In a blow to the US, a divided NATO has refused to permit membership bids by former Soviet states Georgia and the Ukraine. The decision is an indication that Europe is wary of antagonizing an increasingly belligerant Russia, Bloomberg reports. Germany and France led the opposition to membership. In another defeat for American diplomacy, Greece blocked the admission of Macedonia.
The White House badly wanted Ukraine and Georgia admitted to secure their independence and to gain an American-friendly foothold in former Soviet territory. "Bush expended a great deal of political capital teeing this one up,'' said a former member of the National Security Council. "Despite the heavy lifting, Washington's proposal was shot down.''