In an article titled “Thinking Outside the Bloc: Explaining the Foreign Policies of Small States,” Gvalia et al. attempt to explain away the abnormality of Georgian action as against the supposition that small states are limited to bandwagoning. They argue that Georgia balanced against Russia due to elitist nationalist and Western ideology that constructed Georgian foreign policy after the Rose Revolution (Gvalia et al. 2013, 99). Ideas about identity and the purpose of the state combined to form Georgian reaction to the breakaway regions of South Ossetia, despite their deep economic relationship with, and close proximity to, Russia at the time (Ibid., 100). They did so because “The European idea is based on the long-term development of the country. If we are with the West, Georgia will mature as a state and society” (Ibid., 113). This Westward movement for development’s sake led Russia to support separatist movements in Abkhazia and South Ossetia as a way to counter Georgian foreign policy. All this occurred as Georgia’s economic dependence on Russia increased between 2003 and 2006, even during the Rose Revolution. What does all this mean? More importantly, was Georgian military action in 2008 simply an effort to retake Georgian lands, depending on Western support to counter Russian responses, given their simultaneous relationship with these two rivals?
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