The U.S., which does not recognize Abkhazia’s independence, said the commitment undermined prior pledges from Moscow to remove its troops from the territory of the former Soviet republic.
Speaking at a security conference in Europe on Saturday, Mr. Biden emphasized a change in tone sought by the Obama foreign policy team.
“I come to Europe on behalf of a new administration determined to set a new tone not only in Washington, but in America’s relations around the world,” he told the conference in Munich.
Mr. Biden did not answer directly when asked whether the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, would support Georgia’s bid to join NATO.
Mr. Biden said in his speech that the administration was looking to “press the reset button” and cooperate with Russia where possible.
In contrast, the announcement last week that Kyrgyzstan was ejecting U.S. forces has, according to Pentagon and State Department officials, sparked a frenzied bidding war in an effort to buy back the leasing rights to Manas.
Any substantive policy changes toward Pakistan are awaiting the outcome of a trip to the region this week by Mr. Obama’s representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard C. Holbrooke, as well as a strategic review by Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander of U.S. Central Command.
Beyond testing a new U.S. administration, there are ample domestic reasons for the recent actions. Mr. Khan, for example, is regarded as a hero in Pakistan, and restrictions on his movement have long been unpopular.
However, Mr. Mead said the Pakistanis may have freed Mr. Khan in part to show displeasure about the Obama administration’s decision to remove the Kashmir dispute from Mr. Holbrooke’s portfolio. Pakistan claims the Muslim-majority region, which India has largely controlled for 60 years.
“It would not be a surprise if this was a response to the attempt of the new administration to put Kashmir on a different track of U.S.-Pakistan relations,” Mr. Mead said.
In some ways, the Iranian satellite launch was the biggest rebuke for Mr. Obama, who on the campaign trail promised to begin constructive engagement with Iran in an effort to get the Islamic republic to suspend its uranium enrichment program.
At the same time, the launch had a domestic motivation.This month marks the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution, and the Iranian regime would like to divert attention from domestic problems, especially a poor economy.
Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said the Obama administration needs to address “a perception of American weakness.”
“What in Washington, Paris and London is seen as likability, in Tehran, Pyongyang and Islamabad is seen as fatal weakness,” she said, and U.S. adversaries “have been quick, quicker than many imagined to take advantage.”
Aaron David Miller, a former U.S. Middle East peace negotiator, said that the recent pokes and prods reflect the decline in U.S. influence abroad more than a frontal challenge to U.S. power.