George Bush's last hurrah
It was surprising to discover that the hull of the giant sea-based X band radar, which is so symbolic of US missile defense, was actually built in Vyborg, Russia. What are the Kremlin's attitudes towards its own missile defense against threats from Iran? And consequently how will President Bush's NATO meeting and summit with Putin fare? I look at some of those issues at Pajamas Media.
Although I wrote the article 24 hours ago, the anticipated result of the NATO summit was exactly as the diplomats had foretold. No outright rejection of the Ukraine and Georgia. At the Pajamas Media article, I wrote:
Perhaps because France and Germany are unlikely to categorically block a membership application supported by the US, Britain, Canada and a number of Eastern European members. Joining NATO requires the lengthy completion of a Membership Action Plan (MAP), and it has been predicted that France and Germany will simply insist on studying the matter further rather than rejecting it outright. The Associated Press reports that “NATO diplomats said they expected the summit would produce a compromise stressing that NATO’s door would remain open to Ukraine and Georgia, encouraging them to continue political and military reforms to prepare for joining, but delaying the opening of the formal membership process.” Radio Free Europe had a detailed description of how the Ukraine and Georgia applications might be handled. “Some observers are suggesting that if Ukraine and Georgia fail to receive a MAP this week in Bucharest, they may not have to wait an entire year before their bid is reviewed again. The NATO alliance can technically grant a MAP at any time in the year — and may simply be waiting for outgoing President Putin to step down in May before they make the move.”
And this is almost exactly what happened. The Times Online reported that consideration of the MAP has been pushed down the road. And now we'll have to wait to see whether the second prediction in the Pajamas article, US-Russian cooperation on missile defense, will come to pass.
Stalled by Germany and France, in particular - although Gordon Brown did not fully back the American plan either - President Bush did succeed in including robust language in the summit's communique which included a pledge that Ukraine and Georgia would become members of the alliance at some time in the future.
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