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Executive Summary

From a west perspective, the Caucasus is far an ext important 보다 its size alone would suggest. Its definition to the united States and Europe lies in its vital geographical location. That strategic prestige derives indigenous its location at the point of intersection between the vital Eurasian strength of Russia, Iran and also Turkey, and its main role in the burgeoning east-west transfer corridor connecting Europe to central Asia and also beyond. The Caucasus is therefore vital to any kind of Western initiatives to form future interactions in between Europe and the middle East, and to western commercial and also strategic access to and from the love of the Eurasian continent. At a time when the two most salient difficulties to the transatlantic alliance are Russia’s wild expansionism and the Islamic radicalism emanating native the center East, the Caucasus is a strategically essential pressure allude in both directions: a bulwark against both Moscow and the Islamic radicalism of the middle East. The Iranian theocracy’s ongoing efforts to increase its affect from Syria come Yemen, and also the cultivation anti-Western authoritarianism through Islamist underpinnings in Turkey, more enhance the prominence of this role.

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These considerations alone should dictate a farming American and also European engagement v the says of the Caucasus, however this has actually not occurred. Fairly the contrary, Western influence in the region is at an all-time low. Together Western influence has declined, and partly as a repercussion of it, the region’s development has stagnated. This stagnation is evident in areas as varied as security, energy, governance, and also human rights. Meanwhile, new challenges come the region’s defense and advancement have multiplied and also strengthened, threatening its permanent viability and eroding necessary Western interests.

This situation is the an outcome of a absence of strategic vision in the West and also to a collection of tactical errors. At the main point of west shortcomings in the Caucasus are serious flaws in the analysis lenses v which leaders and analysts perceive occasions in the region:

A fail to master the changing nature and importance of the region’s unresolved conflicts, specifically their revolution into an essential components of Russian geopolitical maneuvers.A failure to master the nature of regional politics, succumbing too often to a simplistic schema of “government versus opposition,” when the real and also relevant politics divides have been same within every of this groups.A failure to understand the inter-connection between security and democratic development, in particular the powerful an adverse effects of a worsened security situation on the future for inner political reform.

Compounding this analytical errors, several components of a strategic nature have added to the West’s failure in the Caucasus.

The failure to embrace a regional approach to the Caucasus, concentrating instead top top bilateral relationships; and subordinating these to the West’s ties v various local powers.The failure to coordinate properly legitimate understanding in varied areas, particularly between security and also governance.The fail to understand dynamic alters in the broader geopolitical environment, an especially internal alters in Russia and also Turkey, which should improve the potential function of the Caucasus in west policy.

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

Insufficient coordination in between relevant governmental organ in Western capitals and throughout the Atlantic.The assignment of the Caucasus and central Asia to various organizational entities within Western federal governments has resulted in the ignore of Trans-Caspian connections.The resort to finger-pointing and hectoring in the promo of democracy and also human rights has actually been deep ineffective, alienating federal governments rather than influencing them.

To remedy this situation, this paper calls because that a new strategy towards the Caucasus. This strategy must rest ~ above the complying with analytical components:

All policies toward the Caucasus must be rooted in a regional rather 보다 purely bilateral approach.Policies must be engineered in recognition of the varied forms of west interests in the region and have to take right into account the methods in which this interests connect with one one more on the ground.Western powers have to re-engage the region in the area of sovereignty and also security, which will do much more than anything else to plunder the way for development in various other areas.The West cannot expect progress on governance and also human rights without a clean commitment to protection issues; whereas the states of the Caucasus cannot mean Western support for their security without a commitment to governance and also human rights.

On this basis, the record offers the adhering to proposals for a new Western approach to the region:

Increase rhetorical and concrete support for the sovereignty, independence, and also territorial verity of all 3 of the regional states.Develop a considerable and sustained Western to plan on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, including strong U.S. Government leadership indigenous the optimal level and also a willingness come bypass, if necessary, the Minsk process.Increase collaboration in defense and also security.Provide Armenia a strategic alternative to the Eurasian Union.Seek means to anchor Azerbaijan in the EU’s eastern Partnership.Adapt policies to boost governance and human legal rights to an altering realities, consisting of greater emphasis on boosting effectiveness and accountability on the component of governments.Support the trans-Caucasus transport corridor as a “Land Suez” connecting Europe through both India and also China, focusing specifically on the role of businesses and also of soft infrastructure.

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Improve and clarify intra-agency, inter-agency, as well as transatlantic coordination on issues relating come the Caucasus.