The Future of Transatlantic Relations: Perceptions, Policy and Practice

By Andrew M. Dorman; Joyce P. Kaufman | Go to book overview

11 Georgia and the Transatlantic Relationship

The New Kid on the Block

Tracey C. German


Introduction

In January 2009 Georgia and the United States signed a strategic accord, deepening American cooperation with the South Caucasian state and strengthening the latter’s ties with the West. Relations between the two countries were already strong, but the strategic partnership accord serves to underline the importance that Washington has placed on its ties with westward-leaning states in the former Soviet bloc.1 The Georgian-US relationship only came into existence in the 1990s, with Georgia’s independence from the Soviet Union. Georgia is a relatively new actor on the transatlantic stage, but it has already proved itself to be a keen supporter of US policy and is eager to establish itself as a valuable member of the Euro-Atlantic community. It is the most pro-Western of the three South Caucasus states,2 and, since independence in 1991, it has sought to maintain an autonomous and pragmatic foreign policy that removes it from the Russian sphere of influence, an objective that dominates policy-making in all areas. Following the 2003 ‘Rose Revolution’, President Mikhel Saakashvili’s government has been even more inclined to seek the active engagement of external actors such as the US, NATO, the EU and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and has consistently sought to demonstrate its desire to integrate with the West.3

This desire for integration into the Euro-Atlantic community is a key priority for Georgia’s foreign and security policy-makers, but has provoked fundamental rifts both between Washington and its European allies and between

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