The Trump administration's foreign policy has been, to put it mildly, unpredictable. But when U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited Georgia, both sides strove to pretend that everything was normal.
Pence, the most senior Trump administration official to visit the region, stopped August 1 in Tbilisi on a geopolitically themed trip that also included stops in Estonia and Montenegro. In Georgia, his public remarks repeated longstanding US positions on Georgia: promoting individual liberty; supporting its aspirations to join NATO; and condemning Russian aggression and the “occupation” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two parts of Georgia under the control of Russia-backed unrecognized authorities.
“The strategic partnership between the United States and Georgia is stronger now than ever before,” Pence asserted at a military exercise involving US, Georgian, and other allied troops.
“President Donald Trump sent me here with a simple message for you, and for the people of Georgia: We’re with you. We stand with you,” he said at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.
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Joshua Kucera is the Turkey/Caucasus editor at EurasiaNet.org, and author of The Bug Pit. He is based in Istanbul.