Turkish Soft Power Invades Georgia as Washington Contains Russia
The recent anti-Russian protests in Tbilisi that seemingly exploded out of nowhere caused a lot of shock and raised many questions in Russian society: Why would Georgians offend the only country with the money and desire to actually visit as tourists? Why is Russia to blame for the 2008 war when Saakashvili’s actions were the only cause? Why is everyone suddenly so angry at “Russian occupation” now? But most importantly, who benefits from fueling this kind of irrational street Russophobia? The answer to that last question is obviously Washington but in the case of today’s Georgia there may be a runner-up prize when it comes to pushing Moscow’s influence out of its former territory. Here’s a hint, Russia shouldn’t get too excited about selling all those s-400s to Erdogan as the greatest step to destroying NATO in modern history.
Generally speaking anything that is bad for Russia is good for the status quo in Washington. Every dead Russian-speaker in the Donbass, every country that sees its nationalism squarely rooted in anti-Russianism, and every vassal leader that stays elected thanks to Russophobia is like another huge coil of barbed wire keeping Russia from ever expanding back into greatness. After all, one of the key goals of the Project for a New American Century was to “deter (the) rise of new great-power competitor” and backing racism against Russians and making Moscow lose “hearts and minds” on a daily basis is sure a great way of accomplishing this goal without bringing on a nuclear winter.
Russia, despite having a near monopoly on the intellectual weapons needed to combat the global ideological status quo from Washington is using them rather poorly and is at best at a stalemate in the spiritual fight for much of its former territory and spheres of influence. But just because Russia and America are at arms propaganda wise loudly in the media does not exclude a third party from sneaking in from the flank.
In an interview for the “Federal News Agency” former Georgian Parliament member and political analyst Gamlet Chipashvili declared that it is actually the Turks who are moving into Georgian territory unprovoked using good ole soft power techniques like allowing naive youths the chance to study in Turkey and trying to push for religious conversions of locals. Chipashvili is quoted in the FNA interview as saying…
“Turkey has de facto taken Adjara (Adzharia) from us in both religious and economic terms…”
“Tens of religious Islamic organizations, which are financed by Turkey have been functioning in Adjara for a long time. The main goal of their politics is to maximize the number of locals towards Islam (that they can). Representatives of these organizations take hundreds of young men and women to Turkish Madrasas for education. Then they return to their motherland and start to propagandize Islam. In essence this is one of the fundamental strategies of restoring the Ottoman Empire.
This restoration is at times publically brought up by one of its main ideologues, the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.”
Turkey has also been accused of being expansionist in the same way throughout Central Asia trying to convince locals that because of some lingual similarities they are far closer to Istanbul than Moscow. They have also made more direct physical pushes into neighboring nations like Syria and Iraq and a few more on minor terms, meaning that even if Mr. Chipashvili is exaggerating, his conspiracy theory is at least very plausible.
So at this moment in history the ancient nation of Georgia finds itself being pulled in three possible directions.
- Former countrymen in ineffective but familiar Russia.
- Washington’s global Democracy that thinks their national capital is Atlanta.
- Ottoman Empire 2.0 that seems them as the next “Armenians”.
A naive person reading this would probably spout that “every people has a right to self determination” and that the Georgians are an independent nation that is standing on its own. That sounds nice, and is pleasant to Western moral norms of people who are ignorant to the way geopolitics work, but tiny helpless nations become vassals, satellites or get more directly absorbed into greater ones. Like it or not that is the nature of things and a truly independent Georgia is unlikely to come into existence or be feasible as a strategy going forward. They lack the manpower, economics, and geography to do so. This is no insult or he Georgian people it is just a reality that cannot be ignored.
And thus Georgia faces itself with a tough choice of with whom they should side…
Submission to the New Ottomans
The Turks are not known for their tolerance and if Georgians want to remain Georgian at all then Turkey is not the best choice for an overlord as they put down hard linguistic and religious pressure over territory they control. Turkey only recognizes a few ethnic minorities in the country (Armenians, Greeks, Jews) but this is only so because they were forced to after losing WWI. Georgians, especially as Christians would be phased out of any real significance as an ethnicity under Turkish control.
Turkey is stable and in many ways on the rise economically and population wise (in contrast to dying neighbor Europe) and there would be some value in joining a winning team but joining that team requires massive fundamental changes beyond simply switching uniforms. If Georgians actually care about their national identity surviving into the future then Turkey must be resisted at all costs. Many nations on Earth right now are terrified for the future of their cultures as globalization and depopulation wears away at them… the Turks are not on this list and should be commended for this success.
Washington Maintains Power
Bowing down to the global hegemon is easy and with the exception of Saakashvili’s bumbling it has worked out okay enough in the public’s eyes. Things look at smell more “Democratic” and “European” across the country providing a feeling of success and many Russians with Liberal leanings praise Georgia for doing the Westernization that they cannot.
It must be noted though that places under the greatest influence from Washington almost unanimously have dying-out native populations. Liberalism + Consumerism + Post Christian Society = Extinction.
Obeying Washington is a great way to keep your head on your shoulders in the short term but it doesn’t seem to offer much of a future on a mental/spiritual level. Consumerism and Liberalism keep people pacified but it also keeps people from desiring to build any sort of future or make any sacrifices for anything other than themselves.
So with Washington, at least you will have nice stuff and no war, that the Beltway can guarantee you for sure. Liberalism will not forbid Georgian culture (unlike a New Ottoman movement) in Georgia which is very good, it will however continue to pump their society with the individualistic consumerism needed for them to wilfully forget it. Washington is a short term win, long term loss.
Back to the Unappealing Russian Fold
No powerful country is worse at selling itself to “consumers” than Russia. With its religious, linguistic, historical and business ties to Georgia over the centuries (and saving them from being wiped out by their Islamic neighbors) it should be impossible to think that Georgians wouldn’t want to side with Russia. But Russia’s bumbling nature as the country that can win any war but can’t make a single successful movie shines brightly in this situation.
Many in Russia are baffled why trendy urbanite Georgians call them “occupiers” and yet want them to still come visit as tourists. This is a reflection of the double-think caused by generations of positive cohabitation with Russia vs. The Hollywood Effect.
Georgia protesting against Russians for Washington is the equivalent of Canadians protesting against Americans for Moscow and yet it is happening, due to Russia’s complete ineptitude of message sending. The Russophobic insanity happening in Eastern Europe should be impossible and yet it is thriving.
Georgians under a Russian bear paw can maintain their culture and religion (as they have for centuries) and freely reject Washington’s bizarre demands like allowing gay parades and open borders. Russians are also able to find Georgia on a map and have eaten khachapuri. Going back home to Russia makes the most sense culturally, economically Russia is nowhere near as juicy as the West, but then again Russia wants to trade with Georgia and the West doesn’t want or need to. The key problem is that Russia makes itself look far less appealing than Washington and until it can resolve this it will still be an “occupier” and non-viable choice as the dominant force over Georgia.
By Tim Kirby
Source: Strategic Culture