• An Uncertain Future for Georgian Democracy

    The election of Salome Zurabishvili as Georgia’s next president serves as a dual landmark in Georgian history: she will be the first woman to assume the office and presumably the last to do so by popular vote. In her election night victory speech on November 28, Zurabishvili took an important, positive step by acknowledging the need to reach out to those who didn’t vote for her after a very tough and divisive race. By doing so, she seemed to aspire to what parliament said it intended through its 2017 constitutional changes in the role of the president: to transcend party politics and represent the nation as the ceremonial head of state, while transitioning from the choice of citizens to that of elected officials.

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  • The West Has an Opportunity, Yet Again, to Push Back Against Russia

    In August of 2008, Russia used separatist proxies in South Ossetia to attack Georgian villages near the city of Tskhinvali. The attack provoked a Georgian military response, which Moscow used as a pretext for a largescale invasion and occupation of Georgian territories.

    Russia did not embark on that military adventure simply to occupy Georgian territories. It had a more important strategic goal in mind—to prevent an eastern enlargement of NATO. Russian President Vladimir Putin calculated, correctly as it turned out, that the Russian commitment to keep Georgia out of NATO was much greater than the Western commitment to Georgia’s security.

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  • Georgia, Where Everything Old Is Maybe New Again?

    On October 28, Georgians went to the polls to elect their fifth president, possibly for the last time. Neither candidate, both former foreign ministers, won outright. An unprecedented run-off is slated for December 2.   

    The United National Movement (UNM) presidential candidate Grigol Vashadze achieved an unexpectedly strong showing (37.7 percent) against the ruling Georgian Dream party backed candidate (38.6 percent) Salome Zurabishvili. The outcome belies the current level of one-party rule and presents a surprise proxy rematch between political personalities which have defined the national landscape since 2011. Six years after defeating Misha Saakashvili’s UNM in parliamentary elections, Georgian Dream grey cardinal and oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili may be losing his Midas touch. 

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  • #ElectionTracker: No, the United States Isn't the Only Country Getting Ready To Vote

    Scan the headlines these days and you would be forgiven for thinking that the United States is the only country preparing for an important election. As seemingly all attention focuses on voters from the Atlantic to the Pacific don’t lose sight of some other contests around the world. Here is a look at the races we are watching in the runup to the US midterms.

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  • The New Cold War Could Learn a Lot from the Old One

    Territories between great powers—borderlands—have always been areas of strife. So it is with the countries caught between Russia and the West, those that were once part of the Soviet Union or firmly within its sphere of influence. Much of Europe has consolidated and, with the United States, established a lasting liberal democratic order, but Russia has been increasingly pushing back. Though most of the “borderlands” countries are now West-facing, Moscow wants to control at least the national security policies of its near neighbors.

    The West should reject Moscow’s claim.

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  • Atlantic Council Looks Back on 2008 Russia-Georgia War

    The Atlantic Council commemorated the ten-year anniversary of the 2008 Russia-Georgia war with a series of pieces looking at the impact of the war and the unsettled geopolitical situation today.

    Here is a look back at the pieces which ran from August 7 until August 9:

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  • The Russo-Georgian War's Lesson: Russia Will Strike Again

    The 2008 Georgian War was Russia’s first successful military action outside of its borders since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The invasion came on the heels of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s now famous imperialist revival speech at the 2007 Munich Security Conference, where he launched into a long tirade against the West, enumerating Russia’s grievances and posturing to regain a global superpower status.

    On the tenth anniversary of the Russian Federation’s war with Georgia we must remember that only Western unity and a battle-worthy NATO can prevent Russian aggression against its neighbors and deter a wider war.

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  • The West Should Stand Stronger With Georgia

    Ten years ago, Russia invaded Georgia, burning and ethnically cleansing the villages of the Tskhinvali region and occupying and recognizing the regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Moscow’s immediate objective was to limit the sovereign right of Georgia to resist the corrupt, backward, and technologically obsolete Russian political and economic system, and, instead, join the transatlantic political, military, and economic alliances of advanced economies. The invasion followed the April 2008 NATO Summit, where Georgia and Ukraine were given a commitment, but no actual mechanisms and timeframe to become members of NATO. The Russian Federation saw this as a window of opportunity to prevent the process.

    Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation has attempted to control the countries in its neighborhood at all cost and punish those countries who resist Moscow’s will. In 2008, the United States and the West did not do enough to deter Russian aggression – this mistake must not be repeated.

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  • Simakovsky in USA Today: Russia invaded Georgia exactly 10 years ago. Here's how Trump could prevent another war.

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  • Fried in USA Today: Russia invaded Georgia exactly 10 years ago. Here's how Trump could prevent another war.

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