Op-ed: USA left Afghanistan - can it leave Georgia?
Will the USA leave Georgia?
The United States has continuously supported Georgia over the past decades, helping it build a democratic state – and the same was the case with Afghanistan. However, America left Afghanistan, and within a month the country was completely subjugated by the extremely radical Taliban group, recognized as terrorist by many countries in the world.
In Abkhazia, many are wondering whether it is possible to expect any changes in US-Georgian relations in the context of the recent events in Afghanistan events?
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Akhra Smir, journalist
“America left Afghanistan both predictably and unexpectedly.
Predictably – because it was in full accordance with Washington’s announced plans. Unexpectedly – because the US abandoned everything but took everything that was of any value, for example, service dogs.
Afghanistan was not left to the authorities that were eager to cooperate with the Americans, but to their antagonists, the Taliban, who, two decades ago became the reason for the American invasion of Afghanistan. It was this very fact that became the most discussed detail of the US departure.
Photos and videos of pro-American Afghans clinging to the last planes only intensified the tragedy of what happened. America left – and immediately everything that it had done for these two decades was gone.
People also preferred to leave at any cost.
There are no American troops in Georgia, and therefore the American presence in Georgia can evaporate even faster than one in Afghanistan – after all, as it won’t even require the withdrawal of people
What will happen after? In the history of Georgia, there were almost half a million Georgian communists who disappeared at the time. There were leaders who quickly fled during the regime change – from Noe Jordania at the beginning of the 20th century to Mikhail Saakashvili at the beginning of the 21st.
One should not expect an overnight change in Georgia’s foreign policy orientations but if there is no American presence in it, then, by analogy with Afghanistan, the presence of neighboring states will increase in it.
If Pakistan has strengthened its position in Afghanistan, Turkey, for example, can strengthen its position in Georgia. There is no need to search far for examples: Turkey has already penetrated into Azerbaijan, Russian peacekeepers are stationed in Nagorno-Karabakh.
And America – America is far away. Over the seas and across the ocean”.
Inal Khashig, JAMnews editor in Abkhazia / editor of the Chegemskaya Pravda newspaper
“The situations with the American presence in Afghanistan and Georgia are very different.
Afghanistan, since the Obama presidency, has frankly looked like a hopeless direction for the Americans. Neither the serious military presence of the coalition troops, nor the huge financial expenditures have created the foundation of stability for the ever-belligerent country.
The American-sponsored local administration is incurably mired in corruption. Even to the States, it was already clear that no matter how much you feed and protect it, the efficiency of this power and its influence on Afghan society are close to zero.
This situation cannot be changed, neither now, nor if the United States had stayed in the region for another 20 years.
The power of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, together with the entire structure subordinate to him down to the very bottom, suddenly and expectedly died immediately with the withdrawal of American troops.
But Georgia does not cause any special problems to the States:
- There are no American troops in Georgia
- Investment toGeorgia versus Afghan spending is a trifle
- The local elite, although fragmented, is entirely pro-Western.
The only thing similar to Afghanistan is distance. Georgia, like Afghanistan, is geographically far from the United States. Which means that, given the changing geopolitical picture in the region, it may find itself on the periphery of American interests.
The picture is really changing. The place that seemed to be reserved for the West for a long time in the Caucasus since the collapse of the Soviet Union was occupied by Turkey after the second Karabakh war.
Now Ankara and Moscow actually control the Caucasus, and pro-Western Georgia looks almost like an enclave in this situation.
Whether this enclave is worth further support from the United States long term – I think now no one will give a confident answer, including in Washington”.