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.


Turkey’s EU Membership: Will The ‘Armenian Opening’ Help?

CU Issue 49, October 5, 2009 

Turkey’s foreign policy, as
emphasised by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, is to have ‘zero problems with neighbours’ (Today’s Zaman, September 13). This is, first and foremost, intended to stabilise Turkey’s complex regional environment and ensure Turkey’s reputation as a peacemaker. It is also, more tactically, intended to boost Turkey’s long-running EU membership application. Ankara hopes to show that it is a responsible, and indeed indispensable, partner for Europe in Eurasia and the Middle East.
Read full article from Caucasian  Review of International Affairs


Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan will ask Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili during Saakashvili June 24-26 state visit to Armenia to expedite the reopening of GeorgiaтАЩs border with Russia, an Armenian foreign ministry official has stated.
Talks are in progress about the possibility of ensuring cargo traffic from Russia to Armenia and back through the Upper Lars checkpoint,тАЭ Arminfo news agency quoted Aram Grigorian, head of the Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs Department at the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as saying.
The checkpoint, essentially the only option for road communications between Armenia and its key ally Russia, was closed by Moscow, allegedly for repairs, three years ago. Moscow has conveyed its interest to Tbilisi about reopening the border, a measure that Georgian diplomats say they will consider.


Posted June 23, 2009 © EurasiaNet

EU Eastern Partnership – Promises vs Realities

The European Union extended its hand to six former Soviet republics: Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia on Thursday at a summit meant to draw them closer into the EU orbit despite Russia’s deep misgivings. Presidents, premiers and their deputies from 33 nations are signing an agreement meant to extend the EU’s political and economic ties.
Read further for EUOBSERVER article from  Brussels .