Alexander Cooley & Lincoln Mitchell – No Way to Treat Our Friends: Recasting Recent U.S./Georgian Relations

Alexander Cooley and Lincoln Mitchell argue in this article that two flawed principles guided recent U.S. policy towards Georgia that failed to anticipate the 2008 conflict and prevent its escalation. First, the United States supported the Saakashvili government, rather than promoting broader Georgian democratic development. Second, the United States backed reuniting Georgia’s territorial integrity, rather than acting as an honest broker to resolve the frozen conflicts with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Over time, the strong personalized ties that developed between Washington and Tbilisi transformed the Georgian regime’s domestic policies and priorities into official U.S. policies and goals, leading to an unhealthy capture of U.S. foreign policy by Tbilisi.

Cooley, A., & Mitchell, L. A. (2009). No way to treat our friends: recasting recent US–Georgian relations. The Washington Quarterly, 32(1), 27-41.

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