Friday, April 07, 2006

Georgia: Instability Prediction

Some people were surprised when, at the annual conference of the Professionals in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Affairs at Georgetown today, I shared an analyst's prediction about possible instability in Georgia and the chance--up to 50 percent--that Mikheil Saakashvili may not end up serving out two full terms in office.

There is a certain naive optimism that colored revolutions create permanent state of affairs, a point that Irving Louis Horowitz, writing in the spring issue of TNI, makes clear is a fallacy. Democratic transitions are always reversible.

The prediction of instability doesn't seem far-fetched. Another massive energy crisis, a successful prison break, blowback from a failed military offensive in South Ossetia or Abkhazia. Or the problem in any super-presidential system where political parties, the parliament and regional authorities are weak--a crisis strikes the president and if there is no adequate means of succession, the state becomes dangerously unstable.

We should be prepared for contingencies like these ...

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