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POLITICAL ELITES, IDEAS AND FOREIGN POLICY: GEORGIA SINCE ``ROSE REVOLUTION`` International School for Caucasus Studies Ilia State University Project Duration.

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Presentation on theme: "POLITICAL ELITES, IDEAS AND FOREIGN POLICY: GEORGIA SINCE ``ROSE REVOLUTION`` International School for Caucasus Studies Ilia State University Project Duration."— Presentation transcript:

1 POLITICAL ELITES, IDEAS AND FOREIGN POLICY: GEORGIA SINCE ``ROSE REVOLUTION`` International School for Caucasus Studies Ilia State University Project Duration

2 Research Team  Giorgi Gvalia - Research Leader  Zurab Iashvili - Project Manager  Bidzina Lebanidze - Senior Researcher

3 Content  Methodological Foundations and Specific Methods  Main Research Questions  Contending Theoretical Frameworks  Main Research Hypothesis and Alternative Explanations  Empirical Observations  Main Findings and Concluding Remarks  Future Steps

4 Methodology and Specific methods Methodological Approaches Congruence Method Process Tracing Specific Methods: Thematic Content Analysis In-Depth Interviews Analysis of Theoretical and Secondary Sources

5 Research Questions What explains the intensification/change in Georgia’s foreign policy since 2003? How can one account for the continuity in fundamental priorities of Georgia’s foreign policy since the Russia- Georgia ``August War`` ? How can be explained the fact that while Georgia’s foreign policy in was the mixture of balancing and bandwagoning strategies towards Russia, from 2004 Georgia starts to rely only on the strategy of balancing and distancing itself from Russia?

6 Mainstream Theoretical Frameworks  Neorealism - Structural Theory of Security Constraints  Liberalism - Structural Theory of Economic Constraints

7 Neorealism – Theory of External Constraints Major Neorealist Predictions: H 1 - Variations in Small State’s Foreign Policy are conditioned by the variations in its external Security Environment, mainly by the variations in the nature and extent of external threats; H 2 - Small states are more likely to rely on the strategy of bandwagoning with a threatening great power rather than balancing it H 3 - The propensity towards bandwagoning increases if the following conditions are present: H threatening power is much stronger than threatened one H threatening power lies in close proximity H Threatening great power has large offensive military capabilities H Credible balancing Alliances are not viable

8 Liberalism – Theory of External Economic Constraints Major Predictions of Economic Liberalism: H 1 - Economic Dependence Constraints State’s ability to Pursue Pro-independent Foreign Policies; H 2 - Variation in State’s Foreign Policy aims and strategies is the result of the variation in the level of economic dependence on another state H When Economic dependence is high State is more Likely to adopt Pro-Dependency Foreign Policy; H When Economic dependence is low State is more Likely to adopt Pro-Independence Foreign Policy

9 Empirical Observations  Within Case Comparison - Variation in the Value of Dependent Variable  Two cases:  Case 1 - Georgia’s Foreign Policy After the ``Rose Revolution``  Case 2 - Georgia’s Foreign Policy Since the `` August War``

10 Case 1 - Georgia’s Foreign Policy After the Rose Revolution  Intensification of Pro-Western Foreign Policy  Insufficiency of Mainstream Theoretical Approaches - Neorealism and Theory of Economic Dependence None of the mainstream theories could provide satisfactory explanations of intensification/change in Georgia’s foreign policy since the ``Rose Revolution``

11 Why Mainstream Approaches are Flawed? Weaknesses of Neorealism H 1 - Variations in Small State’s Foreign Policy are conditioned by the variations in the nature and extent of external threats  We see no meaningful covariance between the values of independent and dependent variables of interest  Intensification of Pro-Western Foreign Policy in 2004 could not be satisfactorily explained by the variable of External Threat emanating from Russia  The Russian factor (Power and Threat) remained constant through the entire period of Georgia’s sovereign statehood  Major analytical Problem of Neorealist framework - Change in the value of DV (Georgia’s Foreign Policy) could not be explained by the IV (Threat from Russia) that did not undergo any substantive change in its value

