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Caucasus International Vol. 5 • No: 1 • Spring 2015

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 946

Sep 30, 2015 - 9:51 AM

Displacement, Refugees and Migration in the Caucasus and Eurasia Read more...

Transport Networks, Eurasia’s Economic ‘Synchronization’, and the End of a ‘Flat’ World; Jacopo Maria Pepe

By Editor CI

views: 912

Jul 25, 2016 - 3:43 PM

The emergence of an interconnected Eurasian transport network is the most relevant – if equally challenging - development of the second decade of the 21st century. However, the current acceleration of the infrastructure re-connection of wider Eurasia dates back earlier than the initiatives such as the OBOR, the EEU or the AIIB. Indeed, its political-economic rationality is rooted in the massive geo-economic shift since the early 2000s. Using macro data on trade flows in Eurasia covering the decade 2000-2012, the author argues that far from being ‘flat’, the world economy is increasingly fragmented and de-synchronized, while economic and commercial reaggregation is still taking place at more continental and regional level. Accordingly, continental Eurasia and the Indian Ocean-Asia-Pacific Ocean nexus are emerging as a self-sustaining geo-economic space, despite the geopolitical fragmentation and potential for political-military conflicts or economic crisis. The present economic downturn across Eurasia notwithstanding, in the coming decades the development of a functioning transport network remains the true impetus for overcoming the current domestic economic difficulties in many Eurasian economies, and sustainably re-shaping the economic, industrial and commercial face of the continent. Read more...

Caucasus under Review: Recently Published Books

By Editor CI

views: 860

Nov 6, 2014 - 4:50 PM

The Caucasus is a region of both great diversity and potential; it is also a region about which much remains to be discovered. However, during the last decade, numerous publications on the region have enabled us to better comprehend this diversity and potential. In this sense, this section aims to introduce a number of these publications in order to keep our readers up-to-date with the available literature. Read more...

Georgia in Search of Restoring Its Territorial Integrity; Nana Gegelashvili

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 857

Jan 18, 2016 - 12:22 PM

Russia’s August 2008 invasion of Georgia and Moscow’s subsequent recognition of its two former autonomous territories – Abkhazia and South Ossetia – placed the problem of Georgia’s territorial integrity high on the agenda. Since then, prospects for resolving the problem have remained dim, and no one knows what should be done to address the issue. Moscow’s official recognition of the independence of the two Georgian breakaway provinces deprived Russia of political leverage over Tbilisi, pushing Georgia much closer to the EU and NATO than previously. However, despite the active involvement of the EU and NATO in Georgia, this paper argues that neither of the two is likely to gain sufficient clout to resolve the issue of Georgia’s territorial integrity. Thus, on the one hand, there is Russia, capable of restoring Georgia’s territorial integrity; on the other hand, there is the West, open to promoting democratic values to transform Georgia into a genuine working democracy, necessary for its integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. This paper accordingly suggests that the only way to resolve the problem is to combine both Russian and Western leverage. Read more...

Georgia’s Integration into the EU: After the Riga Summit?; Sarah Lain

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 848

Jan 18, 2016 - 12:26 PM

Georgia has made significant progress in its move towards European integration. The EU has fully supported this decision, but the Ukraine crisis has served as a stark reminder of the security risks facing Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries in terms of their economic and political choices. The EU should be more nuanced in its approach to Georgia to ensure its own de-politicization of the issue and greater clarity around what it is, and is not, aiming to achieve through European integration initiatives. This paper suggests that this should not only be to combat Russian false messaging on the issue, but also to reassure the Georgian people of why they are committing to the EaP. As a corollary, the EaP strategy should also make a greater connection between economic stability and increased resilience against certain security threats. Georgia is now facing a somewhat uncertain political future domestically due to the parliamentary elections in 2016. Without an attempt at a more defined strategy, therefore, the EU could risk greater disillusionment within Georgia as to the benefits of the EaP. Read more...

Azerbaijan in the Silk Road Economic Belt: A Chinese Perspective; Bai Lianlei

By Editor CI

views: 828

Jul 25, 2016 - 3:42 PM

The Silk Road Economic Belt is one manifestation of China’s opening-up policy, and implies the evolution of this policy from seaward to both seaward and landward. The core ideas of the Belt are primarily based on the experiences of China’s economic success. Azerbaijan is an ideal partner for construction of the Belt for three reasons: the Azerbaijan-located Caspian rim area is becoming a new joint zone of East Asian, European and Russian economic interest; Azerbaijan is the forerunner in the rejuvenation of the ancient Silk Road in terms of re-development multiple large-scale transnational transport systems; and Azerbaijan bears similarities with China which contribute to mutually beneficial cooperation. The Belt brings valuable opportunities to Azerbaijan, particularly in terms of the transit fees and industrial cooperation opportunities. What Azerbaijan and China can do is first to clarify China’s thinking on the Belt, and second, to identify areas for specific cooperation. Read more...

Regional Projections of NATO’s Global Outreach: Lessons from Central Asia; Farkhod Tolipov

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 827

Dec 23, 2014 - 11:30 AM

The article analyses the evolving partnership between Central Asian countries and NATO, with particular focus on their involvement in Afghanistan in partnership with NATO. The author suggests that future partnerships between Central Asian nations and NATO may prove challenging. The article argues that throughout the ISAF operation in Afghanistan, Central Asian countries have remained consumers and relatively passive spectators. On one hand, through the overall network of PfP and NDN-related activities, Central Asian states have obtained important- and indeed quite successful - experiences in terms of interacting with the once alien and hostile North Atlantic Alliance. The paper concludes that the NATO-Central Asia partnership can become a marker of the post-Cold War ‘reboot’ of the international security system. Read more...

NATO-Georgia Cooperation: A Rhetorical Engagement? Nona Mikhelidze

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 827

Dec 23, 2014 - 11:45 AM

In 2008, NATO officially embraced Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, declaring that one day the country would become a member of the alliance. Almost six years on, most policymakers - on both sides - agree that membership depends not on Georgia’s political domain or security options, but rather on the geopolitical struggle between the major powers in the post-Soviet space, and most of all on the challenging NATO-Russia relationship. Kosovo’s declaration of independence and the Bucharest Summit in 2008, at which Georgia was promised that it would one day gain membership, exacerbated the already complicated relations between Russia and the West. Both events were perceived by the Kremlin as a threat to Russia’s strategic interests. Moreover, from Russia’s perspective, both required a response. Russia’s security dilemma culminated in August 2008 with the invasion of Georgia. This war led to the suspension of talks on Georgia’s eventual NATO membership. Furthermore, the events in Ukraine, the financial crisis in Europe and U.S. policy in the Middle East and towards Iran have made it necessary to decelerate the Georgian NATO membership process. For now, NATO cannot compete with the Russian influence in the region. Consequently, it will pursue only a limited role in Georgia and in the South Caucasus more generally, keeping activities within the framework of the Individual Partnership Action Plans and engagement limited to the promotion of democracy, economic development, and military reform. Read more...
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