Giorgi Rukhadze: Georgia cannot be a partner of the USA without democracy
Regarding the appeal to the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, signed by representatives of the Georgian expert community. The question is often asked, why is it a military base, and not NATO membership, a free trade agreement or some other issue from the current agenda of our relations? By the way. there was a conversation about this among the signatories, but in the end we came to the conclusion that it would be better to focus on one specific issue, since it is clear that in the event of an expansion of the US military presence in Georgia, Georgia’s integration into NATO will receive a powerful impetus. The emphasis was placed on the deployment of the military base based on the situation in the region. With other options, there is simply no quick fix.
Yes, Georgia is not a NATO member and the appearance of a US military base near the border with Russia will certainly entail complications with Moscow. However, one should bear in mind that circumstance. that the situation in the region has indeed changed dramatically. Turkey. which is a NATO member in a certain form is already represented in the South Caucasus, there is tough competition between Moscow and Ankara. In these conditions, a broader US representation in the region could play an extremely positive role. Therefore, we considered it necessary to remind the US Secretary of State about this.
how real is another question. We must focus on what is important to us. It is clear that the question is not simple, moreover, the question is complex. This is not a designer – he took and set up a base, but if the United States sees such a need, they should know that Georgia will fully support them in this matter. Poland may not be a completely relevant example, but still, when Trump decided to withdraw troops from Germany, Warsaw immediately saw this window of opportunity and took advantage of it.
It should be well understood that this is a matter of mutual interest, and a strategic partnership with the United States means precisely that these interests coincide. This is in no way a relationship between a sovereign and a vassal, however, it makes no sense to pay attention to conversations about this. In addition, here we are talking not only about Georgia, the most important logistics and energy routes pass through us. If the US loses influence in the region, it will lead to an increase in Russia’s influence, and this in turn will affect the energy security of Europe. Everything is already distributed in the South Caucasus, Armenia. whether it wants it or not, Russia’s strategic partner, Azerbaijan, is not just a strategic partner of Turkey, these are fraternal countries. This alone is enough to understand that the strategic partnership between Georgia and the United States has no alternative.
And one more point to which I would like to draw special attention. The United States has many strategic partners around the world. Some of them are democracy, some are not democracy. someone is semi-democracy, and here someone might think – what is the problem, we are clearly more democratic than Saudi Arabia. But the point is that we are not a country that can be governed by authoritarian methods for a long time. In a country like Georgia there can be no peace and stability without democracy. This is well understood in the United States, as they understand even then. that if there is no democracy in Georgia, we will not be able to be strategic partners of the United States.
So the issues of free elections and democracy are not our internal issue, this is the direct interest of the United States. It is already bad that our authorities cannot take Mike Pompeo to the opening of the port of Anaklia, the issues with the problems of American investors have not been resolved, not to mention the problems of legal proceedings, and so on. In this situation, it is very important that at a meeting with representatives of the non-governmental sector, the Secretary of State and, accordingly, the new administration were conveyed the firm will of the people of Georgia – to live in a democratic state.
Giorgi Rukhadze, GSAC