Opportunities for Georgia’s Security & Prosperity. Part II

Our country must understand perfectly how complex the Black Sea region is; how complicated ongoing processes in the Middle East are; how powerful the opposing external factors that Georgia’s principal foreign vector is currently facing are; and how urgent it is to activate a format of co-operation that corresponds to new realities with our strategic ally, the United States, in the spheres of defense and security. It should also be underlined that the trend mentioned in this article is nothing new for global policy: in academic circles, it is referred to as a doctrinal line of Realism.

The aim of this line is to find practical solutions in politics, freeing the process creators from unrealistic illusions and impressions and ‘earthing’ its management. This can be achieved through a healthy and pragmatic merging of one’s own national interests with others, and by the technical realization of those rational decisions which were made as a result. It is noteworthy that many more countries (which are important to us and we are accountable to) have begun to adopt such an approach in politics.

It is therefore in Georgia’s national interest to graduate from this school of Realism with distinction and to encourage young people with the necessary political and management skills and methods to enter the real process of decision making. All this would be a big step towards improving the country’s resilience in new global and regional systems.

Also, for Georgia, any form of co-operation must have a concrete goal—co-operation simply for the sake of co-operation is pointless—but this is becoming ever more difficult to achieve given the current rising dominance of national and state egocentrism around the world. Without specific benefits, others will not let us enjoy their resources simply because of declarations and will not waste valuable resources and expectations. Making important decisions will therefore be increasingly subjected to the ‘stress-test of practical profitability’. We, Georgians, must understand this very well.

This urgency of the need to understand this test becomes even clearer if we remember that in relations between countries, might, strength and size will continue to be defining factors, and whose impact will indeed presumably increase in the new post-pandemic world. Through the prism of our country’s expectations, this circumstance almost doubles the need for ‘Georgian Realism’. In an ego-centric world, then, what should Georgia’s ‘ego-standard’ resemble?

The answer to this question requires us to consider two main secondary issues: What would the practical benefits of co-operation be in terms of our national interests? And how would the interests of this co-operating country correspond to those of our allies? Finding positive answers to both these sub-issues can simplify the decision-making process and guide us towards the means of carrying it out; whereas in terms of practical results, any kind of decision should serve two main missions: better security and greater prosperity for Georgia.

Ways, approaches, solutions…

Several key issues require additional thinking and discussion. In order to tame the occupying country’s expansion and revisionism in the region, NATO’s model of regional security is quite unsatisfactory. On the Alliance’s eastern flank, eliminating the asymmetry between the Baltic and Black seas requires the urgent establishment of a so-called ‘Enhanced Forward Presence’ in the Black Sea region.

The region’s unpredictable geopolitics and military imbalance make this issue an absolute and urgent priority, and the political deadlock within NATO over the question of novel approaches generates dangerous levels of uncertainty for Georgia, as well as for several partner countries. Moreover, the inadequacy of the current regional security configuration is equally harmful to our strategic ally and pushes us towards a much more non-standard solution. I still believe that our bilateral contractual relations with our strategic partner could be a possible solution, one whose analogue could be found in international practice (albeit with some variations).

If the Alliance halts or slows its eastern expansion, I would regard the following as a possible path to follow: establishing a tightly knit collective security system with a regional twist alongside the United States and several regional partners. Analogues to such a partnership exist, and their advantage presumably lies in their greater mobility and practicality. For example, I would mention the recent US initiative regarding the creation in the Indian and Pacific oceans of a formal ‘mini’ alliance, similar to NATO, bringing them together with India, Japan and Australia. In general, and with a high degree of probability, the ‘dotted criss-crossing’ (hub and spokes) of global security is not without interest for our region.

The regional economy: additional resources and opportunities

When talking about economic co-operation in the region, there are a number of interesting formats with which our participation would have a positive impact on our country’s economy. This is particularly the case as, unlike the political conjuncture, the amplitude of the country’s proactivity is significantly higher within regional economic co-operation. Perhaps the most interesting example of such a project is the so-called ‘C5+1’ regional model, which alongside security also calls for interaction on economic issues.

Although the main members of the ‘C5’ format are five countries of Central Asia, were Georgia to join of this initiative would mean launching trade and transport connections with this very promising region as well as greater economic turnover and attracting more investment. From the point of view of the countries of Central Asia, connections with Georgia—a country of the Black Sea region—would promise better and more diverse access to foreign markets. It is also noteworthy that the ‘+1’ of this format refers to our strategic ally, the United States, which would obviously further increase the practical benefits for Georgia.

If we speak with the language of Realism by becoming involved in similar regional economic projects, our country would be both open to vital co-operation with the West as well as to pragmatically necessary co-operation with the East. We should also consider the fact that, besides increasing economic interconnections, regional projects with healthy interests can also help to decrease regional misunderstandings and conflicts.

Remarks on the importance of bilateralism…

Co-operation between Georgia and the West is regularly covered in the media, and it is a fact that the rate of our country’s integration with different Western structures is increasing. In this regard, the United States’ multilateral relations with Georgia are particularly noteworthy, as they are vital to defending Georgia’s sovereignty and essential to ensuring regional security.

I recently mentioned during a discussion that Georgia is not only a reliable partner for the United States in the region, but could also become a ‘security lock’ at the crossroads of Western interests in the Black Sea region and Middle East. I believe that thinking according to new standards would help us to better imagine prospects for the development of Georgian-Western and Georgian-American co-operation, and would simplify the further refining of rational and operational co-operation tailored to the region.

It is a fact that, in the system of global relations, contributing countries have a special responsibility to foresee and proactively respond to developing events. Moreover, they need to think equally about their own interests as well as those of their partners and allies in order to properly arrange and balance them in the ‘big picture’.

When the world takes a new turn in its historic development and a new fundamental rearrangement of international relations begins, the burden of obligation shouldered by the countries responsible for this system of relations increases tenfold. For example, during the previous century, a new reference point of different rules for post-war Europe was marked by the Truman Doctrine, after which a new system for order and security was established in this part of the continent. Truman’s doctrine was revealed in practice through the Marshall Plan and the creation of NATO. With these two ‘mega projects’, Western political civilization stood up against the spread of Communism across Europe.

Even now, in this post-pandemic era, the world will unavoidably reach a new reference point, and the time for fundamentally new approaches and practical actions will once again be upon us.

One of the main challenges nowadays is halting and suppressing regional revisionism. The bold decisions needed to achieve this aim require courage and freedom of choice. Georgia paid a huge human, moral and material price to obtain her own freedom of choice: let us hope that the Western world very well sees and appreciates this.

By Victor Kipiani, Geocase Chair


More Opportunities for Georgia’s Security & Prosperity. Part I


01 October 2020 16:58