Georgia to surrender its claim to the breakaway republic of South Ossetia .

The 26 NATO ambassadors, at a meeting with the Georgian envoy, reiterated “in very strong terms” support for a sovereign, independent Georgia . Georgian officials feel its conflict with Russia should put it on the fast-track for NATO membership.

These events have many asking the question would Georgia have been better if it had been a member of NATO

Paul Goble is Director of Research and Publications at the  Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy in Baku , Azerbaijan . Paul is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious minorities in the former Soviet Union and the post-Soviet states.

For more than 25 years Paul worked in various U.S. government agencies including the State Department and the CIA.

NATO had a chance to bring Georgia into the fold through its Membership Action Plan (MAP), but NATO would turn the Georgians down. There'll be another chance coming up soon and Jerome asked Paul what NATO should do now…

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