While there are many, many things that can be said negatively about Misha the Tie Eater: demagogue, liar, thief, mass murderer and coward, a positive can be given: he spends other people’s money well.
Evidence of this can be seen all over Tbilisi, the Georgian capital. The streets are clean and paved, the traffic lights are working. All the police have new uniforms and new, modern police cars. There is actual regular garbage collection and garbage cans on the streets. The parks are clean and well lit. There are new fountains all over the place. New construction. Yes, the hundreds of millions of non government aid that America has so generously given up from her own non-existent treasures: the debt that America’s great grand children will be paying percentages on, are well spent.
This does not even take into account such expenditures as Saakashvili’s grand new palace in one of the oldest neighborhoods of Tbilisi, not that a lot of that neighborhood got left. It is bigger than any that has ever stood in Georgia’s 5,000 year history, thank you America. Nor does it count the large sea shell shaped train terminal built at the renovated and expanded national airport, also in American debt, or the giant green glass super structure that is the fantasy landscape of the Ministry of the Interior.
Of course, lucky Americans are not only spending on Georgia’s new trees, bushes and new found cleanliness, they are also paying for the most militarized nation in the world. A nation of 4 million has 260,000 men under arms either on active service or in reserves, that is 6.5% of the population under arms officially and does not count the tens of thousands of police, special police, interior ministry troops and special forces. Never mind that most of that military ability was destroyed in only six days and is now again being replaced by the US taxpayer’s endless gratitude of debt.
Thus Georgians, in the majority, still support Saakashvili for all the things he has done for them: with American money, though they are rather upset that he would start a war that he than lost.
Of course, what the majority of Georgians fail to bother to realize is what exactly Georgia has lost, in the process. To begin with, Georgia has lost its main market, Russia. To Russia, Georgia sold its wines, its mineral water, its fruits and vegetables. Those markets are forever lost or diminished. For even if Georgia was to return now, its place has been taken by a flood of French, Italian, German and Moldovan wines, which are as good and cheaper in price. Russian mineral waters took the place of Georgian and Russian outputs in vegetables and fruits, as well as imports from Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria have swallowed up the missing market share.
Worse yet, 70% of the Georgian economy was held afloat by the renditions sent by the million, 20%, of Georgians living in Russia. This money has been fully cut off by the embargo, as well as the tourist rubles that were spent not only by Georgians in Russia, visiting Georgia, but by Russians, who flooded down. None of that money has been replaced and the hopes for the big tourist push, from abroad, are a fool’s gold. Walking the summer streets of Tbilisi, the main streets, there are foreigners, in small groups or families, but they are way to few to even insanely hope to base an economy on.
Furthermore, Georgia has never rebuilt its Soviet (read Russian funded) industrial base. Partially, this is based on the fact that Georgia is shy of almost all needed raw resources and partially that most of the real businessmen fled Georgia for Russia, a long time ago, and have not and will not return.
Besides this, Georgia has paid in blood and land. By being a puppet for the US, Georgia sacrificed its men in Iraq, a country it needed nothing from and had no business in. Than it, at Washington’s direct or indirect behest, that is still under debate, launched its 7th August 2008 S.Ossessian genocide and watched its military routed, its best divisions destroyed and its war fleet sent to the bottom of the Black Sea, to a ship. Over two thousand Georgian men lost their lives, while tens of thousands of others, abandoning their equipment, ran for their lives. Poti, the main port, watched its facilities reduced to cinders, while Europe finally woke up the reality of risk of letting Georgia into NATO, no matter what Washington flooded them with. Equally, Georgia has lost all moral pretext to the territories it had lost physically to war, so long ago, in the early 1990s.
The losses will/are being replaced by the American tax serfs, but the long term future has been set and set for failure. By hitching their wagon or rather gilded cage, to the American tax serf and a financial system in absolute melt down, they have made sure that not only will the funds eventually run out when the American serfs end this largeness but that there will be no others to take their place and no market to go to. Not only have the bridges been burnt with Russia, but Georgia launched a few artillery rounds to the opposite shore to make sure the message was clearly made.
It may take another year or two for this reality to unfold and another year for it to settle in, but the collapse back to a failed state will be quick and painful. The Georgian’s great hope of Russia collapsing will not materialize and what it could ever bring them, but more grief, is beyond any to see. The Chechen and Arab Islamics they have funded, against fellow Orthodox Christians, will return in force, upon Georgia, once it collapses, and will carve large chunks out of it. More than likely, their former oppressors, the Turks, will be quick to visit them as well.
Either way, the decisions of the past three years will long haunt them, maybe even longer than the debt payments of the US serfs paying for the Georgian Indian Summer of today.
The article has been reprinted with the kind permission from the author and originally appears on his blog Mat Rodina