Foreign Policy Blogs

No Blooming Rose

Georgia may have once been America’s darling in the Caucasus, but no more.  As pressure mounts from within on Georgia’s young President, Mikhail Saakashvili, the political dynamics outside the country seem ever less favorable.  First there was the world economic crisis, reducing trade and foreign aid.  Then there was the lukewarm attitude toward Georgia on the part of Europe, prompted by Russia’s efforts to isolate Tbilisi politically.  Now, an Obama administration focused on Turkey and its fragile rapprochement with Armenia serve to steer attention away from Georgia to nearby countries with less chaotic internal affairs.  Last August, John McCain and Joe Biden vied to prove themselves and their respective tickets the better champion of the stalwart Georgians.  Now the bloom is off Saakashvili’s “Rose Revolution.”

Russia has reportedly redoubled its efforts to weaken Georgia from within, but it may be pushing on an open door.  Saakashvili’s unpopularity appears to be rising even without Moscow taking a direct hand.  If Georgia descends further into political uncertainty, Moscow will be the beneficiary — just as it is in Ukraine, home to the fading Orange Revolution.  Before Russia, no stranger herself to revolution, can capitalize on the internal weaknesses of her former territories, she must address her own internal weaknesses.  Weakened economic and political institutions across a broad stretch of southern Eastern Europe — from Moldova to the Caucasus — are not a harbinger of democratic spring, but fragility and possible upheaval.

 

Author

Mark Dillen

Mark Dillen heads Dillen Associates LLC, an international public affairs consultancy based in San Francisco and Croatia. A former Senior Foreign Service Officer with the US State Department, Mark managed political, media and cultural relations for US embassies in Rome, Berlin, Moscow, Sofia and Belgrade, then moved to the private sector. He has degrees from Columbia and Michigan and was a Diplomat-in-Residence at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins. Mark has also worked for USAID as a media and political advisor and twice served as election observer and organizer for OSCE in Eastern Europe.

Areas of Focus:
US Government; Europe; Diplomacy

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