REPORT: The Caspian Security Project
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Feb 7, 2019
The Caspian Policy Center of Washington, DC, is pleased to release this significant report and policy recommendations. Having noted that issues related to the Greater Caspian Region appeared in the current National Security Strategy and the National Defense Authorization Act for FY-2019, we want to give you an in-depth background about the Greater Caspian Region and why it is of special strategic importance for the United States. In the final section of this report, we also make a series of policy recommendations from currently serving U.S. officials, from U.S. regional experts, and from officials of the countries themselves.
The Greater Caspian Region includes the now-independent former Soviet Republics of the South Caucasus and Central Asia. These countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. We also include Afghanistan which has historically always been considered a part of Central Asia. The region is generally not front-burner for U.S. foreign-policy makers because, ironically, it is relatively stable despite the post-Soviet prolonged conflicts in Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) and between Armenia and Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh).
Nevertheless, major powers like Russia, China, the United States, and the European Union, as well as other significant players like Iran and Turkey, compete for influence in the Greater Caspian Region. The region is stable, in part, because each of the independent countries in the region pursues a version of “multi-vector foreign policy” in which they seek to balance the influences of the United States and the European Union with those of Russia and China. In recent years, however, the United States has come to be perceived as a “lesser player” in the region, despite occasional surges of U.S. interest, for example after 9/11 when we sought these countries’ assistance for the U.S. effort in Afghanistan. Considering current U.S. policy concerns about Russia and China, we believe it is prudent for the United States to pay closer attention to this strategic region because it is in the long-term U.S. national interests to do so.
Further, as the countries in the region have now largely consolidated their independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, they increasingly are looking outward to build connectivity in the region, and beyond, and are beginning to consider how to achieve regional integration, perhaps through a new international organization that would call attention to the region as a whole. We at the Caspian Policy Center welcome this trajectory and hope that others in positions of influence will promote this important development.
This Caspian Security Project report is a collection of essays by diplomatic, military, and academic experts designed to educate about the region. It focuses on U.S. policy in the region over the past quarter century, with a special focus on Russia’s military presence in the Caspian Sea, and, more importantly, suggests where U.S. policy should focus in the coming years in this complex region of the world.
At the Caspian Policy Center, we eagerly look forward to your comments on this report. We would welcome a dialogue with you, and we would be glad to answer your questions. You can contact us at [email protected] We also invite you to visit our web site, www.caspianpol-icy.org.
Finally, we hope that you will sign up at our web site for our weekly news updates. Thank you for your attention to this report and its policy recommendations.