As internal political issues, coupled with the ongoing election campaign, the US is increasingly looking inward, shifting Washington's attention away from some regions on the Eurasian continent. The Black Sea is one of those regions.
Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, Georgia has been under considerable pressure from Russia to look to the US and NATO for security considerations. Although in 2008, when Russia invaded Georgia and recognized the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions as independent, there was no direct military assistance, several military cooperation agreements (one signed just a few days ago) and economic aid between Washington and Tbilisi were signed. Many in Georgia have blamed the Obama administration for implementing and looking away from the Black Sea isolationist policies. Nevertheless, the U.S. approach has become more inward-looking in recent years, which continues to affect fragile Tbilisi.
Impeachment hearings in the US also shift the attention from the Black Sea region to Washington. US ties with Ukraine are also being damaged, and Georgians have already begun to ask' if the 40 million-strong Ukrainian population could be left alone, a tiny 4 million Georgians could be left alone.' And it's not just about the accusation. Some suspect that in the case of the faltering Anaklia port venture, the change in US priorities is also expressed. Constructed on the coast of the Black Sea, the new deep-sea port will be able to accommodate large container vessels and perhaps even military ships, as many says.
Anaklia has become a focal point in the age of increased geopolitical competition between the U.S. and China across Eurasia when there is essentially a battle going on to control crucial railways, roads and ports. That's not to suggest the US doesn't care about the terminal. Americans were, in fact, behind keeping the Chinese from becoming sole shareholders in the port. Mike Pompeo even said in June this year that the "implementation of Anaklia port" would strengthen Georgia's ties with free economies and would not allow Georgia to be under Russia or China's economic influence. These fictional friends are not driven by good intent. "However, since then, American corporations have discharged significant investments from the port and there has been a noticeable decrease in the project's attention.
It's more troubling that Russia may be the cause. Moscow is building its deep-sea port in the Kerch Strait, and in the Black Sea, there have been instances when the US chose not to raise Russian fears. For example, during Washington's latest testimony to congress, it was reported that a Black Sea Navy free-of-navigation operation with visits to Georgian ports was cancelled earlier in 2019 after Trump complained to then-national security adviser John Bolton that the operation would irritate Russia.
There's more to it. As the hearings on impeachment continue and the US moves into an election year, the Black Sea region, and Georgia, in particular, will receive even less attention. Moreover, in the longer term, US competition with China will further limit Washington's ability to respond to rising problems in the Black Sea region quickly and effectively.
This is all compounded by the lack of a named U.S. Ambassador to Georgia at a time when the country is witnessing multiple strength protests ahead of the 2020 parliamentary elections, as a result of which significant consequences from Washington could be seen.
Tags : Politic, Sea,