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The goals of the Georgian people are the goals of the USA

By Messenger Staff
Friday, July 24
On the eve of Joe Biden’s visit to Georgia President Saakashvili gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal which created controversy. Saakashvili denied saying certain things attributed to him by the newspaper. The opposition maintained that he must indeed have said these things and the population is merely confused.

Saakashvili’s administration stated that the President’s words had been misinterpreted by the newspaper’s editors and they had apologised for this. However Saakashvili’s reported comment that Georgia’s hopes of joining NATO are “almost dead” is still being speculated on in the Georgian media. In the original article the Wall Street Journal went further, quoting Saakashvili as saying in connection with this that “It’s tragic. It means that the Russians fought for the right reasons.” It also wrote: “Before the August war, Mr. Saakashvili spoke confidently of his country’s accession to NATO and the EU, and its imminent reunification with the two breakaway regions - South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Now the President says achieving these three goals seems unlikely any time soon.”

Saakashvili categorically denies saying these words, but actually this does not matter. What matters now for Georgians are convincing and confident answers to these questions: How realistic are the chances of Georgia integrating with NATO and the EU and the promises so frequently given by the Rose Revolution leaders about restoring the country’s territorial integrity?

Since the August war, which Georgia fell into either by being trapped or provoked, sceptically-inclined political analysts have commented that the administration created great public hope and expectation about achieving these things and huge amounts of money were spent trying to do so, on defence and civil society strengthening and other projects related to recovering the breakaway regions. However the August war and its results deeply frustrated all these promises, and the consequences of it will be felt for some time to come. One result is that pro-Russian forces in Georgia have started to raise their voices. The notorious pro-Russian political figure Alexander Chachia has said that the major foreign policy goals of Georgia are not achievable. Such political figures will try and manipulate Georgia into reorienting its priorities, which will mean if effect adopting a position of neutrality. Such subversive ideology should be opposed by serious, solid and convincing arguments, based on facts and result-oriented.

Of course one should not expect miracles from Biden’s visit or anything which could fill Georgia with immediate optimism. We realise that although NATO’s and the EU’s doors are open for Georgia some time will pass before we can go through them. The same can be said about territorial integrity: it will not be restored by waving a magic wand. What we should hope for at this stage is unequivocal support of Georgia’s democratic development, meaning the building of new democratic institutions and the strengthening of those which already exist. We can rightly expect the US to commit itself to helping develop Georgia’s economy and, most importantly, ensuring there is a genuine commitment from the incumbent authorities to conduct themselves in a proper way, not put on a show for PR reasons but demonstrate true goodwill and dedication to the country’s political and economic welfare. Here Western help is badly needed, and the West can make a significant contribution to Georgia’s welfare by genuinely monitoring the political, social and economic situation in the country.

Only such an approach will guarantee Georgia’s democratic future and its ability to achieve its goals. As Georgia’s declared goals are also Western ones, it is natural for Georgians to turn to the West and ask it to make words reality.