Jackson Diehl is bothered that Obama failed to meet with a demagogic nationalist warmonger, er, I mean the democratically-elected president of Georgia. Obama also met with Yanukovych (who committed to getting rid of Ukraine’s HEU stockpile) and leaders from Armenia and Turkey (whose bilateral relations the administration has been working to improve for the last year). Of course, these meetings are supposed to be unfortunate because these states are on good terms with Moscow, and Georgia most certainly is not. The most irritating thing about Diehl’s post is that he is fully aware of the significant nonproliferation gain that Ukraine’s commitment represents, he knows perfectly well that Turkish-Armenian rapprochement is an important priority, and he understands that Georgia has almost nothing to contribute to the securing of nuclear materials, but he still tries to find some insult towards Georgia in all of this.
Obama thanked Saakashvili for that help in their phone call last week. But according to a Georgian account of the call, Obama didn’t say anything about Georgia’s aspiration to join NATO, or about Georgia’s interest in buying defensive weapons from the United States, in order to deter a repeat of the 2008 Russian invasion.
In other words, the administration is pulling back from some of the more irrational, anti-Russian postures of the last few years. This is actually to Georgia’s benefit, as it will make Georgia realize that confrontational policies are a dead-end and Georgia will start to repair relations with Russia. It may mean that our government’s reckless backing for Georgian aspirations for territorial “reintegration” is being scaled back.