David Kramer: Georgia Has a Strong Ally in the Pentagon
11 March, 2017
David Kramer: Georgia Has a Strong Ally in the Pentagon
Last week, Tbilisi hosted some of the most high-ranking opinion-makers and experts in the Western world. Francis Fukuyama, Edward Lucas and David Kramer were some of the more illustrious names to give public lectures and seminars over a five-day visit, courtesy of the Economic Policy Research Center and Stanford University, implementing their joint program – the prestigious Leadership Academy for Development in Georgia.

Panorama TV show and GEORGIA TODAY spoke with both Mr. Fukuyama and Mr. Kramer- on the subject of
populism with the former and on international security with the latter. This week we offer you the interview with David Kramer, former President of Freedom House and currently a Senior Director for Human Rights and Human Freedoms at the McCain Institute.

After the 2012 elections, which brought Georgian Dream to power, most Western outlets criticized a billionaire at the reins of the country, and media here came under pressure. Do you see the irony now with Trump coming into power?

For many years, US foreign assistance emphasized the importance of the rule of law, human rights and transparency. It’s more complicated now, especially that last part. We’ve not had a president like Donald Trump before and [his profile] has created some complications. I cannot sit here and pretend there are no concerns over that. Similarly, his characterization of the media as “the enemy of the American people” is damaging. It’s not helpful for the American president to describe media he doesn’t like as an enemy of the people. Other leaders around the world will hear that and think, hey, if the American President can say that, I certainly can. So, I hope over time President Trump will understand that what he says as president has a huge impact all over the world – that its different being a candidate and actually sitting in the Oval Office itself.

With information coming to light regarding Trump’s ties with Russia, how do you think all this will affect Caucasus and Georgia in particular? Should we expect the US focus to shift elsewhere?

This is something that most certainly demands a thorough investigation to make sure it never happens again. The feeling is that if it happened in the US, it can happen anywhere. The positive out of all this is that there is more scrutiny of any efforts from President Trump to reach out to Putin; there is more attention focused on any possible Yalta-2 kind of deal. And you also see how the media coverage in Russia changed – in the early days it was very positive, hopeful narrative, while now there seems to be a lot more skepticism and concern that either he won’t deliver what they hoped for, or that he can may be limited in what he can do.

Before Trump’s presidency, there were talks of a strategic partnership agreement (including military cooperation) as a viable alternative to NATO membership. With Trump in the picture, is this still a possibility?


There is a strong relationship between the Pentagon and Georgia and between NATO and Georgia. It’s certainly far short of membership, but I think this cooperation will continue to help Georgia in maintaining a professional military. Georgia, of course, has already contributed and in a very decisive way – the second largest contingent in Afghanistan is a very significant step. And I’m sure both in the US and in NATO there is appreciation of that. The leadership in the Pentagon is very interested in maintaining this cooperation, these strong ties with Georgia, and I expect it will continue to be so under Secretary Mattis. It would be extremely unusual for the White House to issue an order to stop its relationship with Georgia. That would be big news. And I don’t expect that to happen, I think Secretary Mattis appreciates Georgia’s contributions very much, so you have a strong ally in the Pentagon and the leadership there.

A Brookings Institution article made waves in Georgian media- about Georgia’s Permanent Neutrality status, to be guaranteed by Russia and the US. The price is that Georgia would not be able to join any Western block, including NATO and the EU. Is it realistic?


Michael O’Hanlon’s article? Quite frankly, I think it’s a terrible idea. He’s been arguing over this for a while – he is a very smart scholar and I don’t doubt his integrity, but once again, I think the idea is just terrible. For the most part in Washington there is strong support for maintaining the decades-old policy of Open Doors at NATO. Countries that aspire to join and meet the criteria should be allowed to join. Otherwise, we are granting Russia a de-facto veto power on which country can join NATO and which not. Most people in Washington, at least in Congress, would reject that idea. Pentagon wouldn’t support that either. And moreover, any deal like that with Russia would be determining the future of Georgia and Ukraine without asking them and I think those days should be over. It also means that Russia would respect agreements that it signs and that’s obviously not the case. Go back to 2008, the Sarkozy peace plan – Russia has not abided by that, or the two Minsk deals, and that is just to name a few. Russia, under Putin, has demonstrated it is untrustworthy and doesn’t live up to its commitments, so to tell Ukrainians and Georgians that Russia and the US would guarantee their sovereignty and territorial integrity would only result in them pointing at the 1994 Budapest memorandum which Russia and the US both signed. And we see how well that worked out [for Ukraine].

