Georgia’s long term security strategy for years has been built around the hope of joining the NATO alliance at some point in the not too distant future, says Lincoln Mitchell, a political and strategic research consultant who has worked extensively in the post-Soviet region.
In his recent opinion piece, Mitchell says "Georgia’s chances of getting into NATO are significantly less than they were a year ago” because "NATO in general is likely entering a period of chaos as the American role in, and commitment to, NATO is in question for the first time since the alliance was founded”.
Although there is no doubt that it is better to be in NATO than not to be in the alliance, it is equally beyond doubt that membership in NATO would mean a lot less to Georgia today that it would have one, two, five or ten years ago”, Mitchell says.
He believes "Georgia’s security now depends on pivoting away from a NATO-centric approach and instead seeking to become part of a more global political environment”.
The most obvious direction is to position Georgia so that if Russia were to invade, the world’s sympathies would be with Georgia, not Russia-and more dauntingly, that the world would care. This is a difficult, but not impossible task”, he says.
Mitchell says "those who are paying attention see Russia moving border fences, seeking to strengthen their ties to the breakaway regions and wreaking havoc in eastern Ukraine, Georgia’s rhetoric has been strong, but calm and not threatening”.
This has been a difficult balance for the government to achieve, but it has been reasonably successful”, he adds.
He believes Georgia needs "to develop a national security strategy that has a global perspective, but that also takes into consideration Georgia’s broader geographical context, regional considerations and the evolving geopolitical environment”.
Some caution is required here as for too long many in and around Georgia have believed that its unique location is the key to its future prosperity and national security. At times this has veered in intellectual laziness and magical thinking”, he says.
Mitchell believes that "building new relationships, thinking of strategic relations differently, and changing the way international affairs are discussed domestically in Georgia” should now be among the top priorities for the country.
You can read his full analysis here: www.lincolnmitchell.com