German Chancellor Angela Merkel was quite skeptical about the performance of President Saakashvili in the initial stages of the war in Georgia, but there are some signs he is winning over European leaders. The Georgian president has portrayed himself as a “victim,” as the fighting leader of democracy against the evil brutal Prime Minister Putin of Russia and as a hero to all Europeans. He insists all European leaders who visited him like President Sarkozy of France or Chancellor Merkel of Germany “all perfectly understand the situation here.” Is his evaluation an accurate one?
Chancellor Merkel followed events on CNN and other TV channels and her initial reaction was Saakashvili had blundered by attacking South Ossetia and that he was an impulsive man who took bold risks that were out of place in modern times. However, once Russian troops entered the war, her attitude changed. She flew to Georgia and was soon photographed with the president and uttered warm words of support. Somehow, Saakashvili used his charm or his intelligence to win over the German chancellor who has no become a leading advocate of Georgia membership in NATO.
In the end, Chancellor Merkel is supporting Georgia’s membership in NATO but not until the nation is a true democracy and he agrees to behave more rationally and avoid future war actions in the region.