Yes!  To me the answer is simple, but there is actually quite a lot of debate over exactly what continent Georgia is on, and exactly where Europe is located.  Most people have decided on the convention that there is a geographic place where Europe ends and Asia begins, but where exactly that is is open to debate.  (Ask my classmates from grad school.  We’ve had those debates. Repeatedly).  The New York Times recently ran an article discussing the changing borders of Europe and the changing concept of what Europe means.

From worldatlas.com

The general consensus seems to be that the divider between Europe and Asia is the Urals–but they don’t reach far enough South to be helpful with determining Georgia’s location.  Geographically, the Caucasus mountains are the Southern border of Europe–in fact, the highest point in Europe is Mt. Elbrus which is right next to Georgia.  This division very helpfully puts PART of Georgia in Europe.  Georgia is not a very big country, so dividing it between two continents seems even sillier than it does in the case of Russia.

My argument that Georgia IS Europe has three main facets: process of elimination, history, and self-determination.  Process of elimination–Georgia is clearly not located in North America, South America, Antarctica or Australia.  Looking a little closer–Africa: no, Asia: eh…this really leaves us with Europe.  Historically, Georgia has been part of the European sphere of influence–it was part of the Ancient Greek world (with beautiful murals in Dzalisi to show for it), and in recent history has been under the control of Moscow, both of which are European (Yes, I am aware there are also Turkish and Persian influences).  Moreover, Georgia is a Christian country, one of the oldest, in fact, and Christianity is one of the major cultural markers of “Europeanism”.  Ultimately, though, what tips the scales for me is this: Georgians consider themselves European.  You can make a reasonable argument for Georgia’s location in either Asia or Europe, and since both arguments are legitimate I think we need to defer to the principle of self-determination and allow Georgians to lean towards Europe if that is how they feel.  Georgia is not currently a part of the political construction of Europe–the European Union or even NATO–but they have been working towards integration into both of these structures, a sure sign of self-determined Europeanness.  As many articles about EU politics remind us–”Europe is a state of mind.”

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