Georgia: Visit of the Vice President of the United States — high expectations, but unclear results

Administration foreign policy trump is unpredictable, and the American President repeatedly criticized for the friendly attitude to the Kremlin. However, during the visit of Vice-President Mike Pence to Georgia, which considers the United States its closest ally and is still regarded in the region as a bulwark against the spread of authoritarianism in the Russian style — both sides sought to pretend that everything is fine.

Pence is the highest-ranking administration official trump visiting the region. Before arriving in Tbilisi on 1 August he also visited Estonia and Montenegro. In their speeches, in Georgia us Vice President reiterated the long-standing points of the US position in respect of Georgia: promotion of personal freedoms, support of Georgia’s aspirations to join NATO, and the condemnation of Russian aggression and “occupation” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia — Georgian territory under the control of Moscow-backed unrecognized authorities.

“The strategic partnership between the United States and Georgia is stronger now than ever before,” said Pence in his speech during military exercises involving U.S., Georgian and other allied troops.

“President Donald trump sent me here with a simple message for you and for the people of Georgia: We are with you and you can count on our support”, — he said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.

Huge pump — the whole city was hung with American flags, was blocked traffic in the Central part of the city, a large part of television news was devoted to Pens was somewhat disproportionate to what could be expected from the visit of Vice-President. “Provided the Pens in Tbilisi, I think, shows how desperate the Georgians and how they don’t want to see that left alone,” said Tbilisi analyst from the International crisis group Olesya Vartanyan.

According to Vardanyan, as ordinary Georgians and government officials in recent time, concerned about the decline in Western attention to the smoldering conflict between Russia and Georgia. “Georgians are trying to see the support that they want,” she added.

Georgia, it seems, is not a priority for the administration trump. The former visited Washington in may, where he met with Pence and a short reception to exchange handshakes with trump. Meanwhile, in the proposed Bush administration budget for next year provides for a reduction in aid to Georgia by more than half and the elimination of almost all military aid.

Trump strengthened Georgia experienced a sense of uncertainty, showing the desire to establish relations with the main enemy Tbilisi — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin — and not expressing much enthusiasm about NATO.

However, the government of Georgia has decided to concentrate on the positive aspects. In particular, in Tbilisi enthusiastically greeted the news of trump’s decision to launch a missile attack on the basis of Syrian government forces supported by Russia.

“[The visit of Pens] is an important message, said the Minister of foreign Affairs of Georgia Mikheil Janelidze. We see unprecedented support from the President trump and his administration, as well as political forces in Washington, in this direction.”

The former is deftly dodged all questions about the relationship between the administration of the tramp with Russia. When an American reporter at a joint press conference was asked about the alleged intervention of Russia in the U.S. presidential election and what lessons Georgia could teach Washington about intervention of Moscow, the former did not succumb to provocation. “We have excellent intelligence capabilities, and we have not found any interference, he said. — The American people expressed their will”.

Although Pence adopted in Georgia with great fanfare, the purpose of his visit remains unclear, as no agreements or deals have been signed.

Before you visit a coalition of non-governmental organizations appealed to the Pens an open letter, urging him to raise a number of issues that, in their opinion, “threaten to undermine achieved [in Georgia] in recent years, democratic gains”. Issues included amendments to the Constitution, controlling judicial branches of government the Executive, as well as violations committed by law enforcement officials.

Pens have not touched any of these issues in their public statements. He held a meeting with representatives of the political opposition, who later said that he had discussed with him some of these problems. They also said that raised the question of the fate of the former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, who is now in US as stateless, because last week he was deprived of the citizenship of Ukraine.

The day of the visit of a Penny in Georgia The Wall Street Journal reported that the Pentagon has prepared a proposal to provide Ukraine anti-tank missiles and other weapons. Georgia has long sought a similar deal with the United States, and many in Tbilisi welcomed the news. “I hope that a dialogue will begin about selling the Georgian anti-tank and anti-aircraft defensive weapons, as in the case of Ukraine”, — said in an interview with “Voice of America” Daniel Cochise, an expert on European politics at the Washington research center Heritage Foundation.

Pence, in his speech during a military exercise, apparently, really hinted at such a possibility, but only vaguely: “We will continue cooperation with Georgia in the area of reducing vulnerability and countering Russian aggression.”

Georgia and Ukraine for many years vainly sought to buy anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, but now the mood in the US may change. “In contrast to the situation a few years ago, when the hawks in Washington have lost this political battle today I suspect they will win, and the United States will supply weapons to Ukraine, although the conflict is already out of that phase, when it could significantly affect the situation,” said Michael Kaufman, an expert on Russian military Affairs at the International center of them. Woodrow Wilson in Washington.

“If Ukraine will receive weapons, then there is a high probability that Georgia will get it, though it’s unclear what specific events or political decisions will be tied to his transfer,” added Coffman.