Tag Archives: Azerbaijan

Multilateralism in the context of Russia’s invasion of Georgia.

I don’t know who the neo-coni-sh unilateralists are on the issue of Russia’s invasion of Georgia. I suspect they do not exist.

Rather, most of the hard work in processing the politically bankrupt Soviet Union has been done by the old democracies of Europe — Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. Three classes of reforms, each more profound than the last, integrated members of the former Warsaw Pact solidly into the European scene. A free trade area, a free movement of labor area, and even an integration into Europe’s internal political machinery changed the war that western Europeans do their work, live their lives, and even pass their laws.

Throughout this, America’s contribution has been easier but still important. We expanded NATO, providing the ‘security guarantees’ necessary to make it easier for European connectivity to flow.

Moving forward, the struggle against Russia (which has reverted to behaviors typical of a gap state stuck in time) will continue to be heavily multilateral. The actions that America can perform on its own are limited, the most serious being granting security guarantees to the seam states on Russia’s edge. However, real victory will come from working with Europe. Tying the European Seam to the European Core will be the job of Europe, as it integrates Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova into the multilateralist institutions that have been post-War Europe’s greatest achievement.

Keep faith with our friends. Don’t give in to an isolationist unilateralism on Europe, where we abandon the Seam to the Gap in exchange for a return to the pre-8/8/08 world. Closing our eyes and keeping to ourselves is not a good way forward. Rather, we should work through multilateral institutions, keep patience, and focus on integrating Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Armenia into the European Union and NATO.

GUAM in the News

GUAM stands for Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova: four former Soviet states that are increasingly menaced by Russia. Indeed, Russia invaded Georgia a few weeks ago. These four countries have already formed the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development. Fortunately, the international community’s balancing against Russia is providing additional support for the GUAM states, both from Europe and the United States.

The Eastern Partnership was already in the works — the May 2008 plan to begin bringing in the remaining countries of central Europe into the European Union:

“To the south, we have neighbours of Europe. To the east, we have European neighbours…they all have the right one day to apply [for EU membership],” Mr Sikorski said, urging the eastern countries to follow the example of the Visagrad Group set up in 1991 by Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic as part of their EU integration efforts.

“We all know the EU has enlargement fatigue. We have to use this time to prepare as much as possible so that when the fatigue passes, membership becomes something natural,” the Polish minister said.

The preperation was well prepared… now there is talk of a visa and free trade area. See this article published today, by China’s Xinhua news agency

BRUSSELS, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) — The European Union (EU) is to launch the Eastern Partnership to boost ties with its eastern neighbors by the end of the year, an EU commissioner said here Tuesday.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy, made the announcement at a joint press conference after meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Vladimir Gurgenidze.

The Eastern Partnership, proposed by Poland and Sweden and approved at the EU summit in June, would cover countries including Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova, she said.

“We will have to see how far we can go. There should be greater economic integration, more mobility and more tools to help solve the security situation and resolve frozen conflicts,” the commissioner said.

Under the partnership, the EU will enhance regional cooperation between these countries and open bilateral negotiations with each one of them on a visa regime and free trade areas.

The EU is expected to make decisions on such a partnership, an extension of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), in late autumn or by the December European Council, according to Ferrero-Waldner.

The EU is able to make life easier for GUAM from an economic perspective. The US is able to assert its interests in other ways:

As he starts a tour of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, Mr Cheney will try to allay fears that Russia’s campaign in Georgia has fatally damaged a cornerstone of the West’s energy policy.

That message will be particularly potent in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, once the capital of the Soviet oil industry and now a pivotal ally of the United States.

The Caucasus region, between the gas-rich Caspian Sea and Turkey, provides the only energy pathway from Central Asia to Europe that does not traverse Russia or Iran.

More still needs to be done. We need peace with Iran and we need to use more countermeasures against Russia.

Regime Transformation in Azerbaijan?

Secret Agent: Rumsfeld Sneaks Off to Baku,” by Harkavy, Village Voice, 15 April 2005, http://villagevoice.com/blogs/bushbeat/archive/000848.php (from Democratic Underground).

The sourcing is questionable and the commentary is laughable, but it’s still interesting…

Crude crossroads: Azerbaijan is not only a major oil producer and port but also sits in a strategic and volatile place on the Caspian, bordered not only by its bitter enemy Armenia but also by Russia, Iran, and Georgia.

HARDLY ANY COUNTRY on the planet sits in a more crucial spot than the harsh dictatorship of Azerbaijan, so that’s probably why Don Rumsfeld sneaked off to its rowdy capital, Baku, earlier this week.

Do you hear the neocons beating the oil drums of war?

Rumsfeld’s visit this week to Iraq generated some smoke, especially his laughable warnings to the Iraqis about “government corruption.”

But then, like the mysterious Mr. Arkadin, Rumsfeld left Iraq, flew to Baku for meetings, spent the night, and then sneaked out the next day—with no announcements from the Pentagon and (as a result) no notice from the U.S. press.

Roughly, U.S. policy toward a regime can be in one of four categories: improvement, maintenance, transformation, and revolution (“regme change”). Azerbaijan naturally falls into the transformation category: it’s a dysfunctional regime we wish to make better.

Of course, there are natural security concerns, like Azerbaijan’s opposition to Iran’s satellite Armenia. But geopolitically Baku is closer to Moscow than Tehran. Russia is not a future pillar of Asian security – it can never be strong and integrated enough to carry the load.

Connecting Azerbaijan to the outside world, and preventing a premature connection with Moscow, is important to the security of Asia, America, and the world.