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NATO exercise – Georgia 2016: who needs this?

NATO is conducting one more exercise in Georgia. The Georgia-NATO Exercise 2016 is taking place at the Vaziani military base near Tbilisi and also at the NATO-Georgian Joint Training and Evaluation Centre (JTEC) in Krtsanisi.

Georgia’s defense ministry gives top priority to this event as the first multinational brigade-headquarters exercise ever held in the country. The goal of the exercise is to educate and train Georgian Armed Forces (GAF) General Staff (GS) to plan and conduct an exercise with a Georgia-led Multinational Brigade Headquarters in a Non-Article 5 Crisis Response Operation.

The multinational brigade consists of 250 officers from Georgia, Turkey, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, the United States, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, Ukraine and FYR Macedonia. The key players are Allied Command Transformation, HQ LANDCOM and Joint Force Training Center.

According to Deputy Commander of JTEC Ladislav Jung, NATO’s huge experience in conducting such exercises is a guarantee of good results.

“The aim of NATO-Georgia brigade level exercise is to develop professional knowledge and skills of the representatives of NATO member states and armed forces of the partner countries, in order to ensure that during exercises and operations, militaries act jointly and in compliance with each other. I am confident that after completing the exercises, Georgian Armed Forces will further enhance their NATO interoperability and our militaries will manage to effectively plan and coordinate multinational subdivisions during crisis response operations”, First Deputy Chief of General Staff of the GAF, Brigadier General Vladimer Chachibaia said.

The exercise is part of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, an instrument that is supposed to assist Georgia in its endeavor to become a NATO member.

“This is the first time we are hosting such an exercise and this is a glorious page for us,” Georgia’s Deputy Defense Minister Leila Chikovani said.

But it is a big question who is the actual host here. And one more question we would like to ask is what is the real goal of such exercises and what is their specific benefit for Georgia? Georgia is acting the way as if it is facing hordes of invaders, who are about to surge into its territory.

Today, we should look at NATO through the prism of the Trump factor. The new U.S. President is the only western politician who has called NATO an obsolete organization. His victory has caused panic in the alliance, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg having already implored him not to review relations with partners.

This is quite natural as NATO is not only a military alliance but also a huge bureaucratic machine. Pragmatic Trump is shocked to see that the American taxpayers are forced to cover almost 70% of NATO’s expenses. He knows much better uses for this money. But will Trump’s victory mean an end for thousands of NATO bureaucrats – spongers who feed on the blood of people worldwide?

Stoltenberg is trying to put “naïve” Trump wise to what is going on in the world: security is deteriorating dramatically due to Russia’s aggressiveness and instability in the Middle East and North Africa. You know what they say about such people, “A cheeky person owns half the world!”

You’d think it was Russia rather than NATO who ruined Libya, Iraq and Syria. For Stoltenberg, Russia’s aggressiveness means its reluctance to let cut itself into pieces and its firmness in defending its own rather than others’ interests.

We wonder what benefit contacts with NATO have given Georgia so far.

Some experts are confident that were it not for NATO, Mikheil Saakashvili would never dare to launch the Aug 2008 war and would not wreck the peace talks on Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Were it not for NATO, Georgia might still have options for solving its territorial problems.

In the meantime, Georgian militaries are involved in all NATO operations worldwide and are giving their lives for others’ interests.

Does Georgia really need this? We don’t think so. But NATO is holding that country in a death grip. In early 2017, it was planning to organize there a summit. And among the guest was the would-be U.S. President Hillary Clinton has lost the race to Trump, the summit has been put off till next summer. NATO needs time for seeing if Trump is serious when he says that the alliance must be disbanded unless the United States’ allies start paying a fair price.

Will they let this slide? Or are the anti-Trump protests the first heralds of a U.S. Maidan?

Clinton has already blamed the FBI for her defeat. And her position is that you can commit official crimes but you cannot inquire into them and make them public. Some of Trump’s opponents may even try to kill him. There have already been such precedents in the U.S. history – Lincoln, Kennedy.

The summit has been put off. They might have as well put off the exercise in Georgia. But if they did it, they would let the tension in the region fall and would let the money given for the exercise slip from their hands. And this is already no joke.

Irakli Chkheidze, specially for EADaily

Permalink: eadaily.com/en/news/2016/11/17/nato-exercise-georgia-2016-who-needs-this
Published on November 17th, 2016 09:37 PM
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