By Svante E. Cornell
Predicting the future of US relations with any country under the Trump Administration may appear a fool’s errand. The new president has little political background, especially in foreign policy; and he has explicitly made unpredictability a mark of honour. Can anything, then, be said about the Trump Administration’s likely approach to Azerbaijan and the Caspian region? At this early date, only several preliminary conclusions can be drawn.
However, to appreciate the prospects of America’s approach to the region, it is useful to briefly examine the history of the past 25 years. Simply put, for the first half of the quarter-century since independence, there was a bipartisan consensus that held that the Caspian was an important region for American national security interests, and both Democratic and Republican administrations pursued balanced foreign policies that sought to advance security, trade, and democratic development. Yet in the second half of the period, this began to change, and an American disengagement from the South Caucasus and Central Asia has been very visible. This disengagement was most visible in the areas of security and trade; whereas the normative agenda of supporting democracy and human rights remained in full vigour, creating a lack of balance in US policies.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at AFPC held a book launch for their most recent work: The Long Game on the Silk Road, by S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell.
Drawing on CACI's twenty years of interaction with the region, the book takes stock of both American and European policies toward Central Asia and the Caucasus. It acknowledges the many achievements, but argues that Western policies suffer from serious and unacknowledged conceptual and structural flaws. The authors propose concrete ways to address these issues and render U.S. and European policies more effective.
Fred Starr, Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute
Svante Cornell, Director, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute
Where: The Middle East Institute, 1319 18th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036
When: Tuesday, May 1, 2018 from 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Dr. Nematullah Bizhan, author of Aid Paradoxes in Afghanistan: Building and Undermining the State, will present a disturbing critique of US and western aid to Afghanistan. Happily, he will also offer a prescription for fixing it.
Dr. Nematullah Bizhan, Research Fellow, Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University and former Director General of Budget, Ministry of Finance, Afghanistan.
Moderator: S. Frederick Starr, Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute
Where: The American Foreign Policy Council, 509 C Street NE, Washington, DC 20002
When: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 from 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
By Mamuka Tsereteli
By S. Frederick Starr