Still, the lack of an emotional connection with the Obama administration has left Georgia feeling somewhat out in the cold. Unlike most world capitals, Tbilisi was silent the night of Obama's victory last November. Prior to the U.S. election, a minister in the Georgian government drove around town with a "McCain" license plate.
...В отличии от большинства мировых столиц, Тбилиси погрузился в тишину в ночь победы Обамы в ноябре. Перед американскими выборами, министр грузинского правительства разьезжал по городу на машине с номерным знаком "Маккейн".
И вот, расплата:
Ahead of Biden's visit, Georgia was hoping for military hardware, U.S. monitors along the border with Russia, and promises of protection; instead it received a dose of tough love.
...A cooler relationship between Georgia and the United States may, in fact, be closer to the historical norm than the intensity and closeness seen during George W. Bush's presidency. The two countries' ties are more tactical than strategic, defined by pipeline politics and a shared suspicion of Moscow. As those issues shift, so too may the U.S.-Georgian relationship. "The idea that there is this undying bond between the United States and Georgia is overstated," said Lawrence Scott Sheets of the International Crisis Group.
The loss of land and prestige has dealt Georgia a devastating blow to its national ego, not to mention the image it has cultivated abroad as the standard-bearer for post-Soviet democracy. Even Saakashvili ... has seen his trademark swagger and stubbornness replaced by humility. Last month, he told Georgia's parliament that reacquiring Abkahzia or South Ossetia is "not on the political agenda for any immediate action." This came as a shocking admission of weakness for many Georgians, akin to President Jimmy Carter's "malaise" speech in 1979.
In the months since the war ended, with Abkhazia and South Ossetia essentially independent and under Moscow's control, the national discourse in Georgia has shifted from animosity toward Russia to self-reflection and soul-searching. The political opposition blames Saakashvili for last summer's war; Georgian authorities, in turn, accuse opposition leaders of being bankrolled by Moscow.
This has left the country divided and teetering on the brink of greater political and economic turmoil. The parking lots of Tbilisi's hotels are crammed with vans from international monitoring and aid organizations, making the city resemble East Timor more than Eastern Europe.