In the Caucasus, Georgia is the country that is most strongly aligned with Europe. But now, a planned NATO exercise is creating fresh tensions with neighboring Russia. Volker Witting reports.
NATO’s Joint Training And Evaluation Center in Georgia is a plain container building on a training site outside Tbilisi. Defense Minister Tinatin Khidasheli sits in her gray-tiled briefing room, surrounded by officers in faded fatigues. The soldiers speak German; the young minister English.
The officers received their training in Germany. When asked what the most important lesson they learned there was, they answer unanimously: “inner leadership.” It’s a clear reflection of the value the German army places on mature, democratically-minded “civilians in uniform.” And that’s the principle with which they aim to take responsibility for their country and – a dream shared by Khidasheli – finally be granted NATO membership.
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