"Georgia may never be in NATO because of Saakashvili who is perceived by the international community as "reckless"..... When all is said and done, however, Saakahvili as a president still does handle himself in most instances, but he's still a reckless liability; many in the international community consider him as being a loose cannon, not a trustworty parnter and will cut and run when the thick of batter. Can the West afford WWIII as a result of Georgia's NATO membership aspirations as long as Saakashvilli holds the top position as a one man show and wants to focus attention on himself? That pretty much tells why Georgia will not be a member of NATO anytime soon. Here is an article from 2008 Will Georgia's government pay a heavy price for a serious error of judgment? Jeffrey K. Silverman In a HARD TALK interview broadcast on 18 September 2008, Stephen Sackur of the BBC talked to Mikhail Saakashvili, the President of Georgia. Last month's conflict over South Ossetia was a defining moment in relations between Russia, Georgia and the West. Although both sides have agreed to a ceasefire, the long term prospects for stability in that corner of the Caucasus still looks bleak. Many in the international community and those in Georgia who know English were able to witness Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili live on BBC battling it out with Steven Sackur on HARD TALK. It was clear that this was not an even match and Sackur bloodied the Georgian president without even dirtying his hands. It appears as if Saakashvili leaped right into every one of Sackur's debate traps; it was delicious to see the unrehearsed debate and surgical recriminations. Saakashvili may indeed know 4 languages well enough but when "push comes to shove" in a verbal match he parrots all his propaganda to stall for time to think, he said over and over repetitively the same line as are written in many of the Georgian English language newspapers and US Embassy press releases, "beacon of democracy", "economic boom" of Georgia, and the president even said that Georgia was "prosperous". Tell that to many socially disadvantaged and poor people in Georgia, not to mention IDPs, who have seen inflation and price gouging at its worst in the last few years. Their pensions and meager earnings have been eaten away at an unprecedented level. What is sad is that enough money could have been in the budget for making Georgia and its citizens actually prosperous. However, a very large chunk of revenues was gobbled up by the out of control military budget. Saakashvili stepped way over the line a dozen times in half an hour during the BBC program and came across to many as a dangerous and reckless maniac. Some viewers will wonder if all Georgians are so wacky, preposterous, and so very dangerous. However, we can't blame Saakashvili for his professional level of English - he was only in America about four months after all (not that they speak English there!) - The trouble is, as long as Saakashvili is regarded as the legal President he will be supported, as there are no grounds for supporting anyone else. An awful lot of people all over the world would have to admit to a lot of mistakes (and worse) before they faced reality, but a Third World War (which will happen) will force everyone to start again. It may be too early to predict that president-elect has no future - it is just a question of who he takes down with him. His fellow travelers all fancy replacing him, because they still think that they have a future. Some would take exception and say that they are all as much misguided and delusional as he is! Why should Georgia have to put up with this? As Aage Borchgevink, from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights shares "... the mirage of President Mikheil Saakashvili as a Western-oriented reformer, and the strategic aim of strengthening ties between Georgia and NATO, tends to result in favorable assessment of Georgian democracy by Western leaders. The Georgian opposition, on the other hand, portrays Saakashvli as a telegenic Lavrentiy Beria. However, even in polarized Georgia there remain independent monitors, like the Georgian Public Defender. Their version of Georgia is a country going in an authoritarian direction. Based on what Georgia does (and not on what it says), it seems that the Western and democratic orientation of the regime is superficial at best. The Georgian government has made numerous business deals with Russian and Kazakh companies, and could probably establish new strategic alliances in order to protect its interests, the principle of which seems to be maintaining power. Myopic focus of supporting Saakashvili at the expense of an honest look at Georgia's human rights record, may lead to the Western states' discrediting the concept of democracy and antagonizing the Georgian population." Watch this program yourself, provided the link will not be blocked, and you be the judge. I've also seen him on the BBC's "Have Your Say" program before - which in my opinion was an embarrassing performance where he wouldn't shut up. It is as if he likes the sound of his own voice - and thinks that, just because he can speak reasonably fluent English everyone will be on his side. But he just speaks like a Georgian using the English language. Saakashvili made BIG MISTAKES and called Steven Sackur "a dirty Putin" and he was very angry when Sackur asked him if he will let Nino Burjanadze, former speaker of the Georgian Parliament, conduct a full investigation into the "real" events leading up to rockets being fired into Tskhinvali (South Ossetia). Georgia may never be in NATO because of Saakashvili who is perceived by the international community as being"reckless"..... When all is said and done, however, Saakahvili as a president still does handle himself in most instances, but he's still a reckless liability to many; more than a few of those working in the international community consider him as being a loose cannon. Can we afford WWIII with Georgia's NATO membership aspirations as long as Saakashvilli holds the top position as a one man show? Jeffrey Silverman, Freelance American Journalist and resident of Georgia for most part of 17 years. N.B. One of our readers has sent the above article to our address. He writes that he discovered it in the Internet and addressed it to our editorial office along with his note which reads: 'I'd like to know factually whose payroll is Jeffrey Silverman, alleged 'freelance American journalist and resident of Georgia for most part of 17 years'? The note of our reader is signed by: Uime Raari, Freelance Abkhazian Journalist of Finnish origin, resident of Georgia for 'entire part of' 35 years. P.S. True to our policy, Georgian Journal, we publish letters of Messers Silverman and Raari without applying any corrections.
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