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US presidential elections and Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Friday, November 9
The US presidential election results were closely watched around the world earlier this week. Interest was definitely high in Georgia because the U.S.A. and Georgia are strategic partners.. Georgian Dream (GD) and the United National Movement (UNM) were each supporting different candidates. GD backed President Obama whereas the UNM supported Republican candidate Mitt Romney. In Georgian minds President Saakashvili is perceived as being supported more by Republicans because the Rose Revolution was heavily supported by President George W. Bush. Prominent Republicans (Senator John McCain, for example) have been very vocal in their support of Saakashvili, whereas the Obama Administration has been rather more neutral towards the Georgian President. In fact many Democrats seem to be more sympathetic towards the new Georgian Dream government. It was also interesting how Obama and Romney envisioned America's political relationship towards Russia. Obama has tried to take a moderate and balanced policy towards Russia, whereas Romney in his campaign rhetoric took a more hawkish stance towards the Kremlin. The UNM hoped that if Romney had become President he would have increased American support for Saakashvili and the UNM.

In the event Obama won. Is it premature to guess what this means for Georgia? The Georgian parliamentary and U.S. presidential elections almost coincided in timing. So the Georgian Dream and Obama Administrations will have to deal with each other for the next four years. In regards to American foreign policy towards Georgia it won't make much difference whether the U.S. President is a Democrat or Republican. Realistically the chances of Georgia becoming a NATO member remain largely the same, regardless of the occupant of the White House. Georgia is not going to become a member of NATO in the foreseeable future. However the doors to joining NATO are still open. Georgia is strategically located; it is close to Iran and not very far from Syria. It is also on the transit route from the west to east, to Afghanistan in particular. Georgia remains a strategic partner for the United States and thus the relations between the two countries will likely remain stable in the long term.