flamming_python wrote:I agree about Georgia forming a confederacy with Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Speaking very bluntly, Russia does not need these micro-states, it doesn't know what to do with them. It's more or less an accident that this all occurred at all, Russia was content with the frozen conflict and not recognizing them at all; hoping to entice Georgia to a political solution that would give Russia leverage and influence in the new Georgia.
That is exactly why it wouldn't be so hard to restore unity as soon as Russia ceases it's sesession policy towards us and looses the tight control / influence on both regions. It just requires sitting down on a table. Nothing else. If that allready shows success in a strained situation, it does wonders in a peaceful environment.
I am the first to admit that Russia's policies towards Georgia have been rather clubfooted over the years; throwing Georgian migrants out of Russia over political disagreements, increasing ties with Abkhazia/S.Ossetia as 'revenge' for the West recognizing Kosovo, and so on.
just to name a few. The culmination is the current fence / "border" policy, which is also going for years now.
At the same time though, the Georgian war was not its fault, and neither are these separatist conflicts in the first place. Saakashvilli and Gamsakhurdia respectively, did more than anyone else in their time, to catapult uneasy situations into full-scale wars.
Which is why something like "national movements" should be legaly banned in any form of governing instances by decree. People have had enough. The only reason why Saakashvili's people are still in parliament, is because the US threatens us with sanctions if we don't "live up to democracy" and don't stop "political persecution" ( justice system working )
I think what Georgia needs to do now is start by publicly apologizing to S. Ossetia for the recent war, and try to move towards reconciliation with Abkhazia and S. Ossetia over the events of 1991-1993 too. Which were far from one-sided, I know, but if Georgia wants to be the 'bigger brother' to these peoples then it should do so by being the bigger man and taking the first step. To do this it has to open contacts with the unrecognized leaderships of these republics.
It needs more than that and I personaly would choose a time when we do reflect prospect. Besides tjhat, in the current circumstances Russia is not allowing it anyway. We tried again to restore at least some low level of communication and diplomacy in 2012-2013 but it is quite apparent to me that the governing administrations in both regions are simply not the respective people who should be representing the actual population of said regiosn. I think that's a fact. So basicaly we confront Russia again, instead of Abkhazia or South Ossetia.
I also do not think that Russia will try to prevent this. It didn't try to prevent this before. I don't think it will do so now; if anything it will look upon it as an opportunity to move Georgia away from NATO and secure its southern flank, Georgia should capitalize on this.
Russia is quite literaly physicaly preventing it. See border / fence policy.
Joining NATO at this time of increasing Russia-NATO tensions would be a huge mistake.
Something that won't happen in near future, far future .... if at all to begin with. We are just "close allies", not even have the MAP yet ....
Tensions would rack-up twice more over what they are now, and we would move back to where the Cold War was in the 50s; with huge arsenals of armour and cruise missiles near the borders, walls, constant airspace violations, mutual accusations, large-scale military exercises and possibly the occasional incident. Truth be told, it can turn out even worse than that this time 'round.
Under such conditions Russia will move to immediately stop any attempts of Georgia (by now a NATO member and thus NATO territory) to negotiate or do anything with Abkhazia or S.Ossetia, they will be fortified with large amounts of Russian troops, Georgia will be fortified with NATO troops and that will be that - new Berlin wall.
If NATO truly wanted and was willing to go that far, it would have allready done years before Saakashvili came to power. Even after 2008 and recent events, NATO is on the lowest level of relationship with Georgia as the alliance can be. What has been done formaly since 2003 ? tell me. Absolutly nothing has changed formaly. All the sweet and prospective talk and promises. It's just words. Russia is literaly overreacting to mere words. When I talk to people, they still believe in the rubbish which was floating around the 2008 conflict, that Russia was basicaly fighting NATO / Georgia equipped with modern NATO weapons etc .... it's just so silly .... Speaking of weapons ...... and what exactly is Russia's objection ? we've been denied the most basic defensive assets a nation must have to defend it's airspace, land and sea, which we would have paid from our own wallet as far as we can. Only now, we are finaly allowed to merely trade
with NATO nations to be able to buy weapons from them. We have nations on this planet that disagree and even fight against all the principles of the West / NATO / EU / US and yet receive tons of armament every month from countries like Germany. The Georgian armed forces have began the process of modernisation not earlier than 2011 .... 2011. Countries such as Armenia and Azerbaijan are far better armed and equipped to defend themselves than we are within the next 5 years minimum. That is literaly all. What Nato, Where Nato. Seriously. Russias overreaction to everything is the very reason why Georgia tries to join NATO out of frustration, not because it likes to piss off it's giant neighbour for shits and giggles. All the time we talk and lecture on how Georgia should behave and find an approach. How about Russia putting some efforts as well. Then convince us that you're the better alternative to NATO. How about that ?
