Leaders at a NATO meeting in Brussels today have been exchanging heated rhetoric about Russia's invasion into neighboring Georgia. Member states are angry at Russia and its delayed response to its promise to withdraw troops from the region.
NPR's Mike Shuster tells host Steve Inskeep that NATO officials say there will be "no business as usual" with Russia, which includes suspending meetings of the NATO-Russia council.
Difficult relations have been longstanding between Russia and NATO and, for the meantime, it is unclear if the suspension of the meetings will persuade Russia in any way to change its actions.
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer made the point that just as NATO cares about Russia's actions, so too does Russia care about what NATO does. If Russia is to be isolated from NATO to some degree, leaders in the Kremlin may think again about their interests in Georgia.
Georgia has long wanted to become a member of NATO itself, and there are first signs that this relationship may be taking shape. A new special NATO-Georgia commission is forming, modeled after the special NATO-Ukraine commission. Though today's meeting does bring Georgia into NATO, there is a clear idea that Georgia will eventually become a full member.
If Georgia does eventually become a full member, support and defense from other NATO nations is part of the package. If Georgia had been a member before the Russian invasion, Shuster says, it might have caused leaders in the Kremlin to think twice about the initial military action.