Vazha Tavberidze

Source: Georgia Today
Print
Other Stories
International observers about the presidential election in Georgia
The presidential election took place on the 28th of October in Georgia.
First Ladies of Independent Georgia
The presidential election took place on the 28th of October in Georgia. It was the last election in which the president will be selected by popular vote.
Funny incidents on Election Day in Georgia
The presidential election took place on the 28th of October in Georgia.
Deadline for the second round of presidential elections in Georgia is December 2
Presidential elections were held on the 28th of October in Georgia. None of the candidates managed to get majority of votes, so the second round of elections is to be appointed.
The USA National Security Advisor John Bolton is in Georgia
National Security Advisor of the United States John Bolton visited Georgia today.
People are detained at the Cannabis Festival
Today, Georgian political movement Girchi holds an event in the Dedaena Park called the Cannabis Festival.
Top safest countries and Georgia is among them - new survey says
Georgia is among the safest countries in the world. This fact is substantiated by various surveys and researches.
Who is interested in the cultivation of cannabis in Georgia?
Several weeks ago the government announced about its initiative to legalize the cultivation of medical marijuana in Georgia.
Fight in Gori – head of administration uses a bin full of manure
There was an incident yesterday in Gori municipality, Georgia at the entrance of the municipality building.
2 Georgian detainees freed from the Tskhinvali prison
Georgian detainees Maia Otinashvili and Akaki Dotiashvili are freed from the Tskhinvali prison. They had been accused of illegally crossing a so-called the borderline into the occupied Tskhinvali region.
Georgia might provide Far East countries with armored vehicles
LEPL State Military Scientific-Technical Center "Delta" might provide several Far East countries with armored vehicles, - “Delta” has informed InterPressNews about it.
Who can be the next first lady of Georgia?
On the 28th of October, presidential elections will be held in Georgia. The last elections in October 2013 resulted in a victory for Giorgi Margvelashvili, a candidate of the Georgian Dream (the ruling party).
Another Georgian kidnapped at the occupational line, stays detained
Maia Otinashvili (a mother of three children) was detained in her own garden on the 19th of September. Eyewitnesses claim that she was kidnapped by armed people with masks.
Fight broke out in the Georgian TV show
Fight in the Georgian Show Archevani (a choice) broke out between the guests yesterday.
7 amendments that come in force today in Georgia
On the 1st of October, 7 new amendments come in force in Georgia.
Speaker of the parliament plays Knockin' on Heaven's Door
What do the politicians do when they have free time? It is an interesting issue in every country.
What are the new New Year decorations for Tbilisi
New Year decorations and its price in Tbilisi is always a matter of discussion in the capital.
Mamuka Bakhtadze gives a speech at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly
Mamuka Bakhtadze, the prime minister of Georgia is attending the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly from the 24th of September.
Georgia will ban use, import and production of plastic bags
The Georgian government has decided to tighten rules regulating use of plastic bags in Georgia.
The parliament returns to Tbilisi
The Parliament of Georgia will continue working in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia from January 2019. Currently, the building is located in Kutaisi (west Georgia).
Mamuka Bakhtadze is visiting the USA within the working visit
The Georgian PM Mamuka Bakhtadze Brought a wreath to the tomb of the Georgian military serviceman John Malkhaz Shalikashvili.
Use of plastic bags to be reduced from the 1st of October
Within the framework of the Green Economics and Environmental Protection Policy the Georgian government has approved new regulations
Four Russian Journalists have not been allowed to enter Georgia
Three members of the Russian delegation were not allowed to enter Georgia as this would have violated the Law on the Occupied Territories of Georgia.
Tbilisi sign may appear on the Funicular hill
Hollywood has become a source of inspiration for many people worldwide. A similar idea from a Tbilisi citizen sounds very clever and attractive.
Russia was at an undeclared war with Georgia for years - Matthew Bryza
I think anybody who has observed how Russia has been conducting its war in Ukraine should realize that Russia was at war with Georgia, an undeclared war for years,
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
17.11.2018
18.11.2018
USD
1
USD
2.6727
2.6727
EUR
1
EUR
3.0268
3.0268
GBP
1
GBP
3.4240
3.4240
RUB
100
RUB
4.0447
4.0447
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.6727
EUR
1
EUR
3.0268
GBP
1
GBP
3.4240
RUB
100
RUB
4.0447
November 2018
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30