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US military assistance? That is the question

By Messenger Staff
Monday, July 27
US Vice President Biden’s visit to Tbilisi and his openly-proclaimed support for Georgia’s sovereignty have irritated Russia’s imperialistically-oriented political circles. Russian comments on the visit note that the USA will not dare to provide realistic support for Georgia, in particular it will not supply Georgia with the arms and ammunition it asks for. The Russian anti-Georgian and anti-American hysteria makes much of the arms question. However there should not be any question about this at all. If Washington hesitates, and refuses to supply Georgia with appropriate military assistance when needed, this will discredit the US by making a mockery of its declared support for Georgia. If the US further increases its efforts to improve Georgia’s defence capability that would mean that US does what it says, a reputation it most certainly wishes to have when it takes so many foreign policy initiatives designed to improve democracy in other countries.

At the time of Biden’s visit Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin openly stated in an interview with Russian news agency Itar-Tass that Russia would continue to try and prevent the Saakashvili administration rearming. He also highlighted that Russia is taking special measures to achieve this. Karasin said that Russia will either cease or limit military cooperation with a country which provides Georgia with military hardware. The threat is clear.

Analyst Hamlet Chipashvili suggests that if the US supplies Georgia with arms Russia might prevent military cargo from the USA destined for Afghanistan passing through Russian territory. So the US would have to make up its mind what would be more beneficial for it - to supply Georgia with arms or ensure the implementation of its policy in Afghanistan. Moscow is always spouting rhetoric about Georgia’s aggressiveness and militarisation. This is more than cynical, as the Kremlin is occupying 1/5th of Georgia’s territory, has recognised puppet regimes there and is stacking these regions with enormous quantities of arms, ammunition and soldiers while Russian tanks are about 50 kilometres from Tbilisi. Under such conditions Moscow talks about the aggressiveness of Tbilisi!

Of course nobody in the world can give physical guarantees of Georgia’s security. Georgian political figures and analysts are not so naive as to imagine that either the US or any other party will get involved in military confrontation with Moscow. Political analyst Konstantin Zhgenti has stated in the Rezonansi newspaper that in the event of repeated military assault by Russia Georgia will receive no more support than was rendered last August. He adds that however many times world leaders say they respect Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty these statements do not do much, at least in the near future and maybe for longer, to de-occupy these territories and reintegrate them with Georgia. In fact US and international organisations have considerably fewer levers they can use to stop Russia pursuing its ‘spheres of interest’ policy and pressurising former Soviet republics than Russia has to maintain its military, economic, political and other influence.

This is the reality and appropriate conclusions should be drawn from it. The first should be that the Georgian administration should not create an unrealistic mood of false expectation that the de occupation has already started or will start in the near future, because this will eventually discredit our allies. The second is that US support should be utilised to build strong, clearly democratically-oriented state institutions. The third conclusion is that a consistent, result-oriented economic policy should be elaborated targeting at developing small and medium-sized businesses rather than monopolies, a policy which should eventually facilitate the creation and strengthening of the middle class, the back bone of a country’s statehood. When we have these tools to hand we can start thinking about reintegrating the breakaway territories, but this will take serious time and effort.