Edward Lucas: Georgia is “slipping away” from the West, influence of Russia, China being felt more and more
The West is losing Georgia, where the influence of Russia and China is being increasingly felt, says British expert, senior vice president of the Center for European Policy Analysis Edward Lucas in an interview with Ukrainian television company Hromadske.
“I think it is really important to integrate Georgia into all the defense institutions of the West as quickly as possible, because Georgia is slipping away: We see more Russian influence, we see great China influence, we see political polarization, we see the degradation of public institutions, violent confrontations at international conferences, we never saw that before [the conflict between members of the pro-Russian Alliance of Patriots party and participants of an international conference in Tbilisi on September 10 – JAMnews],” said Lucas.
This is how Lucas responded to a question asking his take on the proposal of former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmunsen to admit Georgia to NATO with Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty not applying to the uncontrolled territories, and whether such an approach can be applied to Ukraine.
I really worry that Georgia is in a kind of vacuum, because Georgia is a small country, it doesn’t have the critical mass to keep going. I think Ukraine is a big country, it has tremendous internal momentum, foreign help is nice but you can actually do it on your own. Georgia, under 5 million people, really needs outside support and its not getting it at the moment. Not getting it from Germany, not getting it from the EU, not getting it from the United States, not getting it from anyone”, Lucas said.
Lukas says the prospect of Ukraine and Georgia joining NATO is good and should be welcomed. He recalled that Germany at the time of its entry into NATO did not have East Germany covered in its accession agreement.
Lucas expressed hope that “former NATO Secretary General Rasmussen was right on this.
“I must say I’m a little bit skeptical. I think that we need – I mean, I do hope things will change once we have the new European Commission in, and a new German leader, Mrs Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was here at the Riga conference today, when, if she gets her feet under Mrs Merkel’s desk, we may see a more sort of energetic European diplomacy, and it may be that we get something coming up at the next NATO summit where they want to have this success.
“So hope springs eternal. I have to say that I’m not optimistic at the moment. We are in a period of great dislocation in the West, both internal, in terms of our internal cohesion, and in terms of cohesion between countries. And this is a bad time to be a small country that’s on the outside and needs support and attention”, Lukas said.