The role of new NATO partners
After the adoption of NATO programs of cooperation with different states it was hard to imagine how effective and fast their cooperation may develop. Now it is impossible to imagine NATO policy without cooperation with new partners. The new partners regularly participate in NATO peacekeeping actions and have started putting forth different initiatives more often.
The enthusiasm of Eastern European countries on cooperation with NATO has decreased since the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 when the alliance was not capable of initiating something real. It is no secret that some countries are disappointed and have become more wary in their relations with Russia. However, in regard to cooperation with NATO these countries have become more determined because it is better to be a NATO member than not to be. For clear reasons, the countries of Eastern Europe need the support of the European Union and NATO because they have no other prospects in the security sphere. No development of institutional bases for cooperation of new partners with NATO is expected in the nearest future. The Individual Partnership Action Plan allows expanding cooperation and use NATO support for conducting reforms in the armed forces, involve the new partners in NATO research operative governance.
It is important that the new partners may participate in the development of the EU security system. Currently the new partners include the countries in the regions which view the United States, NATO and the EU as an area of new interests, and even if the U.S. activity decreases, they cannot be pushed outside the sphere of interests and will remain within the focus of American and European policy.
The stationing of U.S. bases will be a more effective means of pre-emption of military pressure and aggression against the regions by certain states, however this is not going to happen in the Black Sea and the South Caucasus. For now, it is about stationing anti-missile defense, such as near the Black Sea coast of Romania.
This is related to issues in the relations with Russia and Turkey but this circumstance may be overcome over time. The South Caucasus, namely Georgia and Armenia, are seen by the United States and the EU as a closer region to the Western community, and the regional security issues cannot be ignored. However, the problem is how these issues are supposed to be resolved without the membership of the countries of the region to NATO. It should be noted that Georgia did a stupid thing when it attacked South Ossetia and complicated its way to NATO but the alliance has a perception that it is necessary to take maximum measures for regional security one way or another.
Since 2016 the Georgian armed forces have become part of NATO fast response forces which are an important mechanism for the alliance and allow them to respond to crises in different regions operatively. This means that the Georgian armed forces are prepared for NATO standards.
The countries of the Near East, namely the Persian Gulf have commitments to the United States. The American armed forces have a large-scale and the UK and France have a modest presence in that region.
The South Caucasus cannot use these advantages and if Russia takes aggressive actions, NATO will not undertake real military actions. The countries of the region, however, have no other way but to develop their relations with the alliance. The opponents to admitting the Eastern European countries in NATO have serious arguments, first of all the unresolved conflicts. However, the main issue remains the consideration of Russia’s positions by France and Germany.
The United States and NATO are leaving Central Asia, including Afghanistan, though the prospects of this region are not understood yet. Leaving the South Caucasus or reducing attention is impossible. This region is part of Europe, it has a big strategic importance for the security of Europe and the United States, and lasting indifference towards the region may cause a vacuum, which is unacceptable.
In addition, Azerbaijan is already considered as part of the Caspian-Central Asian region rather than the South Caucasus but it is impossible to ignore Georgia and Armenia as European countries due to historical and cultural idiosyncrasies.
The British and the Americans are following the process of collapse of the armed forces of Armenia with big concern because the army is the only thing that attracts them. The vassalization of Armenia is dismantling the army, which affects its role in the region.
The only way to revive the armed forces of Armenia is integration with NATO. In other words, the partner status, at least in the previous volume, may save the Armenian army from decay.
The Americans and the British people realize that Russia’s purpose is to pull down not only the Armenian army but also economy, as well as the use of those Armenian conditions for stationing Russian rockets.
The country’s economic situation plays a huge role in the development of the armed forces. Having signed the Association Agreement with the EU and becoming NATO’s special partners, Georgia has received immense assistance, whereas Armenia is still in poverty and is begging Russia for crumbs.