World » Former USSR
Author`s name Michael Simpson

USA to Get One More Georgia

The headline is not a mistake, although one may say that the USA already has the state of Georgia of its own. Now, one more state with the same name is to be added to America. It is highly likely that this may happen. Why? The president of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, Eduard Shevardnadze has declared that the USA will appropriate $77 million a year for "strengthening Georgia's defensive capacity." This is quite a pretty sum as compared with the defensive budget of the country which makes up about $30-35 million.

In the words of Eduard Shevardnadze, "strengthening of Georgia's defensive capacity is in the US's interests first of all; that is why the Congress will appropriate $77 million a year for this purpose." The generosity of the Congress is unlimited, indeed. On the other hand, the sum of $77 million is a mere trifle as compared with the $400 billion budget of the Pentagon.  

Some time ago Georgia's Ministry of Defence insisted that defensive spending of the budget must be increased up to 150 million lari ($70 million approximately) in 2004. The military openly declared that "the army would face serious problems" in case if the defensive budget wasn't considerably increased. In fact, dissatisfaction of the army is unfavorable for Shevardnadze and his team. In this situation US's financial aid is well-timed. So, the defensive budget of Georgia will be actually financed by the USA.

As is known, American military instructors have been training special force soldiers in Georgia for a long period already. The USA has already spent over $60 million for this purpose. Three battalions are said to have been already trained; however, Americans are to train 1,700 people more until the end of the year.

Like in many other aspects, the US instructors staying in Georgia have faced many problems. At the end of 2002, the commander of the American inspectors admitted that millions of dollars appropriated by the USA to Georgia were embezzled; he declared he had to control spending of every cent and even prevent thefts of army shoes.

It is quite natural that American control will go beyond mere prevention of shoe thefts. When the instructors had started training in Georgia, Americans demanded that Eduard Shevardnadze must give written guarantees not to use forces trained by Americans further in Abkhazia. And the Georgian president agreed to give such guarantees. What does the USA demand this time?

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