12 Why Mainstream Approaches are Flawed? Weaknesses of Theory of Economic Dependence  H 1 - Economic Dependence Constraints State’s ability to Pursue Pro- independent Foreign Policies  H When Economic dependence is high State is more Likely to adopt Pro-Dependency Foreign Policy In 2004 Georgia has intensified to distance itself from Russia despite high levels of economic dependence on its former Metropole

13 How Do We Measure Economic Dependence We use three main indicators for measuring the variable of Economic Dependence 1. Trade Dependence 2. Energy dependence 3. Access to Alternative Markets  Russia - Georgia’s Number One trading partner before 2006 (About 20 percent of its total trade, Source: Statistics.ge)  Russia – Georgia’s major supplier with Strategic Energy Resources (Natural Gas and Electricity)

14 Georgian Export Structure By Countries 2005 statistics.ge

15 Georgian Import Structure By Countries 2005 statistics.ge

16 Dynamics of Trade With Russia – Exports statistics.ge

17 Dynamics of Trade With Russia – Imports statistics.ge

18 Case 2 – Georgia’s Foreign Policy Since ``August War``  Main priority of Georgia’s Foreign Policy - Pro-Western Foreign Policy  Despite changes in its external security environment, we observe no substantive changes in Georgia’s foreign policy aims and priorities  Integration with the West remains the top priority of Georgia’s foreign policy

19 Why are Mainstream Approaches Flawed? Indeterminacy of Neorealism H 2 - Small states are more likely to rely on the strategy of bandwagoning with a threatening great power rather than balancing it H 3 - The propensity towards bandwagoning increases if the following conditions are present: H threatening power is much stronger than threatened one H threatening power lies in close proximity H Threatening great power has large offensive military capabilities H Credible balancing Alliances are not viable

20 Changes in Georgia’s External Security Environment since ``August War`` Objective Indicators Strategic and Military Indicators:  Change in the Military Balance of Power: 1. Russia has deployed offensive weapons, such as Short-range Ballistic Missiles SS-21, which places much of Georgia, including Tbilisi, within reach. 2. It also deployed S-300 air-defense systems in Georgia’s occupied territories, thus covering the air space of all major Georgian airports from the Black sea on the west to country’s eastern borders. 3. Some thousand Russian military forces are stationed in Georgia 4. Russia continues buildup of military infrastructure in occupied territories In strategic and military terms Georgia is clearly in more vulnerable position than it was until the ``August War``

21 Changes in Georgia’s External Security Environment since ``August War`` Objective Indicators Political Indicators:  Internationally Russia managed to reassert its importance and influence in its ``Near Abroad``  Georgia’s chances of joining counterbalancing Alliance (NATO) in the short-term perspective are not promising  Change of administration in the US removed the ``Democracy Promotion`` agenda from the priorities of current US administration

22 Changes in Georgia’s External Security Environment since ``August War`` Perceptions of Relevant Actors Political elite perceives external security environment to be more vulnerable after the ``August War`` than it was before (Source: Draft of the National Security Concept, Public version of Threat Assessment Document, Foreign Policy Strategy, Interviews)

23 Alternative Theoretical Lens is needed – ``Balance of Ideas`` Major Assumptions of ``Balance of Ideas`` H 1. - Foreign Policy is a Socially constructed realm of activity ``Foreign Policy is What States make of it`` H 2. - Elite’s Ideas and Preferences are important factors shaping and influencing state’s foreign Policy choices and strategies H 3. - Variation in State’s foreign policy choices is the result of variation in the elite’s ideas and preferences

