The messenger logo

President Saakashvili’s idol

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, January 14
The Georgian media is actively speculating about the President’s interview with The New York Times of December 30 in which he stated that his idol is George Washington.

Having Washington as your hero is a good thing and there are no doubts about the importance of the first US President or his role in the history of mankind.

Holding historic figures up as examples and seeking to emulate them is common practice, at least in modern Georgia. President Eduard Shevardnadze often quoted the famous Georgian public figure of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Ilia Chavchavadze, who played an enormous role in establishing the Georgian patriotic spirit in Russian imperialist times. When Saakshvili was elected President in 2004 he travelled to Gelati church on the day of his inauguration and gave an oath to unite the country at the grave of King David the Builder, who in the 12th century united and strengthened Georgia, transforming it into a powerful regional state.

Saakashvili often quotes King David, highlighting his admiration for his personality. However Saakashvili has repeatedly changed his role models, at different times claiming Kemal Ataturk and Charles de Gaulle were his idols. All these individuals played extremely important roles in the history of their countries and rescued their homelands from hardship. Georgia is experiencing one of the hardest times in its history so if anyone can rescue Georgia from its dire situation he/she is guaranteed to establish his/her place in history, which would be a real miracle. However it is hard to claim that David the Builder was a devoted democrat, which Saakashvili claims to want to be. Therefore he has switched to Washington, who according to the Georgian President could have become a King, but decided otherwise and chose democracy, establishing the Presidential system in the US.

Washington may be a good role model for another President. But what Saakashvili stresses about Washington is that he chose to give up power. This is very interesting! Will following the example of this new role model have certain opposition-desired consequences? Or will Saakashvili once again change his mind, when he understands what he is supporting, and idolize someone else, for example Putin?

This country and its leader, no matter who his idol is, face most serious challenges. First there is restoring our territorial integrity, but no less important are correcting the shortcomings in building democratic institutions and a free media and of course boosting the deeply troubled economy. God bless anyone who manages to solve all these problems. Whoever does will truly become a role model for coming generations.