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Eastern Partnership: West's Final Assault On Former Soviet Union

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The Georgian Energy Minister, Aleksandre Khetaguri, extended the reach of GUAM-centered energy projects to the Baltic Sea in adding "“We have discussed the question of an Odessa–Brody–Gdansk pipeline, which will allow the oil from the Caspian countries to be transported first to Ukraine and then to other parts of Eastern Europe.”  (The Messenger [Georgia], July 1, 2008)

The turning point in the West's resolve to back its GUAM, and now Eastern Partnership, clients to definitively 'solve' the issue of the frozen conflicts came at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania in April of last year.

All twenty six Alliance members affirmed that Georgia and Ukraine, the most pro-American and pro-NATO of the four GUAM and six Eastern Partnership states, were on an irreversible road to full NATO accession but baulked at granting them the Membership Action Plan, the final stage to complete integration.

Two central barriers to a nation joining NATO are unresolved conflicts in and foreign (that is, non-NATO nations') bases on their territories.

Georgia still laid claim to Abkhazia and and South Ossetia and Ukraine still hosted the Russian Sixth Fleet at Sebastopol in the Crimea.

Far from being the rebuff to Georgia and Ukraine and to their American sponsor the non-granting of Membership Action Plans to the two candidates appeared to some, Georgia and Ukraine were both given not only a green light to resolve these issues but in fact were directed if not ordered to do so.

At the beginning of last August Georgian shelling killed six people, including a Russian peacekeeper, and wounded twelve on the outskirts of the capital and on August 7 Georgia's American-armed and -trained armed forces crossed the border and laid waste to much of the South Ossetian capital.

The assault, coming only days after the Pentagon had completed a two week military drill, Exercise Immediate Response 2008, under the sponsorship of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program with troops from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, weeks after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had visited the Georgian capital and hours after Georgia's Saakashvili had proclaimed a unilateral ceasefire, led to direct military hostility between Russia and the preeminent client of the US.

During the same interim after the NATO summit Ukrainian authorities escalated their demands that the lease for the Russian Sixth Fleet not be renewed.

Weeks after the Caucasus war ended, the EU convened an extraordinary summit "devoted to the situation in Georgia" at which it adopted a resolution stating that "it is more necessary than ever to support regional cooperation and step up its relations with its eastern neighbours, in particular through its neighbourhood policy, the development of the Black Sea Synergy initiative and an Eastern Partnership."  (ForUm [Ukraine], September 2, 2008)

Shortly thereafter Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk revealed the true dimensions of the Eastern Partnership when he said that, "Developments of the past months, especially the crisis in the Caucuses, have shown the farsightedness of the Swedish and Polish initiative – a proposal for
the entire European Union with a global dimension...."  (UNIAN [Ukraine], September 18, 2008)

The above occurred as the US sent a flotilla of warships to Georgian ports on and NATO boosted its naval presence in the Black Sea.

In the middle of last November an energy summit was held in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku and attended by the presidents of Ukraine, Turkey, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Georgia and other heads of states.

American expatriate and current Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus said that "The number of letters in the word 'GUAM' should be increased: it would consolidate both the organization and the participating countries," explaining "[W]e are working towards strengthening the GUAM organization, expanding contacts between the countries of the Baltic, Black and Caspian Sea regions, and making cooperation in the energy field more intense."  (Today.AZ [Azerbaijan], November 14, 2008)

Adamkus' statements were supported in a Western press report of the same day:

"The plan [elaborated at the summit] emphasised developing a 'southern gas corridor" to transport supplies from the Caspian Sea and Middle East regions, bypassing Russia, as well as an energy ring linking Europe and southern Mediterranean countries."  (Agence France-Presse, November 14, 2008)

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
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