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Differing Attitude within America's Policy on South Caucasus

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Baku, 11 April 2017 – Newtimes.az

The U.S. does more than express opinion on the developments around political and security problems – it finds political and military ways of interfering. The geography of such meddling spans continents – from the South-East Asia to the Middle East, from Africa to Latin America and even Europe. Everywhere, America’s meddling pursues one goal – to impact the developments in line with own interests and utilize to the maximum extent every political and military means available.

It is fascinating that such interventions could be disguised as championing democracy and human rights, ensuring regional and international security and combating international terrorism. Indeed, as far as the outcome of U.S. interventions is concerned the end result is one – tens if not hundreds of thousand civilians are left dead or wounded, mass exodus of people commences and ultimately, countries are left lying in ruins.

Is the U.S. a superpower? It certainly is – its political, economic and military prowess makes it one. With military bases in 40 nations and limited military presence in 132 countries, it obviously qualifies for a superpower. With whopping 1 trillion military budget, it dwarfs military spending of the next 25 large nations. The price of two units of "B-2 Spirit” strategic bombers that the country produces (unit cost $ 2.4 billion) exceeds the overall budget of tens of other countries around the world.

Is the U.S. a fair country? Providing an unequivocal answer could prove to be a challenge. For the U.S. it is not justice that matters the most but rather the advancement of own national interests at any cost. The policy that favors the application of double standards is evident in the attitude of the U.S. towards the existing problems in the South Caucasus.

On 7 April 2017 the U.S. Department of State released a statement regarding the "presidential elections'' and "referenda'' in the South Ossetia. According to that statement, "elections and referenda were illegitimate and held without the consent of the government of Georgia'' and "Abkhazia and South Ossetia were the integral parts of Georgia''1.

Well, we can only congratulate our Georgian counterparts in connection with such a statement issued with respect to a similar problem we both face (Azerbaijan’s Nagorno Karabakh problem and Abkhazia and South Ossetia issue for Georgia). On the contrary, there is no reason to congratulate the U.S.

Georgia deserves congratulations because the world’s superpower supports its territorial integrity and even issues statement to that end. Conversely, the U.S. must not be congratulated due to the fact that Azerbaijan - a country in the same region with same problem – fails to see own territorial integrity buttressed by the United States akin of Georgia’s. Let alone hearing vocal statements of support. The U.S. is the co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group tasked with the resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh conflict. For the past 25 years it has continued its unavailing and seemingly lopsided mediation effort within the Minsk Group.

If we take the U.S.’s statements made in connection with the Nagorno Karabakh problem, in contrast with the issue of Georgia’s territorial integrity, we would not find clear-cut, unequivocal language expressing support to the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

Although across the post-Soviet geography the U.S. supports Moldova on the issue of Transnistria and Georgia on the problems of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Azerbaijan does not enjoy such a generous backing. The U.S. does not view the separatist entities of Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia as legitimate interlocutors, provides no economic assistance and grants no permission for their "representative offices'' to be established in the U.S. Meanwhile the policy of the U.S. regarding the Nagorno Karabakh is 180 degrees different.

According to the legislative act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1998, America has become the first and the only country to provide direct financial assistance to the "Nagorno Karabakh regime'' as of 1999. The U.S. government has provided $2.5 million in aid to the separatist entity in 1998-2000, $5 million in 2006, $6 million per year in 2007 and 2008, $8 million per year in 2009 and 2010 and $10 million in 2011. Although the U.S. government stopped providing aid to the separatist regime in 2012, the overall figure stands at around $60 million.

U.S. Congressman Dave Trott proposed a draft legislative act in connection with the Armenian "genocide” where he has made preposterous allegations against Azerbaijan, accusing the former of holding Armenia in economic blockade, military interference in "NKR” last April and fomenting aggression in the region. He called for Azerbaijan to be held accountable2.

Such differing practices within the U.S. policy on the South Caucasus cannot be justified by the concepts of ensuring regional security and combating international terrorism. These are double standards – weakest link in America’s policy on South Caucasus and manifestation of full-fledged support to the aggressor.

Hatam Jabbarli

Doctor of Political Science

[1] United States Condemns Illegitimate Elections and Referenda in Georgia's Occupied  https://www.state.gov/­r/pa/­prs/ps/2017/04/269629.htm, April 7, 2017

[2] Правительству США следует привлечь Азербайджан к ответственности за разжигание агрессии в регионе: конгрессмен Дейв Тротт, http://ru.1in.am/1186671.html, 2017-04-09.

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