America and NATO Supporting Georgia’s Security

On February 11, the US White House announced that the US will spend USD 4.3 billion in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in 2017 to combat Russia’s aggressive behavior in the region.

The statement said that the decision comes as a response to Moscow’s increasingly confrontational and bellicose approach to its neighbors, most of whom were once Russian imperial dominions.

The White House said the funds will be spent on shoring up the US’ political, economic and diplomatic leverage in the region.

The funds also provide for increasing military support to the countries most at risk from Russia’s aggressive posturing, such as Georgia.

Known as the European Reassurance Initiative, the plan will enable the US to expand its number of military exercises and training, sustain a larger continuous rotational presence in Eastern Europe, enhance its preparedness to reinforce NATO allies through the prepositioning of equipment and build the defensive capacity of partner states in the former Soviet Union to enhance their inter-operability with the US military and NATO in order to strengthen regional security.

“This will include bolstering our capabilities across the region to counter Russian aggression, with a particular focus on Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova,” the White House document says.

According to Euro News Georgia, the amount will, along with democracy promotion, economic development and Euro-Atlantic integration, help Georgia resist Russian aggression.

The information says the financial aid will be focused on enlargement of energetic and economic possibilities for the population that tend to Russia’s influence.

At an August 2015 meeting between Georgia’s Defense Minister Tinatin Khidasheli and US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, the US announced plans to allocate USD 20 million to assist in the development of Georgia’s armed forces.

“This includes more US troops in Georgia, more support to the Georgian army, Georgian defense and security, in order to be ready for all the challenges that exist in our region – that’s the main pledge of this partnership. Every day brings more progress and results in this regard,” said Minister Khidasheli.

Meanwhile, amid the Middle East tension and Ukraine’s hybrid war with Russia, NATO has sent four naval war ships to Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi as part of a scheduled month-long training mission.

The naval contingent is part of NATO’s Rapid Response Forces (RRF), which is currently undergoing an Alliance-wide overhaul of its defensive capabilities in light of Russia’s belligerent actions in Ukraine and Syria and Moscow’s ongoing major military buildup in the Black Sea region.

The ships are participating in joint exercises and training missions with Georgian naval and marine forces.

NATO’s United Naval Forces commander Giorgio Lazio said in Batumi on February 12 that “the mission has come to demonstrate NATO’s support as well as stress our strong and mutually beneficial cooperation with Georgia.”

Late January, the Washington Post in a publication stated that Georgia is not on the verge of a Kremlin-inspired political takeover, but nor is growing Russian influence a fantasy.

According to the publication, the government in Tbilisi is doing just about everything right. “But expansion fatigue in the United States, and especially Europe, is breeding fatalism in Georgia, and incubating a political environment where pro-Russia factions’ anti-west crusades are gaining traction.

Zviad Adzinbaia

25 February 2016 19:03