How Much Has the World Changed? Implications for Georgia's Policies

The world economic crisis, as well as other events such as the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008 and the change of the American administration, have prompted some analysts to speak about a "paradigm shift" in international relations or the "dismantling of the post-Cold war world order". Indeed, the global order, as well as Georgia's security environment, have become considerably more fluid, uncertain and unpredictable than was the case one year ago. Yet careful analysis shows that the actual changes in global and regional politics do not merit such sweeping generalizations so far. 
New trends in relations between Russia and the Western actors (the USA, European Union, and major European nation-states), internal developments in Russia and Ukraine - both of which have been especially hardly hit by the economic crisis - and the efforts of Turkey to enhance its political profile in the Caucasus deserve special attention from the perspective ofGeorgia's security environment. While scenarios for the future - especially if the economic crisis deepens further - may be destabilizing, the fundamentals in these relations have not changed yet. 
Consequently, the basic principles of Georgia's foreign political strategy do not require a fundamental overhaul. Some significant readjustments are in order, however. These include:

o Prioritizing long-term foreign policy objectives and incremental steps towards them while quick solutions to the most burning issues of Georgia's security are not available;  
o Finding more even balance in relations with NATO and the EU, as well as the USA and European countries; 
o Giving greater priority to internal democratic reforms and achieving more stable rules for internal political competition; 
o Recognizing that while normalizing relations with Russia is of utmost importance forGeorgia's security, this cannot be achieved if the Russian leadership and its current political priorities remain in place;  
o Seizing opportunities for cooperation and dialogue with actors in Abkhazia and South Ossetia while admitting that doing so will not bring any short-term political benefits.

Full text of the Policy Review
By Ghia Nodia 

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