Is the American dream over for Georgia and Ukraine?

August 22, 2008

Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili (L) welcomes his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yushchenko as he arrives for the GUAM summit in the Black Sea city of Batumi July 1, 2008When thousands in the streets of the Ukrainian capital Kiev and the Georgian capital Tbilisi overthrew Soviet-style rulers, many felt warm in the embrace of the West.

Western support for the opposition — open and behind the scenes —  helped many people overcome fear of Soviet-style reprisals to stand for days outside Georgia’s parliament in 2003 or to pitch orange tents on Kiev’s main thoroughfare in late 2004, providing a lasting image of “people power” overthrowing a stale leadership.

Washington, or at least organisations with close political ties with the Bush administration, had courted opposition parties in both countries, coaching in the methods of democracy or securing “regime-change” as they sought to end the rules of President Leonid Kuchma and Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze. 

But the new leaders, and their teams, soon found that the attentions of an adoring West didn’t last for long. Ukraine’s team of President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko soon fell apart.                                                                                                                                                         Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (R) listens as U.S. President George W. Bush conducts a toast during a luncheon at the Presidential Secretariat in Kiev, Ukraine April 1, 2008.                    The West grew tired of the constant bickering of the Ukrainian leaders, unable to agree on almost any policy, while a resurgent pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovich, who lost a rerun of the presidential election, encouraged unity in his own party and rose in popularity.

In Georgia, Saakashvili cracked down on post-election protests last year and now some blame him for taking Tbilisi into a war it could never win.  

The war in South Ossetia has frightened Ukraine. Yushchenko was quick to turn to the United States, saying he considered “U.S. support for Ukraine to be very important”.

But has the West given up? Ukraine and Georgia have been promised membership of NATO one day but the alliance decided at a summit in April not to give them a road map to membership.

Tomas Valasek, director of foreign policy and defence at the Centre for European Reform, said Georgia could be ruled out of NATO membership for the time being. “There will be allies who will say that this government is not creating stability, if anything it has done the exact opposite … you don’t want an ally in NATO that has a propensity to act the way that Saakashvili did.”

 But it could go either way for Ukraine.

“You could argue that no one will go to war over Ukraine, and then it will be difficult to invite Ukraine into NATO,” Valasek said. “Or the allies might decide this — that it is important that we prevent Russia acting irresponsibly in the neighbourhood, and it is important to send a message to say we will not be discouraged by what happened in Georgia.”


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I think we need to let the Russians have Germany and France and we get out of there. They are worthless.

Posted by d tyler | Report as abusive

“Washington, or at least organisations with close political ties with the Bush administration, had courted opposition parties in both countries, coaching in the methods of democracy” –
So, that is who taught Saakashvili how to kill his opponents, shut down independent TV station, and use eccessive police force against protester! Now I see…

Posted by Gocha | Report as abusive

Yes, we should let Germany and France protect themselves since their people are mostly anti-American. We shouldn’t place a missile defense system in Poland to protect Europe and antagonize the Russians needlessly.

Georgia and Ukraine are backwards countries and trying to develop them would be similar to trying to rebuild Iraq. There will always be corruption involving financial aid to these countries if American funding is involved. So the best action is to let them develop over time to become a modern economy at their own pace.

NATO wlll be doing the right thing by not offering both countries membership until they modernize on their own.

Posted by realmerv | Report as abusive

The United States of America will never abandon Georgia and Ukraine. Both countries will become NATO members and much sooner than many think – thanks to the “Evil Empire” aggression. The invasion of Georgia will in fact accelarate the NATO membership of these two countries.

The bottom line: Thanks to the US Ukraine and Georgia will soon be members of NATO. If any European country dares to stand in the way, the US will still embrace its allies in Eastern Europe – there are many more than just Ukraine and Georgia which eventually may divide the EU to begin with with the US actually being the player in all Eastern Europe. It is as simple as that!