So there it is. It might not be fair or whatever else but that's international politics. Georgia has a good chance of getting what it wants, but it has to play it smart and manuever carefully. Joining NATO will be an immediate game-over as far as any unification with Abkhazia/S.Ossetia goes.
I believe that as well, which is why I quite frankly am against joining NATO, just to give one reason of several. I personaly think all nations of the entire region should come to peaceful terms with eachother and there should be a regional defence coalition which would neither be pro-West nor pro-East, but still a huge buffer and independent force between Russia and NATO / Turkey. Or another solution would be Russia as big protecting force of that coalition. However that region or those nations have to be allowed self-determination. Policy, economy etc without any form of active inteference and involvment neither intimidation from any side. Just give and receive in a fair manner. Only control-fanatics would object such an idea.
I am pretty sure that Saaka never tried to talk with the rebel leaderships, at least not in any way other than 'join us or else'
There were efforts from ministers like Alasania who were in Abkhazia several times and had positive dialogue with the Abkhazian leadership but then again, those were undermined constantly by the political developments between Georgia and Russia.
Shevardnadze might have, he seemed like a very level-headed, pragmatic leader. But still, anything would have happened in secret, as officially, there are and were never any 'open' contacts with the Abkhazian and S.Ossetia leaderships, and this is a bad sign.
I am not convinced that enough effort was put into this. I haven't heard of any trilateral meetings in a Georgia-S.Ossetia-Russia format for example; not in Saaka's time, not in Shevardnadze.
I don't see why Russia would have blocked something like this, when we see for example that meetings in the format of Moldova-Pridnestrovie-Russia did take place in Moscow, and were in fact actively encouraged by Medvedev, albeit they didn't ultimately lead anywhere at the time.
Well that isn't quite true. There were meeting. Between Georgia-Abkhazia and Georgia-South Ossetia, but then again Russia would be the high father to dictate the general policy of both regions and to Georgia's disatisfaction the results wouldn't be any progressive while initialy there seemed to be very prospective plans. See Sochi Agreement from 2003. True, Saakashvili's arrival was a bummer, but you gotta keep your promises.
Medvedev in fact hinted at such a solution (confederation), in at least 1 interview after the war, when talking about options that Georgia could have aimed for in preference to war.
but as of when ? .... in the 90s ? just before 2008 ? suggesting such options is allways convenient, especialy from the side that is undermining such efforts in first place.
As for after the war; I don't know what's been happening; I haven't seen any information about any Georgian efforts to establish dialogue with Abkhazia/S.Ossetia albeit it's logical that it might be trying to do so as now the military option is off the table for sure and this is the only chance left.
Russia might very well be paranoid and so on now, but under the conditions where Georgia doesn't even have formal contacts with Russia right now, it's hard to talk about any sort of reconciliation process. Georgia should focus some effort on re-establishing ties, pouring some cold water on NATO for the time being, and showing that it is ready for dialogue with Moscow.
I think once that's done, it will be possible for Georgia to move forward with contacting Abkhazia/S.Ossetia.
I can't see into their doings, but fact is several things have improved, like lifting the ban on Georgian water, wine etc and also commercial flights. So dialogue seems to be going in a progressive direction. But I probably have to rephrase that. Because at the same time we got the fence / border policy. That borderisation and absorbing of more and more uncontested lands to the point where the main highway is almost reached, so that is happening and everything has it's limit you know even for a nation that can't properly defend itself. But at least it's been constantly monitored this time and the entire world has it's eyes on it.