Georgia: US Controlled Colony
Since 2003 Georgia has been something of a U.S. colony, albeit greatly influenced by foreign intelligence agencies. The 2008 Georgian-Russian conflict over South Ossetia has much to do with networks of patronage linked to larger political agendas, arms dealers and oil pipelines; it appears that President Mikheil Saakashvili’s calling has been to play all sides, especially the U.S., for his own political and financial benefit. He is well-prepared for his eventual departure.
Georgia experienced a serious political crisis around the time of the conflict, in which Saakashvili was pitched against the "United Opposition," a popular movement which grew in numbers after the government violently cracked down on peaceful protesters in Tbilisi’s Rustaveli Avenue on Nov. 7, 2007, and again on May 26, 2010. Finally, out of political expediency, and the decision made in the US that it was time for change, the pro democracy forces were able to gain the majority in Parliament with the help of the United States - at least, the US did not overtly take sides, thus clearing the way for the removal of its former favorite child. Relatively free and fair elections resulted, thanks to EU monitors who proved at last that they cannot turn a blind eye to absolutely everything, and the US finally deciding to play tough love by threatening to cut off funding if the elections were again rigged.
The responsibilities of individuals and the state to conduct moral intervention, as they at times can team up, albeit for diverging and often short term marriages of convenience, need to be considered. The moral obligations of all actors do not decrease the further they are from direct involvement. Rather, the opportunities for action and intervention increase the further they are removed. Hannah Arendt’s understanding of responsibility is outlined in her book “Eichmann in Jerusalem”, where she points out how “the degree of responsibility increases as we draw further away from the man who uses the fatal instrument with his own hands (247).” Responsibility cannot be delegated; it belongs to those most affected by an action. Every human being and fledgling state has a right to self-preservation, and no obligation or “side deal” should potentially compromise this right.
Staged provocations have not been uncommon in Georgia, nor perceived winds of change. The lack of sound domestic policies required the creation of an external distraction and threat. Saakashvili came to power in 2003 with the promise that he would restore Georgia's territorial integrity and develop democracy. Prior to the heated parliamentary elections of 2008 and 2012 as his real popularity withered, attention was drawn to events in the conflict zones or some new tourism project, as this gave Saakashvili more airtime and mobilized all citizens by insisting on the need to protect territorial integrity and support the incumbent president as a means of doing that. That policy ultimately proved a dismal failure, and aside from a Potemkin village like make-over, Potemkin Democracy was firmly established with the help of the West, especially the US and EU.
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