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Waiting for Hillary2010-06-24 10:33
Becoming a new US president Barack Obama proclaimed "reset" in relations with Russia for the achievement of common goals of global security. As a result prioritized Afghan and Iranian issues shifted the geopolitical struggle for South Caucasus to the background. But it seems Georgia is unhappy with the supporting roles. From time to time Tbilisi calls attention of the White House. Now Georgians set hopes on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's tour of Caucasus and her possible approval of reconciliation strategy with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. What will Washington say to Tbilisi strategists?
The August conflict in 2008 and Russia's recognition of two Transcaucasian republics was a serious cause of quarrel between Moscow and Washington. Condemning Moscow's response to Georgian aggression by international alliances was the consequence of misunderstanding between the two super powerful states.
But disapproving of Russia's peace enforcement operation in Georgia the West only made things more complicated for itself. Old problems connected with Afghanistan and Iran were not removed from the agenda. And with time came the understanding that without Moscow these problems are simply irresolvable.
Unlike his predecessor, Barack Obama realizes dominance of global security over South Caucasian squabbles. And declared "reset" between most influential states of the world placed the small but proud Georgia to the wayside of Washington-Moscow relations. As a result, over one year and a half since the August 2008 imaginary problems of Georgians are recalled still more seldom.
The top-ranking representatives of the White House keep stating that differences over Georgia must not interfere with US-Russian cooperation in spheres of mutual interests. "Yes, with Russia we do have differences over Georgia supporting sovereignty of this republic, - Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to president remarked. - But even these differences won't be an obstacle for our cooperation".
Representatives of the Russian authorities are optimistic too. Russia's ambassador to USA Sergey Kislyak thinks that "reset" policy in Russian-US relations yields its positive results. "We have become more open in our relations and are ready to hear each other's concerns", - the diplomat says.
However, Tbilisi strategists are not happy with this situation. They persistently call attention of Georgia's main partner to the complicated situation in "occupied territories" (that actually feel quite well at ease in their free floating). Now Georgia hopes to get approval of the new strategy on Abkhazia and South Ossetia which looks really nice at first sight stipulating development of cultural ties and people's diplomacy. But strange as it is the Transcaucasian republics are defined solely as "occupied territories" controlled by "puppet regimes". What respect and restoration of relations can be spoken of?
On July 7 Georgia will greet Hillary Clinton on her drive-by visit. Tbilisi sets special hopes on that visit since the Georgian strategy has long been seeking sponsors. Apparently nobody except for the United States won't finance implementation of this project. It is not impossible that Clinton's reaction will show what the post-Soviet republic is for Washington now - a strategic base in South Caucasus or an obstacle in dealing with Russia.
The experts with whom GeorgiaTimes correspondent talked agree that the USA will support the Georgian strategy financially and morally. Vladimir Anokhin, vice president of the Academy of geopolitical problems