Abe Greenwald – Losing The Caucasus
America missed a golden opportunity by not taking a larger role in Azerbaijan’s “frozen conflict” with Armenia. And Moscow just picked up the ball dropped by Washington: Russia will soon enjoy the allegiance of the Azeri population and access to Azerbaijan’s critical gas and oil reserves.
On November 2, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian will meet in Moscow , where Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will play peacemaker and try to find a way to end the on-going conflict. This meeting should have happened in Washington , with George W. Bush presiding.
I was in Azerbaijan in August, just days after Russia invaded neighboring Georgia, and it is impossible for me to overstate the earnestness of pro-Western sentiment in the country. (I’ve written about it here, here, and here, and Michael Totten has a piece about the same trip here.) To a man, Azeris practically begged for American help in resolving the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijan’s Nagorny Karabakh region. Sadly, following the Palestinian model of victimhood, there was a lot of talk about the all-powerful Armenian lobby and its supposed influence in DC. There was no other way for Azeris to understand why America didn’t do more to help a post-Soviet moderate Muslim territory with decidedly democratic aspirations…
We can’t have four-year election seasons and serve as guardians of the free world. How about we shorten the bataan death march to the white house by a few years or so…?