Posted by Natasha | Report as abusive

USA democracy doesn’t travel well. It has been proven over and over again.
Georgia and Ukraine willingness to join NATO is based simply on potential financial help (to the corrupted governments,not citizens). Those two former USSR republics could not manage their economies, and in dept with Russia.
Obama already pledged 1 billion dollars to rebuild Georgia?!
I hope that he meant one of the 50 United States…

Posted by Viktor | Report as abusive

The ignorance and arrogance displayed by these comments typifies just why there is so much anti-american sentiment.
Your comments suggest you can march around the world and do as you please with who you please, probably why little Georgia got spanked in the first place.
One poster got it right, American democracy doesnt travel well, but thats not the only thing American that doesnt travel!
Western press would have us believe Russia is evil for its treatment of Georgia. That same press is no where to be seen when America acts in a similar fashion.
The world grows tired of American double standards,its sponsoring of wars and its general ignorance.
On thing you posters get right, Ukraine, France, Germany all should be abadonned, America has outstayed its welcome.
America has the highest use of recreational drugs, the highest lock up rate, the highest instance of gun related domestic deaths and the highest number of rapes in either the western or entire world, and you wonder why your brand of democracy doesnt travel?

Posted by ryzer | Report as abusive

Ryzer, you’re a moron buddy. It’s rather obvious that your grasp on politics and international conflicts is limited at best. Of course, most Americans will admit that the country has major problems that need to be fixed. However, America is continually beaten down in the press…any idiot can see that with little or no problem. If you haven’t noticed, America can do no right these days…in spite of our shelling out money to countries that don’t deserve it, the United Nations (a useless organization which could really be shut down permanently and no one would care), and other humanitarian activities that seem to slip under the press radar. The facts you were listing sounded like something on the national news. Why don’t you actually study things for yourself rather than stupidly believing everything you hear?

Posted by mike | Report as abusive

The US Navy can and should deny Russia the use of the Black Sea and it’s ports until they withdraw from Georgia.

The US should provide defensive military assistance to both Georgia and Ukraine to protect them from another Soviet-style invasion from Russia.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Russia’s paranoia is nothing new; nor are its delusions of grandeur: Despite its riches, the majority of its people continue to live in third world conditions. For Russian, the appearances are more important than reality.

Those who understand the Russian/Slavic mentality know that the proper and perhaps only response to Russian’s attempt to rebuild its “evil empire” is to transfer 40,000 “Peacekeepers” troops from Iraq to Georgia. It is safe to assume that such plans are now being hotly debated behind closed Pentagon and Whitehouse doors. I look forward to their arrival.

Posted by BK | Report as abusive

As an American living as a permanent resident in Europe I can tell Mike that Ryzer has some valid points. Despite what many American citizens think, America does not run the world, and has alienated much of the world trying. American does not run NATO, nor does America run the EU. Yet America “promises” countries like Georgia, the Ukraine and Turkey that they will become NATO and EU members. Based on what? American chutzpa without any regard for the European members of those organizations and their opinions on requirements for membership? It is time to realize that GW Bush and Co have done far more serious long-term damage to America on the world stage than most Americans realize. Mike, you are the moron, the ugly American who is not welcome in the rest of the world, even by other Americans. I certainly hope that do not have a passport. Stay home – Bush does not need any help doing more damage.

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

It looks like no busines ass usual from Russia.

Posted by Nikodem | Report as abusive

You know Mike, I really can’t be bothered to educate the igornant masses to which you seem to belong, but as you seem to live in such an ivory tower, I am ivited to trow a few stones at your lofty world opinion and America’s place in it, so for starters.lets look at this aid giving to those who dont deserve it.

The most generous countries are also the ones that do not tend to tie aid to their own products and services. The stingiest countries also, almost spitefully and nastily, force countries to buy their own services and products with the aid they give; which reduces free trade and commerce and harms the countries economy, as well as being simply selfish and conceited. Thankfully, many countries do not tie their aid. Countries that tie less than 10% of aid include Ireland, Norway and the UK, then Belgium, Finland, Switzerland and Sweden. The USA is the worst, and ties nearly 90% of its aid to developing countries. Italy is the second worst with 70%.

As for your comments on the UN, boy you dished out a real dose of ignorance there fella, take a look.

