The attempt of the Georgian government to reform and restructure its military forces in the past ten years demonstrates the difficulty of conducting Western-style defense reform in postconflict states, which have not seen a formal end to armed conflict. Western-style reforms were intended to bring Georgia greater peace, stability, and accountability, with the added benefit of training additional soldiers to support regional peacekeeping operations. Domestic political imperatives within Georgia, however, demanded that the government restore the territorial integrity of the state by “reintegrating” South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Adjara. In this context, additional organizational and doctrinal interoperability of Georgian forces was desirable, but only to the extent that it enabled Georgian forces to meet these primary domestic political requirements. For Georgia, a country with a weak military tradition and unresolved domestic conflicts causing political controversy at home, military reform was not just an abstract step toward democracy but a potential means to an end of resolving those same conflicts by force or threat of force.
Research Article| September 01 2009
Geoffrey Wright; Defense Reform and the Caucasus: Challenges of Institutional Reform During Unresolved Conflict. Mediterranean Quarterly 1 September 2009; 20 (3): 19–39. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10474552-2009-012
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