Thursday, June 03, 2010

REVIEW: Aft er the August War: A New Strategy for U.S. Engagement with Georgia. By Lincoln Mitchell and Alexander Cooley (

Volume 17, Numbers 3-4 May 2010
Special Double Issue
After the August War:
A New Strategy for U.S. Engagement with Georgia
The Harriman Review would like to thank Matt hew Schaaf
for his considerable assistance in putt ing together this special issue.
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List of Maps, Charts, and Tables 5
Acknowledgments 7
Executive Summary 9
Map of the Region 12
Introduction 13
1. The U.S. Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership 17
2. Abkhazia and South Ossetia Before and Aft er the War 23
3. Democracy 34
4. U.S. Assistance to Georgia 43
Conclusion 54
Timeline 1: Major Military and Legal Events Regarding Abkhazia, Ajara,
and South Ossetia Since 1921 59
Timeline 2: Russian-Georgian Relations from 2003 to 2008 62
Timeline 3: June to October 2008 64
Major Agreements Signed between the Russian Federation and Abkhazia,
August 2008-March 2010 67
Bibliography 69

This project is the product of good will, cooperation and constructive engagement from a great
number of individuals and organizations. We are thankful to the Smith Richardson Foundation for a grant to undertake and disseminate the fi ndings of this research from July 2009 through December 2010. We are especially grateful to Nadia Schadlow for her support, advice and confi dence that we could deliver a product that could be of service to the broader policy community.
Columbia University’s Harriman Institute oversaw the project. We deeply appreciate the support and encouragement of Director Tim Frye, his predecessor Catharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy, as well as the Harriman Institute’s faculty, staff and affi liates. We owe a special thank you to Matthew Schaaf for his superb research assistance and help with the preparation of the final report. During the grant period, Harriman also sponsored three
special seminars of the Limited Sovereignty and Soft Borders in Southeastern Europe and the Former Soviet States: The Challenges and Political Consequences of Future Changes in Legal Status series, co-directed by Alexander Cooley and Gordon Bardos, on the topics of the Georgia aid and reconstruction package, dynamics of unrecognized and partially recognized states, and the U.S.-Georgia Charter of Strategic Partnership. We thank the presenters of these sessions – Tom de Waal, Cory Welt, Ken Yalowitz, Chris Walker, Tamuna Karosanidze, and Janine Wedel – as well as the seminar participants for stimulating and challenging our thinking about these topics. Finally, we thank Ron Meyer for his work in preparing the report for publication as well as releasing it as a special issue of the Harriman Review.
The cooperation of a number of organizations and individuals across Washington D.C., Moscow, Brussels, Tbilisi and Sukhumi were invaluable to our efforts. On the U.S. side, we appreciate the help and guidance we received from the Department of State, Department of Defense, National Security Council, U.S. Congress, and USAID.
In Moscow, we thank Moscow State University and Moscow State Institute of International Relations for organizing special roundtable seminars involving their experts on the topics of U.S.-Georgia-Russia relations and the future of the South Caucasus. We also appreciate our meetings with members of the Russian think-tank community and print and electronic media who specialize in the South Caucasus for their insights.

In Brussels, we benefi ted from meetings with the European Union Special Representative to the South Caucasus, Georgia confl ict and the European Union External Relations and Trade divisions. We also thank representatives of NATO, the European Policy Centre, LINKS, and the German Marshall Fund of the United States for their insights.
In Georgia, we are especially thankful to the State Ministry of Reintegration and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for their support. We met with a variety of government and opposition political representatives, as well as civil society groups representing a range of political views. We also thank the U.S. Embassy and the EU Mission in Tbilisi for their helpful assistance. Nina Khatiskasi was indispensable for our trip’s planning.
In Sukhumi we appreciate the efforts of the Abkhaz authorities to help arrange our April 2010 visit and providing us with important meetings and perspectives.
Ultimately, none of these partners are responsible for any errors in the report or any other of its shortcomings.

Finally, the authors deeply appreciate the support of our families—Marta, Asher, Reuben, Nicole and Greta —through these extended periods of overseas travel.

Lincoln Mitchell and Alexander Cooley
New York, May 2010

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