U.S. Foreign Policy and Georgia's Rose Revolution
Lincoln A. Mitchell
"Essential reading."—Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia
"Mitchell has a keen understanding of Georgian politics, the country's major actors, and the broader regional and historical context in which Georgian politics takes place. This book is particularly valuable because of its discussion of the role of the United States and the West more broadly in democratic development. Although some may not agree with Mitchell's conclusions, Uncertain Democracy is essential reading for understanding Georgia, the former Soviet Union, and democratic transitions more generally."—Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia
"Uncertain Democracy is a skillful, original account of highly important political events, with many implications for U.S. foreign policy. Lincoln Mitchell nicely fuses his insider's perspective with an outsider's balance."—Thomas Carothers, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
"Proponents and critics of democracy promotion have cherry-picked Georgia's 'Rose Revolution' to find what they want to see. In Uncertain Democracy, Lincoln Mitchell provides a full portrait of the events that began the first color revolution and shows the gap between rhetoric and reality. Based on his assessment of what has and has not worked in postrevolution Georgia, he shows how the objective of constructing democracies in other countries can be integrated into U.S. foreign policy."—Nikolas Gvosdev, editor, The National Interest
In November of 2003, a stolen election in the former Soviet republic of Georgia led to protests and the eventual resignation of President Eduard Shevardnadze. Shevardnadze was replaced by a democratically elected government led by President Mikheil Saakashvili, who pledged to rebuild Georgia, orient it toward the West, and develop a European-style democracy. Known as the Rose Revolution, this early twenty-first-century democratic movement was only one of the so-called color revolutions (Orange in Ukraine, Tulip in Kyrgyzstan, and Cedar in Lebanon). What made democratic revolution in Georgia thrive when so many similar movements in the early part of the decade dissolved?
Lincoln A. Mitchell witnessed the Rose Revolution firsthand, even playing a role in its manifestation by working closely with key Georgian actors who brought about change. In Uncertain Democracy, Mitchell recounts the events that led to the overthrow of Shevardnadze and analyzes the factors that contributed to the staying power of the new regime. The book also explores the modest but indispensable role of the United States in contributing to the Rose Revolution and Georgia's failure to live up to its democratic promise.
Uncertain Democracy is the first scholarly examination of Georgia's recent political past. Drawing upon primary sources, secondary documents, and his own NGO experience, Mitchell presents a compelling case study of the effect of U.S. policy of promoting democracy abroad.
Lincoln A. Mitchell teaches in the Practice of International Politics at Columbia University. He served as chief of party for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Georgia in 2002-4.