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Mid-term elections and US foreign policy

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, November 11
The whole world is interested in how the results of the US mid-term elections will influence its foreign policy.

Here in Georgia, we are most concerned as to whether there will be changes in US foreign policy towards the Caucasus region. Local analysts hope that major strategic changes will not take place although there is the possibility that a stricter approach may be adopted towards Russia. Some analysts, however, think that these are only Georgian hopes. The results of mid-term elections made the analysts think that some changes could take place in the country’s foreign policy. It is common knowledge that Republicans criticized the Obama administration for its reset policy towards Russia and, instead, demanded a firmer approach towards Moscow.

Analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze does not exclude that these elections may end the reset policy in its honeymoon period. Mamuka Areshidze, another analyst, agrees and thinks that the US will become more active in its foreign policy concerning Russia. Essentially, this would involve putting pressure on Russia to develop more energetically towards democracy. However, this will take some time while today, Russia is neo imperialistic and aggressive with these features of Russia being most visible in the Caucasus region. Georgian analysts think that a lot should be changed in US policy in regards to Caucasus politics and an American analyst Ariel Cohen is also critical towards US-Caucasus policy highlighting that it is in deep crisis.

“U.S. efforts to normalize Armenian-Turkish relations in isolation from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have not yielded positive results,” Cohen said in an interview with The Caucasus Times.

Today, Moscow is doing everything to strengthen its regional leadership by all available means, he said. Something which Cohen believes is not difficult, amid the Obama administration’s apparent weakening of interest in the South Caucasus. The Kremlin took over the main role as mediator in the territorial dispute between Baku and Yerevan, and is now trying to keep a delicate balance between its traditional ally, which is Armenia, and its prospective partner Azerbaijan, he said.

‘Unfortunately, U.S. policy in the region, which both parties have pursued over the last 20 years during the Clinton and Bush administrations, is in deep crisis. Obama’s administration is too attentive to all the complaints of Moscow while officials of Georgia say that they cannot receive elementary defensive weapons from Moscow. USA has important interests in the South Caucasus linked with Iran, energy, transit to Afghanistan, development of markets and democracy. Cohen insists that these interests must be protected.

Tbilisi has always claimed that the US is its major strategic partner, however the public expects more radical measures to be taken by its strategic ally to defend Georgia’s sovereignty. Meanwhile, Georgia tries to improve the situation inside the country, implementing certain democratic developments to satisfy its NATO and EU aspirations, providing its share of involvement in NATO operations in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Now that the US mid-term elections are over, the Obama administration will definitely start adjusting its foreign policy and Tbilisi might at least receive some benefits from it. Meanwhile the country itself should follow the recommendations put forward by NATO or the EU so that, eventually, some visible and positive results for the country could be yielded.