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Feature Story November 13, 2003
 
Georgia in the Crunch
By Mark Ames Browse author Email
 
Page 5 of 5
 
Washington must have sensed that it was losing control over Georgia and its leadership. In early June -- about 6 weeks before Baker flew to Tblisi to give his famous civics lesson to Shevardnadze -- President Bush sent his top energy advisor, Stephen Mann, to Tblisi to warn him that "Georgia should do nothing that undercuts the powerful promise of an East-West energy corridor." He added, "Support for any competing gas export pipelines at this stage would be destructive for Shah Deniz," a separate U.S.-backed gas pipeline that will travel from Azerbaijan to Turkey via Georgia. In other words, the Americans were losing Georgia, and Bush sent Mann in to warn Shevardnadze not to let it happen. Clearly the US had word of what was going on with Gazprom and RAO-UES. But they were unable to stop it.

Now the menacing appearance by James Baker one month later in Shevardnadze's office, lecturing him about free and fair elections, makes more sense. America was losing Georgia to the Russians. Goodbye Caspian Sea oil, the world's last untapped ocean of fuel. Goodbye NATO bases and forward momentum. Sure, Shevardnadze had done a lot for America in the past -- Baker still talks about their warm personal friendship - but that was then and this was now. One can see the chairman of ExxonMobil saying to Baker, like Jeff Goldblum in Deep Cover, "I know you like Shevardnadze and so do I, but...[sharply wipes right palm of hand over left palm]...he's gotta go." By sending Baker, the Vladimiro Montesinos of the Bush Administration, to tell Shevardnadze to make sure his elections were exactly the kind of elections Baker had denied to his own countrymen, Bush was sending a message: he had declared war on Shevardnadze.

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Ames
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Email Mark Ames at editor@exile.ru.
 
 
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