Struggle Of Interests In The South Caucasus (Analysis)

Armen Manvelyan

12.04.2006 14:42

The South Caucasus region has always enjoyed the special attention
of the superpowers. The reason of such “honor” is the geographical
location of the region, which has never changed; therefore, the
attitude of the superpowers has not altered, either. We can say that
this important crossroad linking the North and the South, as well
as the Easy and the West of Eurasia continues to remain a ground of
competition for today’s heavy powers, which consider their geopolitical
interests in this region from the point of view of extending their
influence. Such attention towards the South Caucasus in its turn
influences the peoples and the relations between the state units of
the region.

If we try to evaluate the extent of the influence of heavy powers
in our region, we should say that number one superpower in the
world, the US, holds a primary position in the region, as it was
expected. Implementation of a more or less serious interstate
project in the South Caucasus is impossible today without US
support. Washington is somehow involved in any economic or political
program; the US is introduced in all negotiation formats formed for the
settlement of all conflicts in the region. We can say that there are
several reasons why the US is interested in the South Caucasus. First
of all it is an opportunity to enter central Asia and the Caspian
Region. Analysts of the official Washington do not even conceal that
exercising control over the central regions of Eurasia is of strategic
importance for the United Sates, and the shortest path towards this
center passes through the South Caucasus. Political scientists note
that the South Caucasus is just another Panama Channel for the US,
which it uses for its political aims. For the European Union this
region is just an unwanted neighbor of this constantly enlarging
union, which it is obliged to include in its famous New Neighbors
Program. The reason of such position is that the Europeans consider
this region a non-stable one and conceive it as a threat to their
political and economic interests. However, those in Brussels realize
pretty well that without inclusion of the South Caucasus in the New
Neighbors Program the chain around Eurasia will not close up.

For Russia our region is a traditional zone of influence, the
struggle for which it has started still in the 18th century, first
fighting against Persian Shahs and later against Turkish Sultans. It
is clear that current Russia is not the USSR, but it is not going to
refuse form its political interests and influence, considering also
that similarity of economic, political and cultural ties has been
shaped in the course of the centuries, which provides Moscow with
the opportunity to keep its level of influence in the region. Besides
the countries mentioned, Turkey and Iran also have interests in the
region The individual ambitions of these countries make them compete
not only with each other but also with the world powers.

Thus, we can state that it is these countries that directly or
indirectly impose the rules of the game and make the countries of
the region follow these.

It is understandable that in their relations Armenia, Georgia and
Azerbaijan have to consider these interests of the key powers and
accept the rules of the game imposed by them. This situation cannot
keep from having an impact on the politics of the countries of the
region, both within the countries and in the relations with each
other. Thus, we can say that the maintenance of this situation does
not only hinder the settlement of conflicts existing in the South
Caucasus, but doest not allow to establish more or less normal
relations to resolve the bilateral disagreements, either.

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