“When it suits the US, it uses the UN to seek legitimacy for its actions, to build coalition and impose sanctions on ‘rogue states’. When world opinion goes against the US, it treats the UN with utter contempt. […] Throughout the history of the UN, America has consistently vetoed any resolution or declaration that did not reflect US priorities or business interests. ‘With note-worthy regularity’, writes William Blum in Rogue State (2001), ‘Washington has found itself – often alone, sometimes joined by one or two other countries – standing in opposition to the General Assembly resolutions aimed at furthering human rights, peace, nuclear disarmament, economic justice, the struggle against South African apartheid and Israeli lawlessness and other progressive causes’. Blum lists some 150 instances between 1984 and 1987 when the US cast a solitary ‘no’ vote against General Assembly resolutions.
This despite the fact that the US did not pay its UN dues for decades. When it finally agreed to pay past dues in return for a reduction in its assessments, it refused to fulfil the promise. The resentment against the US at typical UN meetings is so intense that it can be felt in the air. It was this resentment that led the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to oust the US from the 53-member Human Rights Commission (HRC) in May 2001. […] It was the vote of a number of European and ‘friendly nations’ that eventually ousted America. The US suffered a similar defeat in 1998 when it was ejected from, but later reinstated to, the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), a key committee that deals with funding in the whole body.

Posted by ryzer | Report as abusive

Get real John, the US navy is useless in the Black Sea, that would be like a Russian ship cruising into Virgnia, a totally useless venture.
This is not some third rate military you are looking to slap the face of, this is a military that can hit back and hard.
An American fleet so far from home and in the face of the Russians would invite only one response, if you’re lucky, the Russians would give them a chance to back down and leave.
Honestly, it just goes to show eveything being said about America is justified, you truely are clueless away from the TV.
Let me guess, you have no idea of China’s capability either do you?
The fact that it is building a military that is focussed on western powers weaknesses! China already possess some of best stealth submarines in the world, demonstrated not to long back when one popped up to say hi right in the middle of American fleet manouvers, totally undetected.
China is rapidly developing a full range of cyber weapons and technologies, as recently tested on Latvia and the Pentagon, the Latter being forced to go off line for several months.
China is far from ready for its military to become aggressive, but already powerful enough to stop ANY western power in its tracks in the blink of an eye.
Who’s technology was able to track and bring down a Stealth bomber in Iraq?
They are totally focussed on the infrastructures that our military machines rely on, communications.
They have recently demonstrated to the world their ability to bring down satellites at will and I am not aware that these satellites have any defences.
So Just think of that, instantly our forces have no gps guidance, no communications all of which sevely hampers response time and accuracy for any smart weapons, actually they just go from smart to dumb. Throw in a couple of EMP bombs that China seems to spend a lot on, and our ships are dead in the water and our planes fall from the sky.

A lesson from History. France spent 3 times more on the Maginot line than Germany spent on the Seigfreid line.
It took only days to breach the French line, it took months to breach the German one.
America out spends the rest of the World combined when it comes to military hardware, yet China focusses her spending at America’s weaknesses making it all worthless in a real fight.
America’s World influence is already in decline. If you think otherwise, then you should dust off that passport and come and see for yourself rather than lap up eveything the Bush administrtion dishes out for public (sheep) consumption

Posted by ryzer | Report as abusive

The meaning of the word “Democracy” devalued thanks to the american policy, which is the policy of the big oil and pure american imperialism. Today “fight for democratic values” means 250000 lost civilians lives in Iraq after the american invasion, hundreds of lost lives in the NATO bombing of Serbia.Kosovo was granted
independance because kosovo albanian lobby did a good job
in the US, the american poodle Sakaschvili lobbied the
territorial integrity of Georgia and the small volks like
Abhasians or Ossetians are deprived of their right to separate themselves from Georgia. Immediate help was promised for Georgia to restore its army ! And to let this army again try to restore Sakashvili order in Abhasia and Ossetia! The americans are behaving according to the principle – maybe he is a son of a bitch but he is our son of a bitch. By the way – why is America not fighting for democracy in Saudi Arabia- where
people are stoned to death and women are deprived of the elementary rights ? It is clear why – Saudies are the biggest oil supplier. The aim of NATO was to defend its members against the USSR , now the USSR is over and the NATO is seaking for other aims like “establishing democracy in Afganistan” or promoting “democracy” in Georgia. Do German mothers want their sons die for the American Empire in Afganistan ? I suppose no.
The Georgian conflict is not about freedom , it is about the right of the United States to do what they want where they want and when they want. Thanks God Russia put an end to this. This is the begining of the death of the last Empire. Americans should go home and take care of their indebted economy. It is the time for Europe to stop sleeping and become independent. Europe has its interests- which are very distant from the american
interests. NATO is loosing in Afganistan and will be defeated their. No country (Britain and Russia included)
was successfull in Afganistan. After this failure NATO
should rethink its strategy and stop being the slave serving the american interests througout the world.
Long Live Europe and down with the American Empire!

