Georgia appears to be planning to add at least 625 additional soldiers to the 925 it already has in Afghanistan, according to a statement from the White House. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili yesterday in Rome, and according to the official White House account of the meeting, "The Vice President expressed his appreciation to President Saakashvili for Georgia's significant new contribution of forces to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, which will make Georgia the largest non-NATO contributor to ISAF."
Civil.ge does the math, and finds that the top current non-NATO contributor is Australia, with 1,550 troops. So that presumably means that Georgia is planning to top that:
It means that Georgia, which currently has 925 soldiers in Afghanistan, most of them stationed in Helmand province, has to send additional more than 625 servicemen to exceed Australian troop number and to become the largest non-NATO contributor to the ISAF mission.
There's really not much to be said about Saakashvili's devotion to the West and its security organizations that hasn't already been said. But in a terrific analysis of the U.S.-Russia reset in The Nation, Stephen Cohen provides some useful context. In particular, he notes the blatant hypocrisy in Biden and Saakashvili's respective description of the "sphere of influence" in Georgia:
Still more, expanding NATO eastward has institutionalized a new and even larger geopolitical conflict with Russia. Moscow’s protests and countersteps against NATO encroachment, especially Medvedev’s statement in 2008 that Russia is entitled to a “sphere of strategic interests” in the former Soviet republics, have been indignantly denounced by American officials and commentators as “Russia’s determination to re-establish a sphere of influence in neighboring countries.” Thus, Biden stated in Moscow in March, “We will not recognize any state having a sphere of influence.”
But what is NATO’s eastward movement other than a vast expansion of America’s sphere of influence—military, political and economic—into what had previously been Russia’s? No US official or mainstream commentator will admit as much, but Saakashvili, the Georgian leader bent on joining the alliance, feels no such constraint. In 2010, he welcomed the growth of “NATO’s presence in the region” because it enables the United States and its allies to “expand their sphere of influence.” Of all the several double standards in US policy-making—“hypocrisy,” Moscow charges—none has done more to prevent an American-Russian partnership and to provoke a new cold war.
The entire article is worth a read for anyone interested in U.S.-Russia relations -- and it makes the case that even if you're not interested, you should be. And it's a sobering discussion of the unintended consequences of this sort of cooperation.