- Abkhazia by John Colarusso
- The Stalin-Beria Terror in Abkhazia, 1936-1953, by Stephen D. Shenfield
- The International Legal Status of the Republic of Abkhazia In the Light of International Law, by Viacheslav Chirikba
- Why Can Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili Not Emulate Willi Brandt? by Liz Fuller
- Commentary on the Resolution of the European Parliament for Georgia, 17 November 2011
- Kosovo or Abkhazia: Contrasts and Comparisons
- International law and the Russian “occupation” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, by Richard Berge
- 'Absence of Will': A commentary, prepared by Metin Sönmez
- Documents from the KGB archive in Sukhum. Abkhazia in the Stalin years, by Rachel Clogg
- On the 20th anniversary of the start of Georgia’s war against Abkhazia, by Stanislav Lakoba
- Military Aspects of the War. The Battle for Gagra (The Turning-point), by Dodge Billingsley
- Alleged human rights violations during the conflict in Abkhazia | Amnesty International, 1993
- A reply to Paul Henze’s views on Georgia, by George Hewitt - February 1993
- Ossetia-Georgia-Russia-U.S.A. Towards a Second Cold War?, by Noam Chomsky
- Thinking the Unthinkable: What if Georgia and the West Were to Recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia? by Paul Goble
- A Chance to Join the World, by Neal Ascherson
- Hitler calls on Georgians to win back Abkhazia
- Opinion: Hottentot morality - Uri Avnery
- Abkhazia: A Broken Paradise, by Georgi Derluguian
- Baron Pyotr Karlovich Uslar: Inventor of the First Abkhaz Alphabet, by Stephen D. Shenfield
- Lesson to the West: Abkhazian independence is a fact, by Inal Khashig
- Abkhazia, from conflict to statehood, by George Hewitt
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|Is Everything Good for the U.S. Good for Georgia, and Vice Versa? By Justin Logan|
|Articles - Analysis|
|Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:34|
The National Interest, December 8, 2010
One of the tropes of the Washington foreign-policy commentariat that I, and I imagine other realists, find most vexing is the tendency to assume that All Good Things Go Together. What is good for Washington is also good, by definition, for all of Washington’s allies, for the spread of freedom, economic growth, and democracy throughout the world, and for a variety of other purposes.
Invading Iraq, we were told, was not just smart for our national-security interests, but it would also be good for Iraqis because it would replace Saddam Hussein with a liberal democracy. This, in turn, would be good for the region because of the salutary effect such an example would have for other people living under other despotic regimes there, which would then have positive effects for the world at large, because, as we all are supposed to understand, the spread of democracy is by definition coextensive with the spread of peace.
Of course, it has not worked out that way. But one sees the same sort of thinking on display almost daily in Washington’s foreign policy debates.
Take, for example, the discussion in this article by Josh Rogin about the WikiLeaked documents involving Georgia, Russia, and the “reset” of U.S.-Russia relations. The central point of the article is this statement by U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle in June 2009:
Beyrle acknowledges that the Georgian government likely would prefer to be sold arms from the United States, but argues that such a preference is actually in opposition to Georgia’s true interests, because arms sales would make Georgia less safe from Russia, not more:
The implicit idea here is that Saakashvili is reckless and that arms sales would raise the likelihood of reckless behavior on his part, which would be bad for him, bad for Georgia, and bad for us. In the same article, Samuel Charap, associate director for the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center of for American Progress, agrees and expands on the logic, making two separate (or separable) points:
And then, more broadly:
The first point is a breath of fresh air: The question is not whether we can do what a client state wants us to do, but what we should want to do. Amen. But on the second point, if a client state wants us to do something that we’ve decided isn’t in our best interests, then maybe we have conflicting interests and should reassess the relationship, right?
No. Instead we assert that the client state is misperceiving its interests and instead will benefit from our unapologetically pursuing our own interests.
U.S. policymakers in the Obama administration appear to have decided—correctly, in my view—that the marginal benefits to us of somewhat warmer relations with Russia outweigh the potential benefits of policies designed to bring Georgia under the American security umbrella. That is the sort of calculation that they ought to be making, and there is no need to apologize for thinking in those terms.
But neither is there any need to gussy up our perception of our interests as being somehow identical to Georgia’s interests. Were I a Georgian foreign policy adviser, I would be pushing as hard as I could for the U.S. to sell arms, send military advisers, and beef up its diplomatic presence, as well as for NATO to grant a Membership Action Plan for ultimate accession to the Alliance, and every other benefit I could get.
In my view, that’s what the Georgians should be doing, whereas Washington should be opposing all of those policies. We have different interests. In a better world, instead of arguing that America’s interests are the world’s interests, we would simply acknowledge that our interests are not always in the interests of others whom we may wish well. We have every right to our interests, and they have every right to theirs. But the two are not necessarily coextensive.
Source: The National Interest
Justin Logan is associate director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. He is an expert on U.S. grand strategy, international relations theory, and American foreign policy. His current research focuses on the formation of U.S. grand strategy under unipolarity; the growing role of counterinsurgency (COIN) and nation building in U.S. foreign policy; and the intellectual lineage of COIN.
He has authored numerous policy studies and articles on topics including international relations theory, U.S. China policy, U.S. Russia policy, stabilization and reconstruction operations, and the policy approaches to a nuclear Iran. His articles have appeared in the Harvard International Review, The National Interest, Orbis, the Foreign Service Journal, The American Conservative, Reason, The American Prospect, National Review Online, the Chicago Sun-Times and other publications. He has made regular appearances on a variety of broadcast media including the BBC, MSNBC, Fox News, Voice of America, and others.