A Wakeup Call For The West
Georgia’s Fifth Column Stirs

As the U.S. and Europe struggle to respond to Russian aggression in Ukraine, Moscow hopes to export its Orthodox-Nationalist ideology to Georgia—just as public cynicism towards Tbilisi’s pro-West political consensus is increasing.

Published on: May 19, 2014
Michael Hikari Cecire is a Black Sea regional analyst and an associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
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  • Pete

    Crazy advise of bringing Georgia into NATO.

    This is NOT in America’s interest to do so!

    • Sergey

      why?

      • Pete

        No Sergy. the ominous is on those who want America to give security guarantees to a small, far away, inconsequential countries with no historical ties to the U.S.

        • Sergey

          NATO forces are directed primarily against Russia, so logical base in Georgia.

          It’s not bad for NATO, but for Georgia.

          • Pete

            “NATO forces are directed primarily against Russia …”

            And that’s a big part of the problem. NATO forces should not be directed against anybody ….. except perhaps the Muslims..

          • Sergey

            i am western ukrainian, and I agree with you. In the first part of your sentence).
            The second reminds me of a joke: “I do not like nazi and negroes.”

          • Pete

            Checkmate!

            You have a self-interest in others defending or liberating or economically supporting your country.

            America has no such interest … or need. And indeed,for the U.S. to attempt to do so is a disservice to America’s national interest.

          • Sergey

            I think that there are two USAs.

            1. Usual country, like others in the world.
            2. Neocolonial empire which makes its puppet governments in other countries.

            For the second type is quite common action. Please explain to me—why it is ” disservice to America’s national interest.”?

  • Neal Zupančič

    I’m not sure I can agree with the conclusion. America’s experience of arming occupied nations in which ultra-nationalist religious fundamentalists are gaining political and social traction has been poor, to say the least. In the short term, beefing up Georgia’s military equipment would seem to decrease the cost of another armed conflict with Russia, which in turn could make that disastrous possibility more likely. In the long term, how do we know whatever hardware the US gives to Georgia won’t end up in the hands of the Russians? In Ukraine soldiers were getting out of tanks and surrendering their equipment and ammo to pro-Russian forces.

    I can’t see any scenario in which the rewards of increased American military aid to Georgia outweigh the risks.

    As for the vague notion that Georgian citizens “deserve” deeper integration with the West – what is the standard by which we measure that? And how do we even know that deeper integration is a reward and a net benefit to Georgians? It seems they already resent the imposition of Western values in several different domains, in everything from meat inspections to religious pluralism, and it’s not at all clear that Europe and America will end up winning the culture war we’re dragging Georgian society into using the carrot of free trade and open borders and the stick of Russian military occupation.

    If anything, I’d say we need to slow down and let the Georgians work all this out by themselves. There’s never been an Orthodox Enlightenment; maybe in another few decades (or centuries), Georgians will be truly ready for or interested in “deeper integration” with the West, but for now, I’m not convinced that the Orthodox and Western Secular mentalities are compatible enough.

  • gabrielsyme

    Suggesting that the appropriate course of action for the West is to plant another thorn in the side of Russia is irresponsible and foolish. Perhaps someone can explain how this kind of attitude is any different from the Cold War mentality of encirclement and containment. No wonder Russia has proven an irritable bear of late.

    The West should instead formulate a plan of good relations with nations like Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and Belarus which promotes their prosperity but firmly places them outside of Western institutions such as the EU and NATO. A plan of detente with Russia would serve the stability and prosperity of the former Soviet states in general and allow for better relations with Russia itself. One condition of such a detente might be Russian withdrawal from Abkhazia and South Ossetia and support for the re-establishment of Georgian sovereignty over those areas.

    We should not be surprised that small countries often have to accomodate themselves to their larger neighbours. Canada is not precisely in the same situation but it certainly has to accomodate itself to American concerns, and America is a much more easy-going neighbour.

  • Andrew Allison

    “it is long past time that Georgia’s Western choice translates into the deeper integration its people deserve” didn’t work out too well for Ukraine! Maybe we should quit Bear-baiting.

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