Azerbaijan and U.S. interests in the South Caucasus twenty years after independence

The author evaluates U.S. interests in the South Caucasus, via three broad and interrelated categories: security, energy, and democracy. These strategic interests shape U.S. foreign policy toward the region. Despite numerous strategic concerns, the South Caucasus is generally perceived as a secondary consideration for U.S. interests. The author argues that today, strong, independent, pro-Western states in the South Caucasus serve to contain the expansionary anti-American regimes in Russia and Iran, enable the secure passage of energy resources from the Caspian to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean via Turkey, and encourage the expansion of democratic and free-market principles and institutions across Eurasia. Furthermore, the author presents his concerns, namely the “neorealism” of the Obama administration. It will take time, he argues, before the White House recognizes that this policy does not bear the desired fruit; in this matter the paper includes a number of recommendations to the U.S. government for the protection of U.S. interests regarding security, energy, and democracy in the South Caucasus.

Authors: Ariel Cohen