The foreign policy orientation of Georgia’s new government has been the subject of considerable speculation. During the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s 83rd Rose-Roth Seminar, held in Tbilisi, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili reiterated that his government looks forward to receiving a Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the 2014 NATO summit. Although he cautioned the Georgian public that his statement should not lead to exaggerated expectations, some skeptics have still questioned his confidence and criticized his statement as unrealistic.
Ivanishvili’s government has to an extent reduced Georgia’s level of confrontation with Russia without sacrificing the country’s overall path toward Euro-Atlantic integration. Georgia is also the largest non-NATO troop contributor to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and has indicated its willingness to participate in the post-2014 mission. However, none of this is earning Tbilisi that many points with some major European members of NATO, which seem content with the alliance’s existing composition. Georgia’s Western partners agree that Russia should not be allowed to control Georgia’s foreign policy choices, but its aspirations for membership and NATO´s promises toward Tbilisi are likely to stay unfulfilled for the foreseeable future, barring any earthshaking change in global politics, while the country´s strategic dilemmas will remain. […]
NATO-Georgia Relations: Will 2014 Bring Anything New?
PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo No. 291
By Kornely Kakachia