Authors, Alexander Cooley and Lincoln Mitchell, propose an approach called ‘‘engagement without recognition’’ for Western policy toward Abkhazia to challenge the territory’s international isolation and monopolization of influence by Russia. According to this strategy, Abkhazia would be given the opportunity to engage with the West on a number of political, economic, social, and cultural issues for the purpose of lessening Russia’s influence. While undertaking this strategy, the West must make it clear that Abkhazia’s status as an independent state will never be accepted by either the United States or the EU. By separating the international legal dimensions of sovereignty (the question of non-recognition) from its governance aspects, the West can attempt to gain some needed strategic leverage over Abkhazia, which it currently lacks.
Cooley, A., & Mitchell, L. A. (2010). Engagement without Recognition: A New Strategy toward Abkhazia and Eurasia’s Unrecognized States. The Washington Quarterly, 33(4), 59-73.