U.S. Intentions in the South Caucasus
The foreign policy of the United States is going through a period of paradoxes when the “generally recognized reality”, i.e. the limitation of interests of the Americans in foreign policy and being increasingly confined to its economic and social problems, as well as cutting of the defense budget is combined with development of new systems of arms, defense and security.
The United States is carefully observing and taking into account the interests and threats of its traditional and potential partners, drawing their attention to implementation of different services in the functioning of the global system of security. The United States no longer requires participation of different countries in its plans if they do not give them a chance but at the same time they do not hurry to promise them more than they can do.
The good old conservative “real politics” is acquiring a somewhat different meaning, and a lot of countries have experienced this as never before. The “golden age” of the American intervention in all the problems is over, and apparently forever. Nevertheless, many millions of people in Europe and Asia, holding a critical position on this policy of the United States remember the “golden age” with regret growing into cautiousness.
The United States has assigned Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean region to the European Union with unprecedented solidarity on the prospects of these two regions. The main achievement of the United States in regard to Eastern Europe is the distance between Europe and Russia when the Europeans resolve their economic and political issues, as well as the security issues without Russia and even, to some extent, with delicate alienation of Russia.
In this sense, one of the results of the global economic crisis was Russia’s isolation. Even in those regions where Russia is on the front of political events, its participation, which is indicative, is becoming part of the game of the Western community (such as in Syria).
The United States and the European Union, as well as NATO, are transforming their intentions relating to the South Caucasus, considering the transition from the state of an operational model to a more stationary model as part of the security “belt” and participant of the European security system.
Apparently, aside from foreign formatting regional formatting took place too. This project has been revised for many times but there was a practical confirmation of what has been seen as a more or less acceptable version. Short-term goals are being considered aside from long-term plans.
The situation in Georgia and Armenia is almost perfect for the United States. Some entourage of democracy has been built, more or less bearable elections are held. The situation in Georgia is more than acceptable, in other words, a two-party situation has occurred in the country or rather a two-clan system when it is possible to normalize the internal relations and the relations with the Western community without much trouble.
Saakashvili intends to prove to the Americans that Ivanishvili’s policy will result in a limitation for the relations with the West and increase of Russia’s influence. Apparently, it has succeeded but this does not mean that the United States will take decisive steps.
For the time being, the West is calm and understands that fundamental conditions for foreign policy have been created in Georgia which envisages a small but not vassal country. Neither the United States, nor Europe intends to initiate the review of the issues of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Nevertheless, Russia got a chance to enlarge its influence and presence in Georgia but to a certain extent. Some influential American experts advise the high-ranking Georgian functionaries to “use all their talents to demonstrate to the Russians the favorable prospects in Georgia”.
B. Ivanishvili will prove that he is less dependent than they claim the Americans are ready to help him. The Americans like a lot in the Americans, including delicate nuances in his views on Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Of course, the Americans gave up on M. Saakashvili and would like to convince B. Ivanishvili on this backdated. An old American expert on Soviet studies said everything is perfect with Georgia to the point of doubts that it will fail. It is clear that less active, or rather minimum active goals have been assigned to Georgia.
Armenia arouses a big interest in Washington, and to a greater extent than Georgia currently because a geopolitical novelty is in place – a devoted partner of Russia is trying to take part in other games.
Of course, this is not about the distance between Armenia and Russia, the problem is in the creation of a “neutral zone” in the South Caucasus which would have a chance to carry on its geopolitical functions but already in line with the interests of not only Russia and Iran but also the United States and NATO.
The United States is not interested in spoiling relations between Armenia and Russia. Nevertheless, the supply of Russian weapons to Azerbaijan is a factor for the United States to push Armenia in the Western direction.
No doubt the United States views Armenia as a “subject platform” of a network nation which must be in the sphere of its influence. As an anti-Russian or anti-Iranian factor, Armenia does not interest the Americans, it is simply stupid, at least two problems are resolved: the containment of Turkish expansion and the balance of forces in the South Caucasus and the solution of the tasks of the Euro-Atlantic security in a broader scope.
The Armenian community did not demonstrate ability to put forth alternatives, and the United States and the West cannot expect endless “democratization”, there is an opportunity for a loyal and motivated behavior, and this should be used. While earlier Armenia had a chance, now there is a real possibility.
The ruling regime in Azerbaijan definitely causes concerns in the United States and Europe from many points of view the regime meets the goals, remains a loyal partner to the United States, Israel and the United Kingdom.
The Americans do not put forth unrealistic goals, including achievement of greater distance between Azerbaijan and Turkey, limiting relations with Russia, radical steps towards democratization.
I. Aliyev’s regime, maintaining close relations with Turkey, nevertheless includes people not from Ankara and London but with close participation of Israel.
Geostrategic functions have been assigned to Azerbaijan which it fulfills with discipline, there is no need to expect more (the importance of oil is decreasing but the role of a transit base remains).
Hence, currently the United States has chosen a comprehensible tactics why hurry if everything happens without much effort, and there is a possibility for a strategic break.
In this transition stage the European Union fulfills the goal of a key operator and economic and political sponsor in the South Caucasus. But what are the intentions of the United States in a more long-term perspective? Do they exist?