24 Balance of Ideas - Theory of Foreign Policy Choice  Foreign Policy is the social in the sense that states relate to one another through shared ideas and these ideas help define who and what states are  Shared Ideas Define the realm of acceptable policy options and direct strategies according to the national interests that are not exogenously given, but instead must be endogenised  ``Balance of Ideas`` is the theory of foreign policy choice, not of foreign policy outcomes  ``Balance of Ideas`` better captures (than Structural/material approaches) the broad dynamics of Georgia’s foreign policy since ``Rose Revolution``. The variables of Political Elites and Shared Ideas explains why Georgia intensified pro- western foreign policy since ``Rose Revolution`` and why it did not alter its main foreign policy directions since the ``August War``

25 How Do We Define Ideas?  Ideas are beliefs held by individuals that affect foreign policy outcomes (Keohane and Goldstein)  We see no intrinsic dichotomy between Terms Ideas and Interests

26 Whose Ideas Matter Most and Why? Our Theory is focused on Political Elites  Nature of Political System  Political and administrative elites are directly involved with the issues related to the foreign and security policy of the country ``Elite attitudes are likely to have much more immediate bearing on state behavior than will those of general public``(Duffield, 1999)  Elites vs. General Public  While we do not totally devalue the role of public opinion, we assume that public opinion at most sets the bounds of what is acceptable, while elite opinion is of utmost importance in shaping and defining foreign policy agenda and strategies

27 What Type of Ideas Matter? We distinguish between two types of ideas: 1. Ideas Related to State’s Purpose – These type of ideas concern the country’s identity, its national values, its international status and national interests; 2. Strategic Ideas or Causal Beliefs – These type of ideas help determine which of the many instruments will be used to achieve the desired goals

28 How Do Ideas Matter? Ideas can influence Policy in three primary ways: 1. Ideas can serve as road maps – They can influence an actor’s perception of external environment, framing and definition of situation, interpretations of outcomes after the fact 2. Ideas can narrow the range of available policy options and ensure constancy in policy despite some changes in material conditions 3. Ideas can ensure path-dependency in policy as past decisions can limit the possibilities of current policy

29 Content of Georgia’s Foreign Policy Ideas: Identity, National Interests and Strategy On the basis of the conducted Content Analysis three broad foreign policy discourses/paradigms could be discerned 1. European Discourse (Identity) - Georgia is a European country, not the Post-Soviet State 2. Modernization Discourse (National Interest) - Most important post-revolutionary project is the modernization of the country and the building of a strong state, that will have no links, except history, with the failed state that Georgia experienced during 1990’s 3. Strategic Discourse (Strategy) - Realization of National Interests is possible only through the close association and integration with European and Euro-Atlantic political-military institutions such as NATO and EU

30 Excerpts Describing Main Foreign Policy Paradigms  ``This is not, of course, a new path for Georgia, but rather a return to our European home and our European vocation-which is so deeply enshrined in our national identity and history`` (President of Georgia)  The bandwagoning with Russia is not an alternative for Georgia, not because that if Georgia goes back to Russian sphere of influence it will cease to exist as a state… no! Georgia will still be a ``sovereign`` state, it will still have a formal seat in the UN, but the main issue is not this. The main and fundamental issue is that bandwagoning with Russia means Georgia of 1990’s, when it was failed, corrupt and criminal state with no hopes of ever becoming normal, modern and European state…`` (Interview with high level policy-maker)  ``The ultimate aim is the modernization of the country and the society. What we do then internationally is determined by this aim. This is why it becomes impossible to be with Russia…`` (Interview with the Chairman of the Committee for European Integration, Parliament of Georgia )

31 Concluding Remarks  ``Balance of Ideas`` which incorporates the variables of Political Elites and Ideas is superior theoretical framework for explaining and understanding broad dynamics of change and continuity in Georgia’s Foreign Policy  While we agree that the ``third image`` and materialistic theories are important parts of any story about the foreign policy of Georgia and about small states generally, we contend that these approaches are not sufficient.

32 Future Steps  Increasing the number of cases  Increasing the number of alternative explanations

33 Thank You!


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