David and Goliath: A Realpolitik Rendition
20 August, 2015
David and Goliath: A Realpolitik Rendition
A Conservative Contrarian View on Georgia’s Geopolitical Dilemma

Ioften wish for Georgia to be an island state in an ocean somewhere. Away from the world’s troubles, largely uninvolved in international politics, quietly forging its own future and perceived by everyone else as an alien but lovely peculiarity – like Iceland, for example. Unfortunately, things have gone – and are going - in a completely opposite direction. Georgia is located in a region where old grievances are never forgotten, and is mired in a salad of religions, ideologies, interests and agendas, many of them wildly contradictory. On top of that, it is supposed to defend itself from a belligerent geopolitical gorilla with an inferiority complex, while the world watches on with poorly masked indifference. It’s like the David and Goliath myth all over again, except the sling is now loaded with paper balls and deep concern instead of stones.

"Georgia is supposed to defend itself from a belligerent geopolitical gorilla with an inferiority complex, while the world watches on with poorly masked indifference. It’s like the David and Goliath myth all over again, except the sling is now loaded with paper balls and deep concern instead of stones.

Let me make one detail clear before I continue: My absolute contempt for Russia stems from the fact that its mere presence robs Georgia of political choice. In order to obtain at least an illusion of security, my country is forced to cozy up to one power in order to avoid getting absorbed by another. Meanwhile, Georgia’s own interests and desires are gathering dust on a shelf somewhere. We are prevented from choosing our own allies, making our own alliances and pursuing our own policies because of the desperate circumstances in which our country finds itself. I have little love for both the EU and NATO because I find their history, policies and actions (or lack thereof) reprehensible. But I, just like every other Georgian citizen, have no choice but to strive towards my country joining these two entities because the alternative, i.e. Russia, is simply horrifying.

Our supposed benefactors in both NATO and the EU frequently call Georgia their ally and praise its contributions to international security, but they are in no hurry to reciprocate with anything but words. Or when they do act, such as with the soon-to-be NATO training center, it is always – very conveniently for
them - too little and too late. Georgian soldiers are sent to spill their blood in hellholes such as Afghanistan and the Central African Republic, advancing interests of other states and entities while Georgia struggles with defending its own territory – and for what? For some buffoon in a suit to say sweet nothings at a press conference? Is this what our soldiers return home in body bags for? No, thank you. Georgia is not a charity, and when we give away our most precious resource – our own people – we expect something equally substantial and valuable in return, if such a thing even exists.

But perhaps I am wrong in expecting honesty and fairness from the people who applauded Georgia’s successes and reforms in the 2000s, promised us support and backing in the international arena and then cynically slapped us with the Tagliavini Report after the August War, saying that we were somehow at fault for putting up armed resistance against an insolent campaign to occupy our country. Seven years later, these sleazebags are again coming here, shaking their heads, saying tsk-tsk-tsk and shedding crocodile tears over Russian aggression. Our government is again listening to them, open-mouthed and nodding to every word, as if somehow this time it will be different.

“Georgia is not a charity, and when we give away our most precious resource – our own people – we expect something equally substantial and valuable in return, if such a thing even exists.”

Yet, despite all their condescending arrogance and feigned sympathy, what do these people really know about the world? The likes of Tagliavini are born in sheltered, safe, upper-class neighborhoods, go to swanky private schools and then proceed to study some inapplicable nonsense at cushy universities. Around this time many of them become frustrated with the world shunning their uselessness and refusing to become their oyster, which leads to them joining various Marxist organizations. This is usually followed by trying to find a job in their countries’ governments or NGOs to “change things for the better.” And so another Western diplomat or politician emerges.

For most of their lives, these people never leave the sterile comfort of air-conditioned auditoriums and boardrooms, which leads to them developing extreme delusions about how the world works. Some of them sincerely think that all problems in the world can be solved by talking about them and that if we talk enough, one day everyone will throw down their arms, sit together in a circle and light a peace pipe. The people who have never been hungry or had to flee their homes to avoid certain death, the people who have never woken up to their city getting bombed or received a phone call informing them of their friends’ deaths at the hands of invaders now claim to govern, control and regulate the world’s affairs. Smooth-talkers, hypocrites, demagogues, political opossums and weasels of all kinds calmly watched as Abkhazian separatists and Chechen mercenaries on a Russian payroll hacked Georgian families to pieces and burned them alive in their own homes. A lot of concern was expressed, though; some of it even was deep. Likewise, many looked on apathetically as shells fired by separatists with full approval of Russian “peacekeepers” landed on Georgian villages near Tskhinvali and then proceeded to patronizingly chide us for a “disproportionate response.” Even now, with an open military conflict taking place at their own doorstep, this gaggle of eunuchs keeps spewing buzzwords and finding excuses for inaction. League of Nations, anyone?

The point I am making is that Georgia – its politicians and ordinary citizens alike – should not just go ahead and mindlessly gobble up everything the EU and NATO suits try to push down our throats. These people and the entities they represent are not messiahs sent to deliver us - they have agendas and plans of their own, some of them very cynical and callous. And they do not care about Georgia half as much as they’d like us to think. Flinging ourselves into their arms like a long-lost lover would only give them another reason to manipulate us further. Yes, we may join their unions and benefit from them, but we should keep a clear head on our shoulders even as members and be able to say “no” when needed. Proper ammo for the sling meant to slay Goliath needs to be fashioned by Georgia first and the international community second, and the main resource we need for it is the will to do so. The defeatist narratives, political cowardice and sycophancy that we see in our country today will only bring about our demise. No amount of help will save those who do not want to save themselves. If we continue to put blind faith in the West and completely disregard our own capabilities, “deep concern” will end up as an inscription on our nation’s tombstone.

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