On August 8 this small nation on the Black Sea marked the fourth anniversary of its brief war with Russia. Georgia lost, allowing two breakaway provinces to continue their independent existence under Moscow’s protection.
Despite his nation’s defeat, argued Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Moscow did not win. Russia had hoped to overthrow his government, block Georgia’s growing energy role, and prevent Tbilisi’s integration with the European Union and NATO. “They have failed,” he said of the Russians.
President Saakashvili has morphed from heroic corruption-fighter into irresponsible autocrat, but his country still deserves its independence. Moscow’s failure to subjugate its small neighbor—if that was Vladimir Putin’s objective—was all to the good.
However, the war offers a dramatic reminder why NATO expansion is bad for America. At the Chicago NATO summit in May the assembled leaders declared: “At the 2008 Bucharest Summit we agreed that Georgia will become a member of NATO and we reaffirm all elements of that decision, as well as subsequent decisions.” Rhetoric aside, there is little enthusiasm among NATO governments for inducting Tbilisi. They should formally drop this dubious commitment.