“Georgia should associate its own case with the transatlantic strategy of advancing the frontiers of freedom in the post-Cold War world,” write former US ambassadors to Georgia, William Courtney and Kenneth Yalowitz, and Atlantic Council distinguished fellow Daniel Fried in Georgia’s Path Westward, a new report from the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and the National Democratic Institute. In the 1990s, Georgia—beset by separatist conflicts, corruption, extreme poverty, and threats from Russia—was at risk of becoming a failed state. It has overcome many of these challenges and now stands as a striking example of a reforming and Western-oriented country transcending the limitations of decades of Soviet rule.
The report finds that Georgia should do more on its own to achieve its European and Euro-Atlantic ambitions. Georgian governments have enjoyed popular backing for reforms and should utilize this further to improve the political process, governance, and economic and social conditions. By advancing reform at home, intensifying practical cooperation with the EU and NATO and their member states, and seeking to deal pragmatically with Russia where possible, Georgia will improve its prospects for full European and Euro-Atlantic integration. For its part, the West has a responsibility to keep Georgia’s EU and NATO membership prospects alive and advancing, with concrete steps commensurate with Georgia’s progress.