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Don't blame Georgia

May 10, 2008

Re "Trouble in Georgia," editorial, May 5

Your evenhandedness in assessing the Georgia-Russia dispute is unwarranted. As you note, Russia is retaliating against Georgia for the latter's impudence in seeking to join NATO. But Georgia is not "fighting dirty." Stalling Russia's World Trade Organization accession is a perfectly legitimate tactic, as Russia frequently uses trade as a weapon against its neighbors; Georgia has no desire to forever bar Russia's entry.

And Georgia is neither "heavy-handed ... in Abkhazia" (of which it controls only a tiny sliver) nor does it require pressure from Washington to seek reconciliation. Tbilisi recently put forward a comprehensive conflict-settlement proposal that would guarantee Abkhazia almost complete autonomy and a vice presidential position as well as a joint free-economic zone.

Jonathan Kulick

Tbilisi, Georgia

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The writer is director of studies of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies.

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