A flap of a butterfly wing at one end of the world can lead to a tsunami at the other. In such a straightforward way, they usually interpret the theory of chaos, while omitting the intermediate links of the chain. And in our case, the domestic political struggle in the United States in 2020 will lead to a war between Georgia and Russia. To understand how, it is necessary to consider the elements separating these points “A” and “B”.
To begin with, let’s return to the beginning of the millennium, namely in 2004, when Republican George W. Bush won the election in the United States, gaining 50.7% of the vote against 48.3% of the Democrat John Kerry. Then it was the Republican Party that took a tougher stance towards Russia, and this factor among American voters has long been one of the key criteria in choosing a president. Everything is logical here, because relations between Washington and Moscow have been very tense for decades. And this factor is now actively exploited in the struggle for power in the United States.
Pay attention to what happened in Georgia against the backdrop of the American presidential race. A year before the US election, Tbilisi was swept by a wave of protests that ended in the overthrow of Eduard Shevardnadze. And in his place came the leader of the Rose Revolution Mikhail Saakashvili. Having become president in January 2004, the following months, he was committed to escalating the situation in the Tskhinvali region. The troops gathered there, which eventually turned into military clashes. At the same time, the American media carefully covered what was happening with an anti-Russian bias, creating the corresponding mood in society. As a result, Bush won, and the Georgian conflict ended with the signing of a truce only 3 days after the end of the US presidential race.
It’s funny that they decided to repeat the script against the backdrop of the next US election. August 2008 became a black page in the history of Georgia. The five-day war with Russia ended in a significant loss, but let’s get to the other side of the Atlantic. While Georgia was militarizing and escalating, the Republican John McCain narrowed the gap with Democrat Barack Obama, who was just advocating constructive relations with Russia, by about 10%. If Saakashvili could stretch the conflict in Georgia for several months, then Obama would never become the head of the White House.
Years later, as we see, the American Democrats and Republicans exchanged roles. Now the Democratic Party has taken a tough anti-Russian position. That’s just the methods have not changed at all, because Georgia is again becoming a “boiling point”. The first prerequisites for this appeared in June. Then the Georgian opposition, including the Unified National Movement of the disgraced Saakashvili, became more active because the Russian parliamentarian was seated in the chair of the speaker of the parliament. This was predictable, because he headed the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy, therefore, one could prepare for the actions. The stake, as before, was made on the impulsiveness of the Russian government. Of course, Moscow refrained from extremely radical measures even after Putin and his parents were poured mud on Georgian TV. However, Russia still banned direct flights with Georgia at the height of the tourist season. In Tbilisi, losses are estimated at between 350 and 700 million dollars. Of course, this did not contribute to the friendship between Georgia and Russia, but official Tbilisi is still desperately trying to balance. This is extremely disadvantageous to structures that are interested in the escalation of tension. It is not surprising that at the beginning of September the McCain Institute held a sensational conference in Tbilisi with the very distinctive title “What Now?”
Among the guests of the forum were former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Ricker, head of the McCain Institute and former director of Freedom House funded by George Soros, former commander of the US Army in Europe Ben Hodges, former Special Representative U.S. State Department for Ukraine Kurt Walker, Director of the Biden Center Michael Carpenter, Saakashvili lobbyist in the United States Randy Shoneman, another friend of Saakashvili and deputy assistant state secretary US retirement Matthew Bryz, as well as Batu Kutelia, the Georgian ambassador to the United States since Saakashvili’s time, now working with the Atlantic Council, the McCain Institute and other NGOs.
To understand the leitmotif of the conference in Tbilisi, just read the statement by Kurt Walker.
“We saw a member of the Russian State Duma, who supports the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, in the chair of the chairman of the Georgian parliament. We saw a mass protest against this, saw how this protest became violent, we saw the police response to it and the reaction. We have seen changes in the media environment related to the 2020 elections. And after yesterday there is a new government in Georgia”, – the diplomat said.
He emphasized that “the Russian intervention and occupation of Georgian territories did not end; aggression continues today in various forms – by “bordering” and seizing new territories, by continuing to exert pressure on society”.
“The population of Georgia, like society, is overly divided. People should unite around key national goals, such as democracy, European aspirations, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. The only interest of Georgia’s northern neighbor is the fragmentation of the Georgian population. I hope that society, government, and the opposition will use a proportional system to strengthen democracy in Georgia”, – Walker concluded.
And here the most important phrase is “proportional system”, as this will cause a new wave of protests. When the Georgian parliament did not support the changes in the electoral system, the riots again swept the country’s capital. Clashes with the police began, dispersal and arrests of demonstrators began, as an inevitable consequence of such a scenario.
In response, non-governmental organizations criticized the country’s authorities. For example, here is what was said in a joint appeal from nine NGOs at once:
“Against the backdrop of tense political processes in the state, we urge the authorities to abandon any form of use of force against participants in the rally and escalate the situation, which could cause complete political destabilization”.
The statement was signed by the Association of Young Lawyers of Georgia, Article 42 of the Constitution, Democratic Initiative of Georgia, Institute for Democracy and Safe Development, Center for the Study and Monitoring of Human Rights, Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, and the local office of the Open Society Foundation and sponsored by George Soros Transparency International.
It is logical that such support did not contribute to reducing tension. On the contrary, the demonstrators were shown support from organizations, many of which are funded by the United States. We can explain this approach, since anti-government sentiments will need to be maintained for a long time. However, the goal is not to achieve the dissolution of parliament or the adoption of a new electoral system, although these are official demands of the protesters. Moreover, the country’s authorities are in no hurry to make concessions. The task is that by the time of the parliamentary elections all conditions are created so that the most loyal to Washington forces receive power.
The elections in Georgia will be held on October 20, 2020, and the presidential election in the United States on November 3. Thus, the new leadership in Tbilisi in a matter of
days will be able to provoke, even if local, but a conflict with Russia. Already now provocations are arising in the Tskhinvali region. Crossing the point of no return is not so difficult, and for several days, separating the Georgian elections from the American, the conflict will definitely last. As a result, the alignment in the political arena of the United States will be a foregone conclusion, and the Democrats will be able to say: “We warned”.
Unfortunately, such a scenario will hardly be favorable for Georgia. Moreover, it will entail a wider confrontation. Europe will certainly be drawn into it. New sanctions attacks will begin with all the ensuing consequences. This is unlikely to contribute to global stability. However, there is still a chance to rectify the situation. This chance is in the hands of the leader of the ruling Georgian party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, who has already promised to turn to the American establishment with an open letter. At the same time, he said that a number of NGOs funded from the United States are only concerned with harming relations between Tbilisi and Washington.
But Ivanishvili wants to appeal to the American Congress, which will be a mistake. Obviously, US lawmakers are aware of who and for what purpose they sponsor. Another thing is if we turn to Donald Trump, who is already known for reducing financial flows to non-governmental organizations and even countries. Yes, Trump’s position cannot be called stable now, but for him this letter will become an advantageous lever of pressure on opponents. As a master of media exploitation, the head of the White House can easily make a good scandal out of this, forcing the Democrats to moderate their ardor.Washington Post: Ukraine’s independence needs US support before the Norman meeting