In 2004, Mikheil Saakashvili was elected president in Georgia, committing to a foreign policy that would ostensibly make his country a leading example of reform and democratization in the post-Soviet space, and net-contributor to Euro-Atlantic security. Throughout its time in power and until its defeat in Georgia's 2012 parliamentary elections, the Saakashbili government remained steadfast in its commitment to establishing these international roles for Georgia, despite developments in both the country's international and domestic contexts that could plausibly have made these roles and the foreign policy decisions deriving from them, redundant.
This dissertation explored the relationship between national role conceptions (NRCs) and foriegn policy stability. Georgia's NRCs as a Beacon of Liberty and Net-Security Contributor, evolving specifically in the relationship between the Georgian and U.S. governments during these years were subjected to serious challenges, particularly relating to two crises ensuing over the November 2007 riots in Tbilisi and the August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia. In both cases, the Georgian government faced conflicting imperatives emanating for its own role conceptions, the expectations voiced by its U.S. counterparts, and the immediate demands of crisis decision making