Trouble in Tbilisi

Liberty and security are hard to combine. Georgians risk losing both.

Issue: Spring 2005

On the eastern shore of the Black Sea, in the wine-soaked country where Jason and his Argonauts sought the Golden Fleece and Stalin felt his first dark impulses, a stark battle between the forces of good and evil has entered its second year. On one side, a charismatic young lawyer leads a government of idealistic young people committed to ending their country's age-old domination by an unholy alliance of criminals and corrupt officials. On the other side, a cabal, for whom their chosen ends justify any means, including violations of virtually every precept of the rule of law, controls all levers of power. It is a classically Manichean struggle in which both the United States and Europe have committed enormous resources to help the heroes prevail. But alas, there's an unhappy catch: In this drama the heroes and villains are the same people, and the forces of light and of darkness are two sides of the same crusade.

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