Where to Turn? Waiting for that Sigh of Relief


The issue has already hit the point where one wants to vomit – it has taken us almost thirty years to decide whether we want or need to be part of the western military alliances and its economic unions to make ourselves comfortable as a nation, and to steer clear of the dangers hanging over our baffled heads like the sword of Damocles.

And we are still where we have always been, making no substantial headway in the chosen direction – the officially chosen direction being a beeline towards NATO.

We are told that we are right at the threshold of it, but stepping over the Rubicon is not yet allowed; we are promised wonders will happen, but the moon is still very far away; we are praised for our assiduousness in doing our homework, but the certificate of graduation is still locked up in Western political vaults; we are patted on our scrawny shoulders during diplomatic receptions in the most influential capitals of the world, but behind the impenetrable western doors, we are shown wagging fingers for wanting too much; we are tempted to challenge our former big brother but nobody gives us assurances of help if the Bear goes suddenly berserk; we are complete on the maps within our erstwhile geographic contours but this is only a craved-for picture of Georgia with no sanguine forecast. Look how rich we are with heartening pledges, but utterly deprived of actual deliveries on promises!

There is one irrefutable truth working here: Georgia will never again have the same sense of security it once had when it was conveniently parked in the soviet nest of nations, feeling as snug as a bug in a rug. At that time, we felt quite comfortable, save some of those worrisome soviet quirks and kinks. The anti-soviet revolution rendered us free as far as acquired liberty can go.

We now need to take urgent steps towards effective cooperation with the rest of the world, pregnant with all kinds of perils that may hit Georgia, too. But those steps are hampered by certain components of the political process currently taking place in Georgia. I am talking about the nation-wide chasm concerning the country’s geopolitical orientation. This nation does not know for sure what it wants; this nation is confused about its geopolitical affiliations; this nation is at a total loss in terms of making a choice between steering itself towards west or towards north. And the gist of the problem is that consensus may not be expected in the next umpteen years concerning our niche in the family of nations, within which most members know almost exactly what they want, where they belong and what direction they wish to go.

Where do we actually want to be? In the hands of the biggest western military alliance and economic union or in the déjà vu clutches of the still vibrant Russian neo-imperialism? Maybe in neither! Why is the situation in this country so dubious? Why is the nation split so painfully? Why are we vacillating so much between the two sources of our security?

The answers come belatedly to these questions. We seem to be busier with sociological research of the ratings of our numerous political parties than with the response to these crucial questions. Are we just sitting back and waiting for the manna from the sky to fall? Or are we in fact playing a double game in search of better ways of securing the military, political, and economic safety of the nation, courting both Russia and West at the same time?

Locally, Georgia is torn apart on the issue of its geopolitical orientation within a motley bunch of political powers, vehemently opposing each other. I have written about the issue on many previous occasions but I have never been this caustic and pessimistic before. My fury was triggered by the heated open controversy between those powers. The impression is that they almost wanted to eat each other alive on the subject of Georgia’s belonging in NATO – the alliance which is not yet ready either politically or technically to consider our membership for real, though it talks profusely and enthusiastically about the possibility.

It is said although that the majority of our people are supportive of Georgia’s western orientation and consider themselves Europeans, these are only sentiments. The business is not yet here, and it is also said that it will take a while to arrive. When I say business, I mean Georgia’s actual membership in Euro-Atlantic structures, including NATO and the Eurounion in the first place. If this happened, any controversy about the issue would be happily obviated, and we would all sigh with relief.

Nugzar B. Ruhadze

12 May 2016 18:48