Luke Koff - America is a NATO member, but Article 5 does not protect Hawaii, it can be done for Georgia too
America is a NATO member, but Article 5 does not protect Hawaii, it can be done for Georgia as well, "Heritage Foundation researcher Luke Kofi said in an interview with Voice of America.
According to Luke Coffey, the biggest challenge and difficulty Georgia has to overcome comes from the fact that Russia continues to occupy 20 percent of Georgia's territory.
“When I talk to people about Europe, here, in the administration or in Congress, it always seems to be one of the biggest concerns. They often ask how we can get into an alliance with a country that is actually at war with Russia. They also question whether this means a direct war with Russia over Russia's continued military occupation of Georgia.
There are ways to overcome these challenges. It requires deliberate leadership, creativity, sophisticated diplomacy. I don't think that trans-Atlantic relations are ready for today, but the fact is that we have to do something to bring Georgia to the finish line, ”says Luke Koff.
Voice of America reminded the researcher about a topic that has been particularly active lately, and which he published last year. Specifically, Georgia can become a NATO member so that Article 5 safeguards apply only to the unoccupied territory of the country - while collective security guarantees for Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region will be extended after the occupation.
“On the 10th anniversary of the Bucharest Summit, I thought it was time to start looking for new ways for Georgia to join NATO. For that we needed new ideas, thinking about changing old norms. The essence of this new idea is to invite Georgia into full, internationally recognized borders as a member, including Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region. But Article 5's security guarantees apply only to territory not occupied by Russia. This principle will easily work for Georgia as the country has already pledged non-use of force in the occupied territories. That is why I thought that if Georgia has already decided and promised not to use force on the occupied territories, then why should Article 5 guarantee the security of those territories? If Georgia were to join NATO on this principle, not only would the non-use of force be protected by Georgia, but it would repeat the precedent of some members of the alliance. There are some countries in NATO that are fully NATO members, but Article 5 only applies to a certain part of the territory. They include the United States, for example, Hawaii and Guam do not protect Article 5. The Falkland Islands of Great Britain are not protected by Article 5, "said Luke Coffey.
In addition, the researcher talked about the "German precedent".
“I often hear about the so-called 'German option'. During the Cold War, East Germany was occupied by the Soviet Union, and the West was invited to NATO. East Germany became a NATO member only after German unification. I do not like this analogy because the situation in Germany and Georgia is different. If we want to see precedents, the precedents I have listed are more appropriate for Georgia, that is, when the country is a NATO member with all its territory and Article 5 guarantees apply to only one part of it, ”said Luke Kofi.
According to him, one important element that is not seen in this scenario is the Georgian government.
"The Georgian government should take the lead, they must explain to the Georgian people why this proposal is positive, why it does not violate Georgia's territorial integrity. Until they do so, there is no expectation that Washington, London or Paris will hijack the issue.
I understand caution in this matter. I've been involved in politics long enough to find out that politicians don't like to explain difficult topics to voters. Especially during the election season. But if the government has made it a priority, and if it also includes those opposition parties that support Georgia's NATO membership, I think that will be the case. People need to see leadership, to see that someone is making progress. One thing to keep in mind is that no one in the West will be guided by this idea until support comes to Tbilisi and does not leave Tbilisi. And that's understandable.
I understand how Russian propaganda works. The statement that Georgia will lose territorial integrity under this proposal is absolutely wrong. NATO should never ask Georgia to renounce territories. NATO does not ask for it either. One of the things that has attracted Georgia to Georgia is its culture, people, traditions, history. I am fascinated by a country that has existed for more than two thousand years. Georgia will continue to exist for two hundred and more years, probably longer than NATO. That is, if the question is whether joining NATO or refusing territories, I would say not refusing territories, ”said Luke Kofi.
He says he understands how frustrated Georgians can be.
“They are making a big sacrifice in Afghanistan, Georgia is ready to invest in defense, to transform defense, to continue democratic processes… Many in Georgia say there is more to do. I would say nothing more - the biggest obstacle here is the Russian occupation. It's easy for me to say, but Georgia's patience is right. The country must continue democratic processes and the Georgian government should raise this issue. When these two factors come together, I think we will be able to bring Georgia to the finish line, "Luke Kofi said.
source >> 1tv.ge