Caucasus Caldron - Arnaud de Borchgrave, Washington Times
For several years after the implosion of the Soviet empire, and the end of the Cold War, the United States assured Boris Yeltsin and his successor Vladimir Putin that Washington was not interested in expanding NATO's writ to include former Soviet republics. That assurance was ignored when the three Baltic States were voted in to the NATO club. The United States then pushed hard to add Georgia to the NATO roster, but Europe's NATO members pushed back. At last April's NATO summit in Bucharest, the 26-country alliance split as Russia lodged a strong protest that said the promise to extend membership to now independent republics that were once part of the Soviet Union was "a huge strategic mistake." If tiny Georgia with 4.5 million people were part of the NATO alliance today, the US, Canada and NATO's European members would technically be at war with Russia. Article 5 of the NATO treaty makes an attack against one member an attack against all. And following Russia's attack against Georgia last week, pro-American, Harvard-trained Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said Moscow would not have dared lunge into South Ossetia, and bomb Georgian targets, if his country had been a member of NATO.