Tornike Zurabashvili ends his plea for NATO membership for Georgia with some strange claims:
Speeding up Georgia’s integration into NATO will leave Moscow unhappy, but losing Georgia would be far worse. Russia’s understanding that Georgia’s NATO membership is imminent might force it to play nice on Georgia’s border [bold mine-DL].
Even if expanding NATO deeper into the former Soviet Union made sense for the alliance (it doesn’t), this would be irresponsible and dangerous for Georgia. It was the prospect of future NATO membership that raised tensions between Russia and Georgia ahead of the August 2008 war. It was the false encouragement that the Bush administration gave Georgia’s government at the Bucharest summit that led Saakashvili to believe that the U.S. would come to Georgia’s aid in the event of a conflict. Not only did Russia not “play nice” as a result of pushing for Georgia’s membership in the alliance eight years ago, but the resulting conflict made the country’s membership in the alliance even harder for our major European allies to support than it already was. The biggest loser in all of this has been Georgia, which has been strung along with an ever-receding promise of integration into the alliance that everyone has to know by now won’t be happening. It would be reckless and cruel to encourage Georgia down the same path that has already done so much damage to the country.