The US-NATO alliance is determined to encircle Russia more tightly, and Georgia wants to help it do so…
Britain’s Daily Express newspaper is a bizarre publication that specialises in sensationalist raving. Some of its reports are weird beyond imagination, and it went even further than usual into fogs of delusion on April 21 when one of its headlines announced “World War 3: UK CONFRONTS Russia by sending warship to Black Sea.”
The vessel despatched on a “freedom of navigation manoeuvre” by the UK’s Royal Navy is HMS Echo, which cannot be described as a warship. It is “designed to carry out a wide range of survey work, including support to submarine and amphibious operations” and it carries a few cannon and machine guns, but it is difficult to see how it could confront anything more deadly than a prawn-boat. It is, however, part of the grand plan of the US-NATO military alliance which on April 4 “agreed a package of measures to improve NATO’s situational awareness in the Black Sea region and strengthen support for partners Georgia and Ukraine.”
HQ NATO much regrets that its encirclement of Russia does not yet include Georgia or Ukraine. The Brussels sub-office of the Pentagon is trying hard to formally enlist both countries and announced on March 26 that “Georgia is one of the Alliance’s closest partners. It aspires to join the Alliance. The country actively contributes to NATO-led operations and cooperates with the Allies and other partner countries in many other areas. Over time, a broad range of practical cooperation has developed between NATO and Georgia, which supports Georgia’s reform efforts and its goal of Euro-Atlantic integration.”
The day before NATO’s declaration the globe-trotting head of the organisation, Jens Stoltenberg, was in Georgia to attend military exercises. At a meeting with Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze he declared it had been “clearly stated that Georgia will become a member of NATO” and “We will continue working together to prepare for Georgia’s NATO membership,” which was first mooted in 2008 but somehow has never come about.