John Kerry kicks off a series of meetings today for the U.S. with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. Later in the week President Obama and Vice President Biden will also take meetings with the Georgian Prime Minister.
See the Department of State press release here:
The timing of this meeting is very interesting but not at all surprising. Washington is looking to capitalize on the Ukrainian success and push on other countries in Russia's near abroad. You can bet that western backed pro democracy NGO's (the thorn in Putin's side) will be a major topic of discussion. Leveraging their gains in Ukraine will be critical in these early stages.
Look for more of these higher level meetings to take place elsewhere in Russia's periphery. Belarus and Moldova are sure to see similar treatment. Turning up the heat on Moscow appears to be in full swing for the Obama Administration. It's not surprising seeing as how aggressive Russia has been lately in the Middle East.
Keep an eye on how Russia responds. A good case can made that Russia was pushed to invade Georgia back in 2008 as a response to these populist uprisings. Putin feared the epidemic within his own borders and felt he had to make a statement. Invading Georgia showed the region that Washington couldn't protect them. Now in Ukraine the appearance is that Russia could not intervene to stop the populist uprisings. How will Moscow respond this time?