Geopolitical conditions in the South Caucasus have experienced a substantial shift in recent years. Accordingly, the Trump Administration needs to adjust assumptions in advancing American interests in the region to make the most of its capabilities.
The United States has enduring interests in the South Caucasus. These include preserving regional stability, preventing the resumption of the region’s conflicts, countering the spread of Islamic extremism, drawing Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia closer to Western security and economic institutions, and advancing democratic change and improved governance.
While US interests are constant, recent developments—including the breakdown of the post-Cold War European security order, changing global energy markets, instability on the region’s southern flank, growing tensions and violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the EU’s internal challenges—have changed the context within which the United States pursues its geopolitical goals in the South Caucasus.
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Richard Sokolsky is a non-resident senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former member of the Secretary of State’s Office of Policy Planning. Paul Stronski is senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former Director for Russia and Central Asia on the National Security Council from 2012-2014.