U.S. Engagement With the Caspian Region

Dear Readers,
Welcome to Caspian Affairs, an international publication of the Caspian Policy Center in Washington, DC.

Needless to say, momentous events have recently occurred, not only in the Caspian region but throughout the entire world.

Although vaccines are becoming available, COVID-19 continues to rage around the globe, claiming many lives and deeply impacting national economies. The recent war between Armenia and Azerbaijan for Nagorno-Karabakh focused international attention on the region and reminded the world of the danger of the prolonged conflicts on the territory of the former Soviet Union. In the United States, the events folowing the November 2020 presidential election have been without precedent, including a mass attack on the U.S. Capitol building on January 6. And yet, our fragile democracy has withstood the test, and Joseph Biden is now the 46th president of the United States.

We begin this edition of Caspian Affairs with six policy recommendations for the new Biden administration for the Caspian Region. We urge greater U.S. attention to this strategic crossroad between Asia and Europe because the issues in the region are so vital for peace and prosperity far beyond the region itself. Two issues are of special importance. Energy – the traditional hydrocarbons so abundant in the Caspian region as well as the emerging alternates of solar and wind power – enriches the region but engenders international competition. Extremists and terrorists persist in the region, especially as the decades-long competition for power in Afghanistan remains unsettled, with external players continuing to meddle in Afghan affairs. Because of the economic and political importance of the region, the countriesthere continue to protect their sovereignty and independence, even as they balance their relations with Russia, China, Europe, and the United States.

It’s a complex region in a complicated world! We hope that Caspian Affairs will give you deeper insight into this strategic part of the world. As always, we welcome your questions and comments. Please contact us at info@caspianpolicy.org .

Ambassador (ret.) Richard E. Hoagland

Editor-in-Chief
Caspian Affairs Magazine