Know the US Policy and Interest in the Post- Soviet Caspian Region that can affect your projects.

By and on August 25, 2014
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Since the mid-1990s, U.S. policy in the Caspian has been primarily shaped by three important desires: to keep Russia from overwhelming its weaker neighbors, to prevent Iran from gaining any kind of economic or geopolitical advantage in the region, and to slow the pace of China’s economic penetration. This gives U.S. policy-makers little choice but to take a long-term perspective, trying to maximize the likelihood that these countries will eventually develop into democracies. The US today stands out as a superpower precisely because it benefits from a combination of vast economic and military capabilities, including awesome nuclear weapons capabilities. This enables the United States to practice unrestrained globalism; its imperial reach and interventionist behavior are seemingly not limited by wealth or resources. From 1945 to 1990, U.S. foreign & defense policies were dominated by a concern with the Soviet Union. During most of this period, the United States pursued a policy of containment based on the premise that the Soviet Union was an aggressor nation bent on global conquest. Containment policy led the US to enter into wars in Korea and Vietnam and to maintain a large defense establishment. US military forces are deployed around the globe, and the nation maintains a large nuclear arsenal. The end of the cold war however made some of this weaponry and strategic planning less relevant to US’s national security. A first response to the post-cold war world was multilateralism, the idea that major nations could achieve common goals by working together, including using force as a means of arresting regional conflicts. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, only the U.S. remained as a global political power. Caspian States, at the regional level, also gained a special importance in the international arena because of its strategic position in Eurasia and its energy reserves.


The Caspian region boasts some of the world’s largest natural gas and crude oil reserves. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the landlocked region has become a major target for energy exploration and production. U.S. interests and engagement in the region since September 11, 2001, have centered on its proximity to Afghanistan and the need for coalition over flight, basing, and transit rights in support of military operations in Afghanistan. Current U.S. diplomatic and political engagement on energy security in the Caspian region reflects main goals:

  •  Encouraging the development of new oil and gas resources
  •  Supporting the economic and political independence of Caspian countries
  •  Supporting Europe’s desire for energy security

This lukewarm start in US policy on the Caspian countries was to give way to a growing involvement in the years following the break-up of the USSR. During this process, the region attained a surprising salience in the US foreign policy hierarchy of worries. Although the Caspian region is both geographically remote and of only derivative importance to the US’s key strategic concerns, US diplomatic effort in the region has been incredibly active, starting with official visits, first by the leaders of the region to the USA and then by the US Secretary of State to the region. There have also been several landmark addresses by Clinton Administration officials regarding the ‘importance’ of Central Asia and the Caucasus to the USA. Just as the Cold War determined the trajectory of U.S. foreign policy for almost half a century, the recent terror attacks against the United States have led to a reprioritization of U.S. interests. Although the ideological underpinnings that supported this change have been present in academic and policy-making circles for decades, the “war on terror” as a result of September 11, 2001 has fueled a departure from a nuanced and practical foreign policy to one that is based on an overarching ideology. It is the central argument of this paper that this shift in foreign policy goals sacrifices recently established relationships based on political and economic ties for more narrowly defined strategic needs. Furthermore, this shift is based on adherence to an ideological framework which contains contradictory elements. Although this characterizes much of current U.S. foreign policy, this article focuses on the post-Soviet Caspian states because they represent valuable but relatively new post-Cold War alliances that could become a casualty of US Strategic interests in an age of Globalization. The end of cold war dispenses with this tight bipolar alignment of countries. The destruction of Berlin Wall in 1989 dramatically symbolized the end of the all threats to America’s national security. But it did force the United States to reexamine its defense policies, force levels, strategies and tactics, and budget requirements in the light of current and potential threats. For the first time in almost fifty years, the United States had to design its foreign and defense policies in the absence of the dominant focus provided by the Soviet threat. During the Cold War U.S. foreign policy was centered on containing Soviet. But the end of the Cold War required a reassessment of U.S. foreign policy priorities; what should be America’s goals in world affairs? There is decreasing emphasis on sustained political and economic relations with the Caspian states themselves, and an increased focus on their role in achieving the strategic goals of U.S. foreign policy. Although it is too soon to tell whether this change in focus will be sustained, its negative impact is already affecting U.S. foreign relations with its traditional allies, and can be seen in places like the Caspian region where an American presence is still relatively new. Problems of human rights and corruption in Central Asia are receiving higher profile inside US policy circles and could begin to weaken public support for the region’s such as Turkmenistan’, inside the US, particularly for a Democratic Administration. But even Republican advisors such as Condoleezza Rice note that domestic reform is needed in the region before its countries can be strong enough to resist Russia’s unwanted meddling.

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Mukesh Kumar

Mukesh Kumar Mishra is Secretary General of KRITYANAND UNESCO CLUB, Jamshedpur. The Krityanand UNESCO Club is working to contribute to the work of the United Nations within Consultative relationship with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is governed by the principles contained in Council Resolution 1996/31 and has a Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

He holds M.A. in Political Science and MBA. Currently he pursues his Ph.D. in International Relations from Kolhan University Chaibasa, Jharkhand under the theme “Effects of Globalization on US Foreign Policy on Post Caspian States”. His interest in International Political and Economic Development. He looks all international relations work with United Nations and its system on behalf of the organization.

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Sanjeev Anand

Dr Sanjeev Anand, Political Science and PhD, is Assistance Professor of Political Science in Tata College, Chaibasa. He is currently engaged in International Relations Research work in Kolhan University Chaibasa, India.