Posted by monotavr | Report as abusive

I agree we should be less proactive in Europe. But unfortunately we can’t afford too. We have had to save most of Europe’s asses in the last two world wars. So I don’t think we should sit around and wait for the countries in Europe to screw it up again. We have saved Russia, France, should I continue. They are all ungrateful and their memories are as short as their foresight.

Posted by Shane | Report as abusive

To Ryzer. I do know China’s military they have 600 nuclear war heads… America has 6000. How many of the stealth bombers were shot down, not many and they flew a lot of sorties. Americans have shot down satellites too. So you are suggesting our military should only invest in bolt action rifles and hand grenades. Everything else is ultimately just an excessive waste of military spending and will fail in a time of need. Please. Technology is paramount. We can launch satellites faster then they can shoot them down. Also if you are familiar with cell communications you know that remote sites can be set up in no time. I assure you the military has this thought out.

Posted by Shane | Report as abusive

There are literally thousands of satellites. First you got to find them and their orbits. Next you got to figure out if there friendly or foe. Next you got to have enough missiles to hit them. I think China shooting down a satellite was more to show that they too have the technology to shoot down missiles. It is not in China’s or America’s best interest for confrontation. Our economies are to interdependent. I bet if you ask just about anyone in China where they would live if they could choose what do you think they would say Russia or France, I doubt it.

Posted by Shane | Report as abusive

The point is: is the NATO willing to muscle Russia, when Russia doesn’t want NATO troops and installations at their border. Probably not. American troops are spread thin because of the involvement in many wars, and forcing Russia means a world war. The Russian behaviour momentarily, is the same as the American for the last decade: shaping the world for the dangers and needs of tomorrow.

Posted by Gene Valdorry | Report as abusive

ryzer – I think Russia is some third-world military. A US Navy battle group can defend itself for 1,500 miles in any direction. I would like to see Russia taken to a military woodshed a given a good spanking.

What about China, why are you talking about them? American sea-launched anti-missiles can fly up the tailpipe of any ballistic missile launched from China at any time.

You seem to be a part of some delusional, anti-American, Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

What part did you fail to understand John?

Just how accurate are these anti missile sea launch missiles after an EPM blast?
How do these ships get close enough to do anything in the face of superior are denial strategies (you might want to look that up, its “area denial” something China seems to have developed a massive lead in.)

Posted by ryzer | Report as abusive

Shane, not my point at all.
My point was many on here seem to show total ignorance and believe any action America undertakes is going to be a walk in the park. Those days are nearly over.
The spending of many of the countries that see America as a potential enemy of the future is focussed at the weaknesses of the American military spend, ie area’s open to exploitation.
Russia’s “third rate” military continue to fly planes that are no match for the most basic western aircraft, yet these planes will continue after a nuclear blast, will ours?
Who then has the upper hand?
So there are thousands of satelittes, why do you think it needs a missile for each of them?
Cyber warare, something else China and Russia seem to be training hard for (for Russia see 3 week attack on estonia). Wouldn’t a uploaded virus have a pretty devastating effect?
No cell phones, no Internet, no GPS, no Casualties.
It was a pretty effective dry run the Chinese orchestrated when the Pentagon was targeted. Here’s a sample….

Larry M. Wortzel, the author of the US Army War College report, said: “The thing that should give us pause is that in many Chinese military manuals they identify the US as the country they are most likely to go to war with. They are moving very rapidly to master this new form of warfare.” The two PLA hackers produced a “virtual guidebook for electronic warfare and jamming” after studying dozens of US and Nato manuals on military tactics, according to the document.

The Pentagon logged more than 79,000 attempted intrusions in 2005. About 1,300 were successful, including the penetration of computers linked to the Army’s 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions and the 4th Infantry Division. In August and September of that year Chinese hackers penetrated US State Department computers in several parts of the world. Hundreds of computers had to be replaced or taken offline for months. Chinese hackers also disrupted the US Naval War College’s network in November, forcing the college to shut down its computer systems for several weeks. The Pentagon uses more than 5 million computers on 100,000 networks in 65 countries
Chinese military hackers have prepared a detailed plan to disable America’s aircraft battle carrier fleet with a devastating cyber attack, according to a Pentagon report obtained by The Times.

