The messenger logo

The US has abandoned Georgia - analyst

By Ernest Petrosyan
Tuesday, May 18
“Obama’s Administration may sell out Georgia and Moldova in exchange for nuclear cooperation with Russia,” says Senior Transatlantic Fellow of the German Marshall Fund and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs David Kramer in an article published in The Washington Post on May 15.

Kramer writes that the Administration seems to have moved towards taking a "Russia only" approach, neglecting and even abandoning other countries in the region. He says that the most glaring example of this came this week, when President Obama, in a message accompanying the White House's resubmission to Congress of a nuclear cooperation pact with Russia, declared that the situation in Georgia "need no longer be considered an obstacle to proceeding" with Congressional review of the agreement.

Kramer emphasises that the Bush administration signed this "123" agreement in May 2008, but withdrew it from Congressional consideration four months later, knowing it would be rejected in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Georgia that August. “Russian forces continue to occupy separatist parts of Georgia in Abkhazia and South Ossetia in blatant violation of the ceasefire agreement between the two countries and are constructing bases in both regions, which Moscow has recognised as independent states. The situation remains tense and could easily explode again,” says Kramer.

According to the analyst Obama’s statement that the existing situation in Georgia is no longer considered an obstacle means that the United States has abandoned Georgia, and stating so baldly that the situation is no longer an obstacle to advancing Russian-American relations means that the administration is essentially giving Russia a green light to continue to engage in provocative behaviour along its borders.

Kramer acknowledges that Obama and US state officials repeatedly state that they do not recognise a Russian "sphere of influence," but points out that actions, or non-actions, speak louder than words. He thinks that through its neglect of countries in the region other than Russia the administration is ceding to Moscow exactly such a sphere.

“By some counts Obama has spoken and met with his "friend and partner" President Dmitry Medvedev more times than with any other leader, including on Thursday. He should use those occasions to lay down clear markers that Russian aggression toward, and occupation of, its neighbours are unacceptable. He also should start making "friends and partners" elsewhere in the region. Some of these leaders aren't the easiest to get along with, nor are they poster children for democracy and human rights - but then again, neither are Medvedev and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin,” – Kramer says.

Georgian political analyst Mamuka Areshidze, however, thinks that it is not certain that the US will sell out Georgia for the sake of US-Russian nuclear cooperation. “US-Russian nuclear cooperation is not restricted to the reduction of the nuclear arsenals of both countries, and involves addressing the Iran issue as well. On the other hand, the recent compromises made by Iran concerning its nuclear programme, and the firm position of Yerevan on Armenian-Turkish relations, make it seem that the US might compromise its position on “change” in the South Caucasus for Iran. However this process is constantly in flux, and Biden’s visit is a sign that the US is not going to simply compromise Georgia away,” told Areshidze to The Messenger.