Georgia: Examining Possible Sovereign Futures and the Internationalization Option

Cooley, Alexander A.

At a recent special panel on the Georgian crisis convened at the Bled Strategic Forum, European foreign ministers and representatives of international organizations lamented that they had failed to adequately engage Georgia's unresolved or "frozen conflicts." Since the early 1990s, the international community effectively ignored the disputes between Tbilisi and Abkhazia and South Ossetia, allowing tensions to fester until in early August the disputes escalated into a six-day war between Georgia and Russia. Russia's subsequent recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia independence has legally challenged Georgia's very territorial integrity and sovereign boundaries. While much of the West struggles to enforce a precarious ceasefire and formulate a common response to Russia's actions, it is worth considering the exact sovereign forms that might govern Georgia in the near future. Three options - indefinite occupation, formal partition or international administration - are possible; though all three pose risks, the internationalization option, the least discussed thus far, may offer the best blueprint for stabilizing the region and eventually resolving status issues.

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Political Science (Barnard College)
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February 20, 2012