A Resolute Strategy on Georgia
September 4, 2008
As Russia’s occupation of Georgia drags on, it has become increasingly attractive to some analysts to blame Georgia for the conflict, to assert that continued U.S. security assistance to Georgia risks an irreparable fracture in the U.S.-Russia relationship that would threaten progress on issues of greater importance, and to maintain that in any case, the Russian attack has proven that Georgia is militarily indefensible. These analysts go on to conclude that continued U.S. and European military assistance to Georgia could easily be undone by Russia whenever it chooses and hence aid should be limited to humanitarian and economic reconstruction projects. However, such a strategy risks encouraging Russian leaders to continue their occupation of Georgia, undertake further military intimidation of its neighbors, and challenge the United States and its NATO allies more directly. The lessons of U.S. and NATO strategy of firmness and negotiation in the 1970s have relevance today.