Admit Georgia and The Ukraine to NATO

Currently President Bush is in Kyiv talking to Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko about The Ukraine's chances of being admitted to NATO and the EU.  While Georgia and Ukraine may not be quite ready for the EU just yet, there is really no good argument to deny them both membership in NATO.

Both countries have shown they are a willing ally in the War on Terror, with Georgia still maintaining a significant troop force in Iraq, and with The Ukraine having deployed troops in Iraq from 2003-2005. 

The Ukraine has modernized its' army to meet NATO standards, having transformed itself from a Soviet style military to an all volunteer army that was also deployed in Lebanon and Kosovo to help keep the peace. 

In March of 2007, Georgia actually upped it's number of troops in Iraq from 850 to 2,500.  Both countries have seen their soldiers die so that Iraq can maybe one day become a stable nation.  The Ukraine has lost 18 killed in Iraq and Georgia has lost one man dead.  

Both Georgia and The Ukraine have had stable, corruption free, stable elections with multiple parties running qualified candidates. 

The real question is, why do major NATO powers such as Germany oppose NATO expansion into Tbilisi and Kyiv?  The answer is simple and extremely short sighted.  Several West European powers have sold their souls to Russia to make sure that they can get a steady supply of oil. 

While Russia may have a different mindset from European democracies, and the Russian people whom I have met overseas do not really want a Western style democracy, the fact of the matter is that Russia should not be allowed to interfere in NATO decisions.  And Gazprom, the Russian State oil company, has proven itself to be an unreliable trading partner.  Gazprom has threatened to shut off supplies to not only The Ukraine and West Europe, but has also threatened the same with its own allies like Belarus.  With friends like Putin and Gazprom, who needs enemies?

As long as Putin controls Russia -- be it from the Kremlin or from behind the scenes -- the Russian nation will always be troublesome.  And such bad behavior can not be and should not be rewarded by punishing nations that wishes to escape Russian domination.  The Georgian and Ukrainian people want to be our allies.  Both nations have done everything possible to rid themselves of Communism.   Both nations have shed blood so that other nations can know freedom. 

It is time for Europe to give the Georgian and Ukrainian people the respect they deserve. 

S. John Massoud is the pastor of Christ Church Online.