Everyone in Georgia has interpreted Obama’s speech as it suits them27.01.2009 | 09:29
The opinions and assessments of Georgian politicians and political commentators who have familiarized themselves with Barack Obama's inauguration speech lead to this conclusion.
Let us remember that at his ceremony the new US President remarked that the country's authorities and the American people will in the future continue to support those people whose ideals are freedom and democracy. People in Tbilisi immediately took this as being meant personally.
"In the coming years relations between Georgia and the USA will become closer than they were before," Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze is confident. "Our strategic relations are based on the internationally accepted principles of democracy and freedom, they are immutable, hence Washington's support for Georgia is also immutable."
The minister emphasized that the USA's position is not that of a single party, a single administration or a single political force. "It is a strategic partnership," he said.
In the view of the chairman of the parliamentary committee on European integration David Darchiashvili, the USA has clearly hinted to Moscow that they are firmly behind Georgia. And they will not accept it being damaged by "authoritarian regimes".
"For us, the USA's foreign policy landmarks are naturally important - that is the principle of support for free and democratic states," he told the TV station Rustavi 2. "It was also said that the confrontation between authoritarian regimes and the free Western democratic world was unacceptable. Whoever it applies to will understand what the new US president said. In my opinion, there should be some within the Kremlin who recognize this."
Meanwhile, the deputy speaker Mikheil Machavariani said that the position of the US Democratic Party gives him confidence that relations between the USA and Georgia will be strengthened. In August it unequivocally supported Georgia.
The Georgian authorities have also heard some encouraging words from American officials.
"Our partnership with Georgia is shaped by our values and interests," Matthew Bryza, former aide to the deputy Secretary of State, told the TV station Imedi. "When he was a senator, Obama also supported Georgia's territorial integrity."
Some Georgian political commentators, however, think that the new American administration will, conversely, help to strengthen the opposition. And they give their first example: representatives of the Georgian Labour party were invited to Obama's inauguration. The political commentator Georgi Udzilauri regards it as a first step towards the USA listening increasingly closely to the opposition. "Without the support of foreign states - the USA, EU countries - it will be difficult for the opposition to promote its ideas," he is quoted by mirtv.ru.
Incidentally, the Labour party has already sent a request to the US Congress for it to, firstly, introduce sanctions against the current Georgian authorities and, secondly, to carry out an investigation into the activities of those US officials who have provided protection for "Saakashvili's regime". According to the Labour party leader Shalva Natelashvili, this means the aforementioned former aide to the US Secretary of State Matthew Bryza, his colleague Daniel Fried and the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
"We are asking for the Congress of the USA to impose sanctions against Saakashvili's regime before he resigns from the post of president," declared Shalva Natelashvili at a press conference on 21st January. According to him, the party has already sent such an appeal to both legislative houses. "We are asking for an investigatory commission to be established to examine those officials who have protected and strengthened Saakashvili's criminal regime," he is quoted by Regnum.
The principles behind the new administration's policy on Georgia are not yet known. But Nemetskaya volna is reporting that experts from the EU's analytical centre are advising President Barack Obama to abandon plans to rapidly put Ukraine and Georgia forward for NATO membership for the time being.
The site 1news.az put up some interesting information quoting the Armenian publication Azatamtutyun. This in turn quotes the Georgian Labour party secretary Nestan Kirtadze. She apparently emphasized that the Georgian president has paid $3 million to the PR-firm Glover Park Group, which has close links to Hillary Clinton - who has just been confirmed as Secretary of State.
She said that Mikheil Saakashvili's plans include encouraging the American administration to establish military bases in Georgia for a 90-year lease. Saakashvili, continues Kirtadze, clearly wanted to achieve the same from George Bush's Cabinet, but the Republicans did not agree to do this.
Incidentally, over the last few weeks there have been constant statements emanating from American officials that there will not be any American bases in Georgia. And in reality, it does seem extremely doubtful that Barack Obama would sign off on such an escapade.