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Taking Apart Article V

Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, writing in "The Washington Times," advises the United States not to rush Georgia and Ukraine into NATO.

NATO foreign ministers are gathering for a two-day summit in Brussels today, and, as ever, the alliance is divided on whether to let Georgia and Ukraine into the club.

O'Hanlon makes an interesting point about Article V:

"Here's the problem with Article V. It has long been presumed to constitute an implicit threat to use force nearly automatically in the event allies are threatened -- and there is a very real danger that President Saakashvili of Georgia would interpret it that way, feeling even more unbound to challenge Russia once inside the alliance.

But in fact, Article V does not require a military response, and wily characters like Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev would likely figure that out. Even if they did not want to challenge us blatantly by overthrowing Mr. Saakashvili in the future, they could quite likely pick future fights with him over borders, or the treatment of minorities, or other such issues -- calculating that American and other alliance leaders would not risk nuclear war over small parts of central Eurasia that few Americans had ever heard of. And they would probably be right."

-- Luke Allnutt

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