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The Bush administration is making a last ditch attempt to "drag"
The Bush administration is making a last ditch attempt to "drag" Georgia and Ukraine into NATO before U.S. president-elect Barack Obama takes office, an analyst on Russian-American relations said on Friday.

The analyst said that by preparing a military and political agreement between Georgia and the U.S. the Bush administration was putting the Obama administration in a position which leaves "no room for maneuver."

"The outgoing U.S. administration, having made a fiasco in practically all international affairs, is feverishly using everything possible to 'save face,' and also force the future U.S. president into playing by its tactics, constraining his freedom of movement in international affairs," the source, who has links with Russia's intelligence service, said.

"Since Washington couldn't get the two countries into MAP [through NATO], it is trying to demonstrate that it has other ways of 'dragging' Kiev and Tbilisi into the alliance," he continued.

"In their hurry to reach a legal binding agreement, the Bush administration is trying to leave Obama with no choice,...forcing the new president to follow their already formulated course," he said.

European countries led by Germany derailed U.S. plans to bring the two post-Soviet countries into the Membership Action Plan (MAP).

NATO refused at its April summit to let Georgia and Ukraine into MAP, a key step for membership in the 26-nation alliance. NATO said that the decision would be reviewed at a meeting in December.

However, at a NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels in early December, Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the alliance would "beef up" the NATO-Ukraine and NATO-Georgia Commissions, to help speed up reforms needed for the countries' eventual membership of the alliance, but gave no indication on a timeline.

Nationwide opinion polls indicate that over half of Ukrainians are against NATO membership, while about a third are in favor.

"Another major factor for President George Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is that their most faithful [Georgian President] Mikheil Saakashvili and [Ukrainian President] Viktor Yushchenko are politically bankrupt, having discredited themselves not only in their own countries, but in the eyes of the international community as well," the political specialist said.

He said that he is sure that the presidents of Ukraine and Georgia, as well as the U.S. president, are nothing but "dimming lights."

"This is why they need to make military and political deals with these [present] people now because others won't be as obedient and it won't be as simple," the expert said.


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