A few days ago, Ariel Cohen, a researcher on the Atlantic Council and a close associate of influential American political circles, who is an active proponent of NATO’s eastward expansion, spoke to the media about the importance of international security, noting that the Caucasus region should be particularly important in this regard. He said that if the United States and NATO strengthen their presence in the Caucasus and the Black Sea, which should also be reflected in deepening military-strategic cooperation with Georgia, it would be a “strong signal to enemies:” Georgia is a gateway between the East and the West, which controls Russia’s access to Iran and Armenia. Georgia is a shining example of the role small nations can play in global security issues that Washington sometimes forgets … ”
According to Cohen, Georgia is an important country in terms of its ports, which, on the one hand, creates serious leverage for stability in the region and on the other hand enables the West to control threats coming from Russia: “Georgia with its ports in Batumi, Poti and Anaklia now being built can play a major role in the development of the Black Sea Security Strategy …” However, the researcher does not specify what this “security strategy” means or what it sees as the importance of ports and especially the construction of Anaklia Port destination in “controlling threats coming from Russia”
For note: At a time when the issue of Anaklia Port construction aroused actively and became a subject to heated political discussions, both Georgian authorities and US diplomats and NATO officials argued that the project was only commercial and not a step against Russian strategic interests (if commercial, what then do there diplomats and especially NATO, the military block?). Political messages of similar content have been heard from international tribunes towards the Kremlin, but for the official Moscow these statements were naturally lacking in persuasion, and the northern neighbor had a sharp diplomatic reaction on even a slight attempt of NATO to deploy its though minimal forces
What dangers for Georgia might include trying to strengthen US influence in the Black Sea, and what does it mean an American analyst’s assessment about the importance of the port of Anaklia being now under construction? Gulbaat Rtskhiladze, head of the Eurasiann Institute, talks about these and some other important issues with “Geworld”
-, Mr. Gulbaat, if believe to American researcher and analyst Ariel Cohen, Georgia, as an ally of the United States and NATO, is strategically important to counter the threats coming from Russia. He said the ports of the country were particularly important in this regard, including the port of Anaklia under construction. What do you think he might actually mean in this assessment?
-, The fact that Georgia and the Caucasus as a whole has some strategic significance for the West is not new, and today Cohen will say it or any other representative of the American lobbying circles probably does not matter. Most importantly, Washington has recently given up some positions, made strategic compromises and, above all, this deals with the Black Sea region …
-, What exactly is this compromise?
-, First of all, I note that Crimea joined Russia, which, of course, led to significant changes in the geopolitical reality of Eastern Europe and the dynamics of the processes took on a different character. By the way, one very important and noteworthy statement made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who declared these days they are going to recognize t Golan Heights as a part of Israel, unlike Crimea, which, as if, is a completely different situation and a different reality. However, of course, this “logic” is absolutely unreasonable, and everyone knows that no history of the Jewish state has anything to do with the Golan Heights, which belong to Syria; While Crimea has been part of Russia since 1783, by the way, quite rightly and legally, because, as you know, an agreement was reached between the states after the Russia-Turkey War and Sultan signed a document according to which the territory was officially transferred to Russia. As for the well-known Western reactionary rhetoric that NATO should be strengthened in the Black Sea and thereby avoid threats coming from Russia, let’s say that the West no longer has a unified sense of security, and the clear example of French President Emmanuel Macron’s declared position (and Merkel’s somehow silent consent) about a necessity of creation of the new security system. Second, Turkey is a NATO member, but it has much to do with the United States in addition to its direct cooperation with Russia. The fact that some political circles speak openly about the strengthening of positions, including in the area of Russian and Turkish influence, directly points to the concern that the oceans are deepening even because of the recently warming relations between the two countries, but they are an integral part of a large policy and these processes. We don’t have to look at it subjectively . As for Georgia, we must understand and, first of all, the political leadership must understand one thing: any talk, any statement or hint about the importance of Georgia to deflect threats from Russia means using our country as a springboard. The superpower, which says Georgia is an important state to neutralize threats coming from any other country, is practically saying that Georgia should be an area of conflicts and confrontations. Now somebody will say that we should always be in any political orbit and that some political sacrifice would be needed in that orbit, but if anyone tells me how much of a potential counter-threat Georgia is to benefit from being in an anti-Russian provocative orbit and playing a political irritant, I agree, but no argument exists for this . . .
-, In your opinion, what position should Georgia take in this situation?
-, At least one thing is clear today, and I think we all agree: no matter how much international political pressure we have, no matter what pressure or influence is made on our country, we should not be engaged in an adventure of any supper state and must not become a blind weapon in its hands by reason that it lost certain influence and is no trying to obtain it again. Otherwise, if there is further cooperation with the destructive forces that constantly threaten Russia, Russia will have to make decisive steps. Let me repeat: these will be preventive actions and in case of any state threat the Kremlin will have the most severe reaction, which is quite logical.
-, I would like to ask you about the recent developments in Tbilisi. The rallies of people united around the liberal political establishment have been going on for several days on Rustaveli Avenue. What do you think is the purpose of all this? There are speculations that some forces want to stage a similar Kiev Euro-Maiden confrontation.
-, I will briefly say about the actions: The liberal media controlled by the United National Movement and its affiliates are trying to portray these processes as if Ivanishvili had deceived and “dumped” the people. But, a reality is that the government did not keep its promise, with which, at that time it allegedly calmed down the aggressive “liberal” minority as if concerned by Gavrilov’svisit amd, sent them home. Simply put, what we observe these days is not the general public uproar but the uproar of the few aggressive groups united around revanchist political forces whose real goals and objectives have been identified these days. I mean that some of these statements have already been made openly about a possible revolutionary scenario. As for the threat of Euro-maidan, whether we like it or not, one thing is true and everyone sees it: there are some reactionary forces in the West that want to re-radicalize Georgia against Russia. They believe that the current government is not enough efficient in this regard. These forces, of course, are expected to seriously interfere in the processes going on here, and if they see a real prospect in this, they will certainly not refuse. But there is one point that stands in their way: the destructive forces in Georgia, unlike Ukraine, do not have the support of the general public. These forces cannot gather the people and exacerbate the situation sufficiently because the population is already well aware of the political nuances. We will see all other things – what will be the dynamics of the processes and what will happen tomorrow
As for the statements of the lawmakers who left the majority that they could not stay in the people ignoring government , to me this is a funny argument. If they were shameful of lies and ignorance they could raise a voice 7 years ago when the government deceived all Georgia by not fulfilling of inability in fulfilling its main promise of justice …
Interviewed by Jaba Zhvania