Georgia Beyond “Radical Europeanness”: Undiscovered Directions of Foreign Policy


Abstract

Georgia’s turn to the West signifi cantly aff ected its geopolitical and foreign policies. The author shares the view expressed by Georgian scholars that the country’s continued commitment to the Western vector is a direct consequence of ideas expressed by political elites (constructivist theory) and their self-identifi cation as “European,” coupled with Western-style liberal democracy as a social order preference (liberal theory). Georgia’s political elites are driven by the concept of “Europeanness” and thus focus primarily on the state’s aspirations to be integrated into the “Western world,” which is pushing the state towards European and North-Atlantic integration. Georgian elites believe that institutional reunifi cation with “European family” under the NATO defence shield will not only deter Moscow but will fi nally put an end to Moscow’s attempts to bring the post-soviet state under its control. Moreover, due to the tensions between the generalized West and Russian Federation, the Kremlin’s aspirations to stop what it perceives as a geopolitical expansion of the West to the east, Georgia’s approach has become even more radical. The paper argues that the concept of “Europeanness” has been transformed into “radical Europeanness,” meaning that the political elites maintain economic cooperation with non-Western countries, but there is no proactive foreign policy beyond that, even with its most important strategic partners, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey. In spite Tbilisi enjoys trade relations with these countries, the existing level of political and military cooperation between them conceals signifi cant bilateral challenges. Additionally, this approach is perfectly refl ected in Georgia’s relations with China, when the country’s political elites pushed for free trade, without attention to the political and geopolitical aspects of economic cooperation. Thus, Georgia – China relations are also the part of research interest in this paper, as the free trade regime between the two countries is subject to serious scrutiny after the Donald Trump administration made it clear that Washington would not welcome Chinese economic and geopolitical expansion in Georgia.

Keywords: Georgia, “radical Europeanness”, identity, foreign policy, elites, social order.

Titile: Georgia Beyond “Radical Europeanness”: Undiscovered Directions of Foreign Policy
Author: Archil Sikharulidze
Type: Peer-Reviewed
Pages: 91-108
Publisher: MGIMO
Journal: International Analytics
Year: 2021
Place: Moscow, Russian Federation
DOI: https://doi.org/10.46272/2587-8476-2020-11-2-91-108 

Citation: Sikharulidze A.Т. Georgia Beyond “Radical Europeanness”: Undiscovered Directions of Foreign Policy. Journal of International Analytics. 2020;11(2):91-108. https://doi.org/10.46272/2587-8476-2020-11-2-91-108

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