Realism About GeorgiaIssue: Winter 2003-2004
I've received some critical comments about last week's column, especially as it related to the situation in Georgia. According to this criticism, I am apparently missing the strategic opportunity that has presented itself to the United States to reshape the Caucasus.
No, I am not ignorant of that opportunity. I don't think, however, that we are prepared to shoulder the costs - nor are we prepared to offer the Georgians the very real assistance they would need if we are serious about "breaking" Georgia out of the Russian orbit. Let me explain.
Let's start with some basic facts. 54 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Despite U.S. assistance totaling more than $1.8 billion over the last decade, Georgia's foreign debt now stands at $1.8 billion, and there is a very real danger that Georgia might default.