Yet another piece in the IHT on the Georgian situation. Eugene’s advice to Saakashvili:
For reunification to happen, Abkhazia and South Ossetia will have to be guaranteed utmost autonomy within the new Georgia, without it actually crossing the line to sovereignty. And Saakashvili will have to give up some of his ambitions temporarily in order to please Russia. For example, he has openly and repeatedly said he wants to join NATO. This deeply offends the Russians – and it sounds hypocritical to them when, in the same breath, Saakashvili insists that no foreign military power should have the right to station its bases, or its troops, on Georgian soil. Russia still maintains two bases in Georgia, and it is unlikely to remove them if it knows that NATO might put a base of its own in their place.
For now, the best solution for Saakashvili is to pursue the path of democracy. If the young president can ensure continued free and fair elections, curb corruption and improve his people’s standard of living, Western institutions will invite his country to join them – not the other way around – and foreign aid will find its way to his doorstep.
When that moment comes, Abkhazia and South Ossetia may still refuse to reunite with Georgia – only this time, the loss will be theirs.