One of the most burning questions you can ask a Georgian is, should Georgia enter NATO? As research states, despite the not very peaceful relations throughout both countries’ history, to say the least, there still can be found pro-Russian loyalists in Georgia. As a result, there is a constant doubt in the Georgian government’s decision in terms of NATO membership. How will NATO membership affect Georgian economy and general development? Will it benefit Georgia’s development? Or it will only bring harm to the economy and once again strain already bad relations with Russia? These are the questions and sometimes the arguments against the NATO course.
In order to finally understand what benefit or harm the NATO membership will bring for Georgian future development, we can rely on the history and experience of the other Post-Soviet countries. But before we analyze the experience and development of the newest members of NATO, let’s rewind what purpose does it have?
What Is NATO?
NATO is an acronym for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its main purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of its members through political and military means. So, what does it mean exactly? It means if one member of the alliance is attacked, this act of aggression is considered as an attack on the whole alliance.
The History Of Georgia-NATO Relations
NATO and Georgia have a long cooperation history. Relations date back to 1992 when Georgia became a member of the North-Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC). Naturally, people might question if Georgia and NATO have such a long and productive history, why isn’t Georgia a member of the NATO yet? Well, the answer to that question is complicated. Experts suggest that that is the result of our geographical location; we simply are the victims of our close neighbor- Russia. Some state that the territorial dispute is the case. Either way, Georgia still has a long road ahead, before it becomes a member of NATO.
The Economic Effect Of NATO Membership
Now that we’ve established the nature of the NATO- Georgian relations, let’s focus on the NATO effect on the development of its member countries. For example, Estonia became a member of NATO in 2004. The membership increased the security and democratization process at a global level. Since 2004 Estonia experienced rapid economic growth in 2000–2008, Estonia’s economy saw an average growth of 7% per year, although the crisis in 2008 had a big impact on its economy, the situation improved in 2010. As we see, the NATO membership affected positively on the Estonian economy. Overall, the level of development also increased in Estonia.
As experts state, the country’s economic performance is strongly linked with long-term security. Having stability and security not only helps the development of the country but also ensures foreign investors that the country their planning to invest in is safe and ready for such economical transactions. Political stability is connected to economic stability.
NATO in this term means a lot to Georgia – first of all, it is a serious alliance, it is collective security, it is a real increase in the country’s overall level of development. It would be very beneficial for a small country like Georgia to become a member of a large and strong alliance.
And in order to join NATO, Georgia needs to carry out a number of democratic reforms that are important for the development of the state. Even if Georgia won’t become a member of NATO, the road to membership is worth it. With the reforms necessary for NATO membership, the democratization of the country will increase rapidly. Thus improving the social, political and cultural level.
Of course, a lot of work needs to be done in this direction. Georgia still has a long road to finally begin to meet the high standards that are necessary for joining NATO.
P.S Are you interested in Georgian culture? Check out this article.