17.05.2024 Author: Henry Kamens

Who Really Thinks the US or its NGOs Act or “Wants to Act” Towards Georgia as a Strategic Partner?

Who Really Thinks the US or its NGOs Act or “Wants to Act” Towards Georgia as a Strategic Partner?

The Country of Georgia, which has been billed as one of America’s closest and strategic partners, has recently gone against the tide by overwhelmingly passing what is most often described as a Foreign Agents Bill, i.e., a transparency bill, it should be noted that this bill is supported by a majority of Georgians, not that you would know that from the biased western media coverage.

The passing of the bill by a third vote follows weeks of around the clock mass demonstrations, mostly organized by the same US and European funded NGOs that the government now seeks to crackdown on, as money is not being used as claimed. Such NGOs are actually engaged in meddling in Georgia’s fragile and fledgling democracy, so much so that all foreign funding of NGOs is on the verge, or actually has become, a war chest to topple the democratically elected government.

In short, under the new law, foreign funded NGOs will be required to be more transparent about their funding sources if they receive 20% or more of their funding from foreign sources. The reaction has been swift and targeted.

Rhetoric vs. Reality

The rhetoric does not match well with the reality, and the majority of support across all of Georgian society is on the side of the government It appears that many mouthpieces, such as James O’Brien one of the long line of US representatives who don’t want to admit the reality of protest in Georgia (they were not as many of purported protesters in the streets as claimed), and that is why the US reactions are so confused.

“He only had his notes to work off of, reading a prepared speech, and was not personally aware of what was really going on.  I am afraid that the CIA will have the final say, not designated mouthpieces. James O’Brien, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs recently met the president, prime-minister and many governmental representatives to express concern, disdain for Georgia acting according to its own needs.

So what, it was already too late for that, as the US has been bullying and threatening for months them personally and the government as a whole. Would you go out on a friendly date with someone who has been telling everybody what a whore you are and all your family too?”

US is the bully, but I worry the CIA will get its way! 

The US only threatens, and will not follow through, that means – it is weak, “it has to revaluate its position,” and Georgia’s commitment to the European-NATO direction. It has not a position other than a war of words, and some hired gun politicians who want to sign threatening letters.

The recent threats of reconsidering various assistance packages and cooperation in military funding sphere are a weak response to the passing of the law. Georgia should just tell the US to use that money in Ukraine, as it needs it to help its other strategic partners more in such difficult times.

Just open your eyes and see what is being played. The US wants to turn Georgia into an “enemy state” for Russia, just like Ukraine, and now the results of that effort is being played out in Ukraine.   It is worth mentioning that GEORGIA seeks good neighborly relations with Russia AND the EU – no “either-or” (and no blackmail – the EU is only a distant prospect, a lure – take for instance, Turkey has been candidate country since 1999)

So, does this mean that somehow Georgia is going to jump in line and be fast tracked, especially now that things are not going well in Ukraine for the West? Quite the opposite. If the Georgian government accedes to US and EU demands, it will, at best, be stuck in limbo, a puppet state with no sovereignty.

Not seeing eye to eye!

The Georgian government refused to even meet the representatives from several EU member states. Ivanishvili refused to meet the US Assistant Secretary of State. They are VERY pissed off with their “western friends”.

As one political pundit wrote, a young protester … I know, you and your generation want “a bright future” within the EU – and first you will get NATO and US military bases on your territory (against RUSSIA of course, like in Ukraine since 2014) – for the EU and “a bright future” in wealth you can wait and wait, until you have become old and senile, and on your deathbed…

It makes more sense now after this James O’Brien‘s remarks to the media in Tbilisi, which consisted of a range of scantily disguised threats to Georgia. He calls into question the funding of the strategic partnership, after 30 years of close cooperation, e.g., “We bought you, and now you must perform,” is the underlying message.

The US is quick to remind Georgia that it has invested (wasted?) 6 billion dollars on Georgia, and expects it to mind itself, do as instructed. I thought much more, I guess, however, it depends on how you count money, direct and indirect.

Just a few examples: “the US has about $390 million in assistance that we are planning to spend with Georgian authorities.  Half is to be spent on military assistance, a little more or about another third roughly on economic development projects, and more on building institutions along with some for civil society”. 

Well, O’Brien is, as one would expect, a stranger to the truth, that’s for sure. Notice how he’s very light on details and rather insulting as well?

All this ignores the high-cost Georgia has already paid, much of it in blood, to be part of the “Western Club”, not only in the death of Georgian soldiers in the US led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in the mercifully short war of 2008, when the Georgians were pushed into an ultimately disastrous attack on the separatist region of South Ossetia by their “friends and allies” and left out to dry when the Russian government decided to react decisively.

It should also be noted that the German Chair of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael Roth (who is married to a man), caused immense offense during his press conference:

 “How will you be able to create a better future without a future generation, only with the Orthodox Church, which is the closest ally of the ruling party? Well, try to do that.”

Which shows how poorly the US and EU are reading the room. It should be noted that this statement was seen by the majority of Georgians as a direct insult to the Georgian Orthodox Church.

After getting shot down in the vote, she lands on her feet with a new round of rhetoric:

I have talked to our friends about our future plans, i.e., about the European platform, on which I have been working for several weeks, – the President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, said at a joint press conference after the meeting with the foreign ministers of Latvia, Estonia, Iceland and Lithuania.

She claims that the set of decisions that will mobilize Georgia prior to the October elections:

“Mobilization is for the nearest future elections, where we will all win together without a doubt, in order to put the homeland on a peaceful and European path.”

She is saying much, but for which audience?

We talked about what the next steps are.

I very clearly explained to the representatives of friendly countries that with my veto, I would under no circumstances enter into some fake, artificial, deceitful negotiations. No, and never! I will not betray the spirit that is in this country today and needs to open a path. I will be the opener of this path. This message will be delivered by our friends everywhere, so that no one thinks that you can use the President of Georgia to save the image of this government

When and how does it end, I only see blood, sooner or later and then better friends of Georgia having to intervene to save the day, and that will likely not be the United States, if any lesson can be gleaned from the post 2014 Ukrainian debacle.


Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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