Michele Flournoy Position Memo on Russian Georgia Simulation Term Paper

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Michele Flournoy Position Memo on Russian-Georgia Simulation

Foreign policy advisors and mediation team present at the Summit

Michele Flournoy, Secretary of State

Russian Georgian standoff

The current crisis between the Russian Federation and Georgia is one of the most important aspects of foreign policy affecting the U.S. At the moment. It started as a result of a terrorist attack in the 2014 location of the Olympic Games, Sochi. The Georgian Administration claims the attack was arranged by the Islamic Chechen rebels, while the Russian Intelligence points to the Georgian agents for responsibility.

The measures as a reaction to this terrorist attacks included the closing down of the border with Georgia, expulsion of Georgians holding a Russian visa, and embargo. In counteroffensive, the Georgian administration openly opposes the WTO accession of Russia, while limiting its action on the Russian citizens in Georgia. However, the Georgian president requested the help and assistance of NATO troops to prevent a remake of the 2008 conflict with Russia. The current background affects the entire international community. The measures undertaken by the two countries describe a constant tension between the two which affects trade, politics, as well as the 2014 upcoming Olympics.

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The United States, as well as the entire international community, has no intention that this crisis escalates any further. The urgent summit call came as an important step in the right direction as it brought the two sides at the negotiation table.

The main issue under discussion must be to unblock the current standoff which affects political, economic, and social aspects of the two countries.

Key points

Political

TOPIC: Term Paper on Michele Flournoy Position Memo on Russian Georgia Simulation Assignment

The political aspect bears a crucial importance due to the volatility of the area. The 2008 war represented a turn in history for the two sides. It is important that no further escalation of the conflict take place. At the same time, the internal political frictions in Georgia are essential for the way in which the current crisis escalated since 2008. However, given that these aspects relate to internal political aspects, neither the U.S. Nor the international community can interfere in the internal affairs of the states. Therefore, it must be underlined that the official dialogue partners are the current representatives of the two administrations which have been entrusted with the governance of the countries

Economic

The economic elements focus in particular on aspects related to human resources especially in Georgia. Given the nature of the Russian measures taken against Russian visa holders, the conflict may determine a serious situation at the level of the Georgian labor force. The afflux of Georgians being expelled from Russia can create a serious disequilibrium in terms of unemployment and welfare.

The embargo imposed on the Georgian trade towards Russia will surely have an additional economic impact on the trade relations between the two and will spillover throughout the region.

Symbolic

The 2014 Olympics represents a crucial moment in the history of the city of Soci. Even to this point the city had enough to suffer as a result of the terrorist attacks. However, the lack of agreement and the stalling of the preparations for the Olympics send a negative signal in terms of the spirit of the Olympics and at the same time in relation to the security the city enshrined so far. Therefore, it is important that the fears concerning the city and the organization of the Olympics be eliminated in order to ensure that the spirits of the event will prevail.

The general view on the upcoming summit must reflect the current situation on the ground and at the same time must respect the international law and the specificities of the parties involved. The heartfelt desire of the United States is a memorandum of understanding between the parties in order to ensure the peaceful resolution of the ongoing standoff.

Analysis

The political aspects are essential for this part of the world. There have been constant frictions between the two countries. Most recently the 2008 confrontation between the two proved that the security in the area is relatively volatile.

There are several aspects to consider. The first and probably the most important is the issue of trust between the two countries. This is clearly underlined by the actual escalation of the 2008 crisis when the two actors accused each other of military buildup in the vicinity of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia. There is little uncontested evidence of this fact being true. From this point-of-view, the United States and the international community at large must retrain themselves from engaging in this process because it is important that the two sides engage in a dialogue rather than a clear open conflict. It is the responsibility of the United States and the international community to foster this initiative of communication so that no escaladation of the dispute emerges.

A second important point between the two sides is related to the regional organization as well as the global ones. As it is well-known, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is indeed the most important security organization and body of the world. Given the nature of its construction during the Cold War, it is only natural that the Russian Federation be reluctant to the expanding of NATO in the vicinity of its borders. Therefore, Georgia's desire to become a member of the organization may constitute a threat from the Russian perspective. This is also a crucial element in the way in which the ongoing crisis can be diffused. The United States as well as all NATO members must act with care and tact so that we do not close the door on an important ally which is the Georgian Administration. At the same time, the strong partnership between NATO and the Russian Federation must be maintained as it represents an essential bridge in history and political affairs. Indeed, the role Georgia could play in the Alliance is yet to be determined. There are a series of factors to be taken into account. The political will to become a member of NATO and the increased security necessity are not sufficient for undergoing such a long and difficult process. However, given the latest events this year, it is clear that the United States cannot remain silent to the outspoken cries for help from the Georgian side. The latest request for troops to be stationed near the border provides precisely such evidence. Hence, particular attention must be offered to ensure that neither the sensitive issues of Russia's need for its security area, nor Georgia's need for immediate security at its borders are left without a positive result. It is only with particular interest for both sides that this crisis can find a proper resolution.

Another important aspect which triggered the 2011 crisis is the issue of terrorism. The United States considers this matter to be of extreme interest in the light of its war on terror. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the State Department as well as of its subordinate agencies to pay particular attention to this matter. At the moment it is rather difficult to ascertain the legitimacy of Russia's claims as to the actual authors of the Sochi attacks. Given the volatile nature of the situation on the ground and the tense relations between the two sides, the intervention of a third party, such as the U.S., the EU, or other regional organism is crucial. Neither side would accept the arbitration of a biased body. However, one which provides clear evidence of neutrality could become a reliable mediator and would smoothen the way towards an understanding. At all times however, the principles of mediation and negotiation must be in line with the U.S.'s guidelines on antiterrorism actions and democracy.

Finally, an international event which influenced greatly the 2008 crisis, the Kosovo independence is often invoked as a defining element in the ongoing standoff. However, it must be pointed out throughout the mediation and negotiation process that the United States as well as the international community respects and recognizes the integrity and independence of all states throughout the world. At the same time, the right to self-determination is also a protected right. Therefore, the tone of the interventions at the summit, should the case may be, must follow these lines.

The economic consequences of the crisis are of utmost importance for the people living in the two countries. This is not only due to the immediate reactions of the Russian authorities, but rather to the increase concern related to the security of job opportunities for people who chose to work in the neighboring country. There are as well several aspects to take into account.

On the one hand, the Russian Federation, as a result of the current terrorist attacks, has expelled Georgians from the country. This in turn determines every day a massive additional pressure on the work market in Georgia. In the context of a global economic recession, this attitude clearly determines a downfall in the equilibrium of the social life in Georgia. An important number of persons living and working in Russia… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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