TBILISI, DFWatch – In a letter to Hilary Clinton, U.S. Senator John McCain expresses concern about Georgia’s occupied territories and calls for the Secretary of the State to support Georgia.
“The upcoming NATO summit in Chicago presents an excellent opportunity to express continued US support for Georgia’s eventual membership,” he writes, ‘we encourage you to help lead a diplomatic effort to ensure the upcoming summit recognizes Georgia`s significant progress on its path towards NATO ascension, and that it provides a clear road map for Tbilisi’s membership.”
He recounted Georgia’s participation in NATO operations in Afghanistan. Georgia is one of the largest contributors to the operation. The senator says this impressive commitment will make Georgia the largest non-NATO partner in Afghanistan.
“We urge you to recognize the importance of the U.S. leadership on Georgia’s NATO membership at the upcoming Chicago summit and use the summit as a forum for continued support of the NATO aspirations and territorial sovereignty of our ally Georgia,” the letter says.
The move comes during a U.S. election year as McCain’s Republican party is trying to mount a challenge to Obama, and shortly before an important NATO summit to be held in Chicago in May. Early in November 2011, the NATO Secretary General said Georgia’s future membership will also be reviewed at the summit.
In a recent speech, McCain reiterated his view that the U.S. should do more to help Saakashvili build up militarily and asked Obama to follow through on a bill passed last year which instructs the administration to try ways of providing Georgia with defensive weapon.
McCain was the Republican candidate in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. He has been a long time friend of Saakashvili going back before the rose revolution in 2003, an opportunity not missed when the Russo-Georgian war broke out in the middle of McCain’s election campaign as he was struggling in the polls. His ratings improved after he called his friend to give moral support and positioned himself as “tough on Russia”, but the gain was only temporary.
As the U.S. approaches another presidential election, the senator has again made statements implying that Obama’s foreign policy is not tough enough against the U.S.’ adversaries.
Recently he visited a camp of Syrian rebels in Turkey with Senator Joe Lieberman, to argue the case for the U.S. supplying the rebels with weapons to better enable them to overturn the Assad regime.