POLITICO’s Philip Ewing, who’s traveling with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in Georgia, sends us his latest dispatch:
GEORGIA ON SECDEF’S MIND: Hagel has added another nation to the “coalition of the willing and the capable” that the U.S. is building to take on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — Georgia. The country’s president, prime minister and defense minister all told Hagel — and, in some cases, reporters — they’re ready to roll if and when President Barack Obama picks up the red phone, because they have a dog in this fight.
“A common concern highlighted in the secretary's meeting with the president — and earlier in the day with the prime minister — was the very real problem of foreign fighters flowing into Syria to join various extremist groups and the threat those fighters represent to their homelands,” the Pentagon said in describing Hagel’s meetings. But Georgia’s defense minister, Irakli Alasania, claimed the sound bite of the day.
“We fully support what the United States is doing to eradicate these barbarians,” he said at a presser with Hagel.