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Saakashvili's Washington coup

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, February 1
Yesterday, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili met with U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House. While the precise details of their meeting are not yet known, Saakashvili's invitation into the heart of American power is already a triumph for Georgia.

In 2012, both countries will go the polls, with potentially historic outcomes. The American government has demonstrated that they support Saakashvili's government, both by their actions in the past and by granting him the privilege of meeting with Obama in the Oval Office. At a post-meeting briefing, the American president highlighted the achievements Georgia has made in its twenty years of independence, particularly since the Rose Revolution eight years ago. Obama congratulated Georgia on its progress in the field of corruption, and its prospect to standing as a model for democracy in the region. Saakashvili also accepted Obama's thanks for Georgia’s contributions to the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Prior to the meeting, it was widely suggested that Obama's desire to meet with Saakashvili was primarily related to the upcoming parliamentary elections, and the presidential election of 2013. It would be surprising if we do not hear that Obama has put some pressure on Saakashvili to ensure that Georgia's elections are fair. When speaking to the press in Washington, Saakashvili mentioned the forthcoming elections and promised to conduct them democratically – although there was no indication that the presidents seriously discussed the matter.

As it stands now, Saakashvili is returning to Georgia victorious, having secured his relationship with the American government – but most likely only temporarily silencing his critics.