U.S. and Georgia Demonstrate New Level of Cooperation
By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Friday, December 22As of November 20, the U.S. State Department approved the sale of 410 Javelin Missiles and 71 Javelin Command Launch Units (CLUs). This is not only a military trade, but one more political message from the Donald Trump’s administration that the U.S. is determined to continue partnership with Georgia.
Prior to approving the sale, it was stated that the proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving Georgia’s security. The Javelin system will provide Georgia with increased capacity to meet its national defense requirements.
The Russian Federation responded to the growing military cooperation between Georgia and the U.S. and accused the U.S. of encouraging Tbilisi to engage in new dangerous adventures in the region.
“The State Department and the Pentagon have recently approved the supply of Javelin anti-tank missile systems. This is the first U.S- Georgian military deal on such a scale since 2008. Moreover, instead of training Georgian peacemakers Washington will now be training regular combat units. Washington is also planning to help Tbilisi build another combat training center in Georgia,” says the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry.
On December 14, in response to Russian Foreign Ministry Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria stated that Anti-tank system Javelin will not be used against any country and the only aim of the purchase is to protect Georgia’s sovereignty.
“It is only aimed at efficiently protecting our country’s sovereignty. All type of weapons we have bought or plan to buy will have only a self-defensive character,” stressed Izoria.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Bridget Brink does not share a position of the Russian Foreign Ministry. According to her, this type of military cooperation between Georgia and the United States will help Georgia to improve its security.
"This proposal to sell a weapon to Georgia is within the framework of an already existing military cooperation program aimed to give Georgia an opportunity to defend itself and we are supporting our military ally. Georgia is a sovereign and independent country, which has the right to choose its own future,” stated Brink in an interview with the Voice of America.
For years, Georgia has been trying to acquire the Javelin system. However, this deal has not taken place during the presidencies of George Bush and Barack Obama. But for Trump administration, it took only 10 months to decide to sell one of the most sophisticated anti-tank missiles to Georgia. This is not an exceptional support to Georgia, but just one part of the new, deeper relations between Georgia and the United States.
After Trump’s inauguration, the relations between Georgia and the U.S. improved in many aspects. In July, the US Senate received a bill, which condemns the actions of Russia against Georgia and implies a new sanction. The visit of the Vice President Mike Pence in August was an important political notification.
In August, largescale NATO military drills - Noble Partner 2017 - were held in Georgia. The American participants of the drill made a special march all over the country, visited the military bases and the cities which were occupied by the Russian troops in 2008. In August 2017, SSA Marine became the investor of Anaklia port.
The invigorated support of the new administration of the U.S. President underlines that Georgia remains an important partner of the U.S. and the relations between the two countries have been gradually shifted to a deeper level of cooperation.