From the Desk of the Editor
Dear Reader of Atlantica,
At the Atlantic Forum, we are riding the wave of excitement of not only a new year but also a new decade in 2020 and the endless possibilities for change and growth each hold. For NATO and its member states, this piggybacks off of the excitement of NATO’s 70th anniversary celebration in London as well as the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain. This celebration also included NATO’s soon-to-be newest member, North Macedonia, who will become the 30th member state in the Alliance this year.
Yet, at the same time, the opening to 2020 over the first five days has given us several reminders of the grave and perilous world that follows us into the new decade. Already within the first three days, US airstrikes in Baghdad have reminded us of the return to an era of great power competition and perpetual conflicts in the Middle East, a region in which NATO has been operating since Article 5 was triggered following 9/11. Devastating fires continue to ravish NATO partner Australia’s wildlife and landscape, as it must now not only work quickly to stop the fires and save its habitats but also develop strategies for long-term prevention amid the era of climate change. Meanwhile, several candidate and aspirant states await NATO’s judgment on their status and relationship within and with the Alliance in order to determine their own security conditions in the coming decade.
Our fifth issue of Atlantica, “Open Door in 2020”, outlines Georgia’s feelings of anticipation as it is pulled between Russia and NATO due to its geography and history. In the first article, Pierre Dugue highlights the hostility emanating from Russia surrounding Georgia’s NATO aspirations and its detriment to NATO’s desire to build closer relations with Georgia. Pierre proposes that each member state ought to reinforce its bilateral relations with Georgia in order to move the country toward NATO standards, as Georgia’s situation is too hostile to offer the state a formal pathway to NATO membership. In the second article, Tornike Tevdoradze proposes alternative pathways for Georgia’s membership, including altering Article 5 and Article 6 of the Washington Treaty specifically for Georgia. With improvements in Georgia’s democracy and rule of law, Tornike sees NATO’s open door policy in 2020 as Georgia’s possible greatest opportunity for membership in the Alliance since the Bucharest Summit in 2008.
However NATO and Georgia’s paths intertwine in 2020, Georgia’s pathway to membership will likely be just as arduous as in the previous decades. Given the conflicts within Georgia’s own territories as well as a growing laundry list of concerns for NATO both within the Alliance and across the world, formulating NATO’s open door policy in 2020 in regard to Georgia ought to be considered cautiously. As the global order has shifted back to an era of great power competition with Russia’s re-emergence on the global stage, we can best hope that any further move by NATO toward Georgia’s accession does not result in a Pyrrhic victory—as Georgia is now cemented in both NATO and the former USSR’s minds.
Atlantica Volume I, Issue V