GEORGIA ON MY MIND -PROMOTING CONNECTIVITY AND PREVENTING THE CAUCASUS FROM BECOMING THE NEW BALKANS
Georgia's new president, Mikheil Saakashvili, stopped in Washington for one of those " unofficial visits "
that often presage a regional realignment of American foreign policy.
Saakashvili took power in an overwhelmingly popular, bloodless, coup that toppled the disintegrating regime of former Soviet Foreign Minister Edvard Shevardnadze. The latter had proven unable to quell ethnic separtism of Georgia's fractious regional minorities, establish a stable economic base for Georgia or forge a working relationship with Russia ( though that was hardly all Shevardnadze's fault). In a rare show of unanimity, both Moscow and Washington signaled to Shevardnadze to go quietly.
The Caucasus region needs economic stabilization and movement toward the EU and the Europeans could play a decisively helpful role here if they choose to do so, both by easing Moscow's fears that a heavy-handed American presence would bring and holding out carrots for Russian cooperation. Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan need encouragement to integrate economically both to defuse ethnic tensions and strengthen their own viability as independent states. The U.S. can be a catalyst in financial and diplomatic circles to help make these things happen.
MEANWHILE,OVER AT THE ARGUS....
Nathan has a good post up
on the Georgian-Russian conflict.