Krist Thodoropoulos – Boston University, International Relations
Major Krist Thodoropoulos has served in the United States Army since 1998. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the United States Military Academy and has served two tours in Iraq. Following graduation this spring, he will work in the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia as a Foreign Area Officer.
Georgia: U.S. support as a force for stability
Georgia has received a great deal of support—political, economic, military– from the United States in the years since the Rose Revolution in 2003. The policy of the United States has been to put Georgia in a spotlight as the most democratic and reform-minded of former Soviet republics. However, in August of 2008, U.S. support waned in response to the brazen decision of President Saakashvili to begin a war to reclaim the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Now, the Georgian government is undergoing a restructuring of their military. Much of this restructuring is funded by U.S. foreign military funding and foreign military sales programs. In light of the 2008 conflict Russia is leery of additional training for the Georgians. Complicating matters is the current participation of Georgian armed forces in Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Marines are training a brigade of Georgians to fight in Afghanistan where they take part in the most hazardous missions. Naturally, Georgia sees their participation in OEF as a way to guarantee continued support from the United States in developing military viability in their homeland against perceived Russian aggression. The policy of the United States should be to support Georgian long-term interests, not marginal short-term interests of the United States at the expense of improving relations with Russia. Our policy should be plainly understood by the Georgians and Russians as mutually beneficial. It is possible to support Georgia in ways that will not aggravate but rather help alleviate tensions in the region.