Strategic Insignificance as Advantage? view on Caucasus


“This leads me to the paradoxical thought that a healthy dose of strategic insignificance would be very positive for the South Caucasus. Viewing the region in this light would allow outsiders and locals alike to concentrate on solving essential everyday problems.”

This is the excerpt from Thomas de Waal’s article published at Foreign Policy. He talks about the share responsibility towards Caucasus region. “We are at fault, I believe, because our faulty perceptions and interpretations have helped make bad local politics worse.” Thomas de Waal identifies three dangerous mirages — misguided approaches to this region that reverberate in decidedly unhelpful ways:

“the first mirage may be the oldest: the notion that the region is a “Great Chessboard”, The second mirage is that of the Russian bear looming over this region ready to maul the relatively defenseless Caucasian peoples, even today, and the third mirage is the perception of the South Caucasus as an area of great Western strategic interest — an approach, that paradoxically, actually does more harm than good.”

The proposal of strategic insignificance makes sense and I have had such thoughts before.  In a way its a simple truth as any faulty perception and interpretation misleads the true course of the matter. Different false perceptions within the state or a region has been one of the reasons for conflicts in many cases.

In the end Thomas gives few recommendations:

“As for Western policy-makers, I believe they should ask themselves two questions every time they contemplate an intervention in the South Caucasus: “Is my action helping to open borders and free up a blocked region?” and “Does it empower ordinary people and not just governments?”

Quite interesting view from outside. Check out the full article HERE.

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