Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Georgia on my Mind

Came across this article in the NYTimes the other day. The gist of the piece can be gleaned from this passage:

But Lincoln A. Mitchell, a Georgia expert at Columbia University, contended that Mr. Saakashvili now presided over a “semiauthoritarian” state, while saying that it was the most democratic of the former Soviet states in the region.
“The reality is that the Saakashvili government is the fourth one-party state that Georgia has had during the last 20 years, going back to the Soviet period,” he said. “And nowhere has this been more apparent than in the restrictions on media freedom.”

What bothers me in this case is the lack of follow up by many of our traditional "News" outlets. Maybe we Americans are an incurious sort, but we have actually had Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates allude to the possibility of US military support for Georgia , in the event of further conflict with Russia. The possibility of bringing Georgia into NATO is dangled by candidates from both parties. Do we really need to add another semi-authoritarian regime into our satellite system?

I'm wondering if US interest in Georgia is another example of Realpolitik. Are we really helping push for a new democratic state or are we simply developing another client for weapons sales and another piece for an ongoing geopolitical chess game. As I said in The Bear is Back it's a whole new game now in the US-Russian rivalry and I'm not entirely sure we still have the upper hand.

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