In a sharp reversal from Georgia's earlier optimism, some Georgian analysts now believe that the November 7 protest crackdown in Tbilisi has marred if not shattered the South Caucasus state's chances for accelerated integration into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Georgia had hoped to receive a Membership Action Plan (MAP), the last step for applicant countries before completing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) membership process, during the alliance's April 2008 Bucharest summit. Senior diplomats from the United States, the country's closest Western ally, now stress the January 2008 presidential elections are the key test for whether Georgian democracy is back on track to reach that step. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
Georgian analysts, however, take a dimmer view. "Today, receiving the MAP in Bucharest is practically unrealistic for Georgia," said Giga Burduli, the country's former permanent representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other international organizations in Vienna.
"When you call bludgeoning people at a rally
Nina Akhmeteli is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi.