The United States should deepen relations with Georgia while NATO should reiterate its commitment to the country's eventual membership in the alliance, a new report for The Heritage Foundation says.
Stressing Georgia's contribution to international security and peacekeeping missions as well as the state's strategic importance through its geographic location, the article presents a case for the Caucasus country's NATO aspirations as coinciding with Western political interests.
Written by the foundation's Luke Coffey, the opinion piece details Georgia's history of relations with the US as well as a retrospective on the last decade of Russia's ongoing occupation of the country since the 2008 war between the two sides.
Even with the Russian invasion and its aftermath, Georgia has not been deterred from fostering closer ties to the West. This has made Georgia a net contributor to transatlantic security", notes the author.
The piece presents facts and figures of the occupation of Georgia's Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions by the Russian military, explaining the "creeping occupation" and borderisation phenomena to readers.
It also outlines security challenges of the Black Sea region and US-Georgian bilateral projects and programs for upgrading and developing the Georgian armed forces, kicked off in the 1990s and accelerated since the early 2000s.
So far, the U.S.-Georgian relationship has thrived under the Trump Administration. Vice President Mike Pence made an early visit to Georgia in the summer of 2017, which was viewed as a major success. Crucially, he referred to the Russian military presence in the Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia as an 'occupation'," Coffey says.
Also describing Georgia's long-lasting aspirations to join NATO and the economic and democratic reforms carried in the country since its independence from the Soviet Union, the report presents its argument for widened US support for the state.