Executive Summary

From a western perspective, the Caucasus is far more important than its size alone would certainly suggest. Its significance to the joined States and Europe lies in its critical geographical location. The strategic prestige derives from its ar at the point of intersection between the an essential Eurasian strength of Russia, Iran and also Turkey, and its central role in the burgeoning east-west deliver corridor connecting Europe to main Asia and also beyond. The Caucasus is therefore an essential to any kind of Western initiatives to form future interactions in between Europe and also the center East, and to west commercial and strategic access to and also from the heart of the Eurasian continent. In ~ a time as soon as the two most salient obstacles to the transatlantic alliance are Russia’s wild expansionism and the Islamic radical emanating indigenous the middle East, the Caucasus is a strategically important pressure point in both directions: a bulwark versus both Moscow and also the Islamic radicalism of the middle East. The Iranian theocracy’s ongoing efforts to broaden its affect from Syria come Yemen, and the cultivation anti-Western authoritarianism with Islamist underpinnings in Turkey, more enhance the importance of this role.

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These considerations alone need to dictate a farming American and European engagement through the claims of the Caucasus, yet this has actually not occurred. Rather the contrary, Western influence in the region is at an all-time low. As Western influence has declined, and also partly together a an effect of it, the region’s breakthrough has stagnated. This stagnation is obvious in locations as diverse as security, energy, governance, and human rights. Meanwhile, brand-new challenges to the region’s security and development have multiplied and strengthened, threaten its permanent viability and eroding crucial Western interests.

This case is the an outcome of a absence of strategic vision in the West and also to a series of tactical errors. At the main point of western shortcomings in the Caucasus are severe flaws in the analysis lenses with which leaders and experts perceive events in the region:

A failure to grasp the transforming nature and importance of the ar unresolved conflicts, particularly their revolution into key components of Russian geopolitical maneuvers.A fail to master the nature of local politics, succumbing too frequently to a simplistic schema the “government matches opposition,” as soon as the real and relevant political divides have actually been same within every of this groups.A fail to understand the inter-connection between security and democratic development, in details the powerful negative effects the a worsened security situation on the future for interior political reform.

Compounding these analytical errors, several determinants of a strategy nature have added to the West’s fail in the Caucasus.

The failure to adopt a local approach come the Caucasus, concentrating instead top top bilateral relationships; and also subordinating these to the West’s ties through various regional powers.The failure to coordinate successfully legitimate understand in varied areas, an especially between security and governance.The failure to grasp dynamic alters in the more comprehensive geopolitical environment, specifically internal alters in Russia and Turkey, i m sorry should boost the potential duty of the Caucasus in western policy.

Western policymakers have additionally made serious mistakes that room operational in nature:

Insufficient coordination in between relevant governmental organ in Western capitals and across the Atlantic.The assignment that the Caucasus and main Asia to different organizational entities in ~ Western federal governments has led to the ignore of Trans-Caspian connections.The will to finger-pointing and hectoring in the promo of democracy and also human rights has been deep ineffective, alienating governments rather than affecting them.

To remedy this situation, this paper calls for a brand-new strategy toward the Caucasus. This strategy have to rest on the adhering to analytical components:

All policies toward the Caucasus must be rooted in a regional rather than purely bilateral approach.Policies must be engineered in acknowledgment of the diverse forms of western interests in the region and should take into account the methods in which this interests interact with one one more on the ground.Western powers must re-engage the region in the area the sovereignty and also security, which will certainly do more than anything else to pave the method for progress in other areas.The West cannot expect progression on governance and human rights without a clear commitment to security issues; conversely, the states of the Caucasus cannot expect Western assistance for their security without a commitment to governance and also human rights.

On this basis, the document offers the adhering to proposals because that a brand-new Western strategy to the region:

Increase rhetorical and concrete assistance for the sovereignty, independence, and also territorial truth of all 3 of the local states.Develop a considerable and sustained Western to plan on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, including strong U.S. Government leadership indigenous the peak level and a willingness come bypass, if necessary, the Minsk process.Increase collaboration in defense and also security.Provide Armenia a strategic alternate to the Eurasian Union.Seek ways to anchor Azerbaijan in the EU’s eastern Partnership.Adapt policies to boost governance and human legal rights to transforming realities, consisting of greater emphasis on enhancing effectiveness and also accountability ~ above the component of governments.Support the trans-Caucasus carry corridor together a “Land Suez” connecting Europe with both India and also China, focusing particularly on the role of businesses and also of soft infrastructure.

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Improve and clarify intra-agency, inter-agency, and also transatlantic coordination on concerns relating come the Caucasus.