The blueprint for such an assault, drawn up by two hackers working for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), is part of an aggressive push by Beijing to achieve “electronic dominance” over each of its global rivals by 2050, particularly the US, Britain, Russia and South Korea.

China’s ambitions extend to crippling an enemy’s financial, military and communications capabilities early in a conflict, according to military documents and generals’ speeches that are being analysed by US intelligence officials. Describing what is in effect a new arms race, a Pentagon assessment states that China’s military regards offensive computer operations as “critical to seize the initiative” in the first stage of a war.

The plan to cripple the US aircraft carrier battle groups was authored by two PLA air force officials, Sun Yiming and Yang Liping. It also emerged this week that the Chinese military hacked into the US Defence Secretary’s computer system in June; have regularly penetrated computers in at least 10 Whitehall departments, including military files, and infiltrated German government systems this year.

So, you want to go ahead believing in your invincibility, well you want be the first to lose an empire through ignorance and arrogance!

Posted by ryzer | Report as abusive

Hey John
Why should America be calling for Rssia’s withdrawal from Georgia when it won’t agree to pulling all its troops out of Iraq in THREE years?
Double standards perhaps?
Or maybe America has an ulterior motive to not want to leave!

Posted by ryzer | Report as abusive

I’m not suggesting that America has a perfect record, or that its actions in the recent past were well-conceived. I disagree with quite a bit that our country continues to do. I’m simply unimpressed by your blatant hatred for the United States. You have a decidedly one-sided view of world politics. I am sorry for that…you argue your points well.

Posted by mike | Report as abusive

I must disagree with your view of the Chinese military and their capabilities. There is considerable reason to be concerned about China in general. If you’re interested, you should look up the amount of money that we (the United States) owes to China–you would find the amount crippling if they ever called in their loans. The one point of security, albeit slim, is the fact that China is still somewhat dependent on business ties with the U.S. However, this will not continue indefinitely…When the time comes, they could completely topple our economy…it is no exaggeration.

Posted by mike | Report as abusive

Ryzer if you think out military is not using cyber warfare you are mistaken. Our military does not even function on traditional internet now. The pentagon has a website, if you think that controls the military I hope you work for the Russians or the Taliban. They have their own satellite network which too is encrypted. We basically invented EMP so you think we would know the best defense. You can make electronics that are nearly impenetrable. So we will be flying the F22 Raptors without difficulty after EMP’s.

Posted by Shane | Report as abusive

Thank you for the compliment, but you know nothing about me so please don’t assume it is one-sided anti-American.
I am British and my wife is American, even she is amazed by how much is NOT repoted by American press since living in the UK.
She has become very frustrated with her family’s attitude now she is aware of the BS the media feeds them.
As for one sided, sorry but the topic is mainly focused on just a few participants. If we were on a different topic that involved the UK for example, you might see that I am harsher on our politicians than yours.
Britain is a tiny nation that has achieved much, but it also has a lot of ghosts in the closet, something I am not proud of.
The arrogance and Ignorance I now see coming from America brought this empire down and others before it, so lets have a look at this missile shield an example.

So US and Poland agree on the placement of 10 interceptors to be placed in Poland as part of a missile shield, protecting who from what?

US administration claim rogue states like Iran.
Iran’s nuclear capability has not even been allowed to mature to the point they can make 1 nuclear weapon yet. If they could it is estimated they will need another ten to fifteen years to develope a delivery vehicle to reach the US!
Should they do that and actually launch it, Iran would be turned into a sea of Glass in the blink of an eye, so obviously the threat from Iran doesnt really exist does it!

Many of the posts on here refer to Russia as being “third rate”, obviously no threat there then!

So tell me Mike, whats it all about? Because all I see is American expansionism of influence as practiced my many nations before as far back as the Romans

Posted by ryzer | Report as abusive

You might also point out to Shane how much of those Chinese foreign currency dollar reserves have been used to buy up stakes in American banks and corporations already!

Posted by ryzer | Report as abusive

I agree the Chinese have made a substantial investment in America. So has the Middle East. If you read the blog I said that the Chinese and American’s have no desire for confrontation because our economies are so interdependent. It is in there look again. Ryzer really the one that thinks there is significant hostilities between US and China. I just saying if the poop hits the fan (war) we would default on all that investment. Hurting the Chinese more than the Americans cause their investment has been spent in benefit of America. Essentially giving us a Zero balance do to any enemy on a massive investment.

Posted by Shane | Report as abusive