The meeting of Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili with a group of American senators produced a surprise.
Mr. Saakashvili has been in America since March 10 – but, until now, his visit was of a peaceful character. The Georgian president was looking for investors for his plans of building dwelling houses and a hotel in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital. Suddenly, he said that Georgia needs weapons to defend itself from Russia’s possible aggression.
Strange as it may seem, Mr. Saakashvili’s request was supported by Senator John McCain, who is known for his dislike for Russia.
“It’s my priority and the priority of some other people that Georgia must have defensive weapons,” the senator said.
“It is no use to search for logic in Mr. McCain’s words,” Deputy Director of the Moscow Institute for US and Canada Studies Pavel Zolotaryov believes. “However, this statement is quite typical of Senator McCain, an old war hawk. Still, it may be reminded to him that the US and other Western nations once used to help Saakashvili to reform and re-equip the Georgian army – but now it is well known what has resulted from this. Now, only short-sighted politicians can have moods similar to those of Mr. McCain. Fortunately, such moods do not dominate in President Obama’s administration. Let’s hope that America’s next president, whoever he or she might be, will be wise enough not to have such moods.”
Mikhail Saakashvili became Georgia’s president seven years ago, as a result of the so-called “revolution of roses”. At that time he seemed to be a model democrat. Young, energetic and eloquent, at first, he was gladly accepted by high-ranking politicians both in the US and Europe, who generously offered him all kinds of help. However, very soon, Mr. Saakashvili has shown his true colors. In August 2008, Georgia started a war in South Ossetia, which at that time was a part of Georgia.
Russia sent its forces to South Ossetia, and, with the help of Russians, Ossetians managed to stop the aggression. However, Saakashvili depicted that as Russia’s aggression against “peace-loving” Georgia. At first, some people in the West believed him – but today, it is already no secret to anybody that it was Georgia who started this war. Now, even those who used to be Sakashvili’s most fervent supporters are asking whether their former idol is fit for his job.
Now, what “defensive weapons” Mr. Saakashvili and Mr. McCain were talking about? Expert on the USA and Canada Pavel Zolotaryov says:
“In fact, there is no clearly-cut demarcation line between defensive and offensive kinds of weapons. It is evident to anyone that even when an army is attacking someone, it also has to defend itself.”
Bearing in mind the Georgian autocrat’s former deeds, it is hard to imagine that once he has weapons, he would keep them only to defend his country if necessary. Let’s hope that the West already realizes that and that besides the old war hawk John McCain, very few people will support Saakashvili’s bellicose plans.