Central Asia and the Caucasus are of immense geopolitical importance for the US and Russia, but neither power has successfully established regional hegemony. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the states of the Caspian region began to develop their oil and gas reserves, and as a result their importance on the international stage is increasing rapidly. Considering the impact of events such as 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iran, alongside issues including national security, energy policies and American ambitions to limit Russian influence, Christopher Bluth explains why the US has failed to establish authority in this globally significant region. Examining US policy from Clinton to Obama and drawing on interviews with leading figures in the US administration, this study presents the first systematic analysis of US policy towards the Caspian states.
Christoph Bluth is Professor of International Studies at the University of Leeds.
Contents Chapter 1: Introduction: US National Security and the Caspian Region 3 Understanding US National Security after the Cold War: Theoretical Approaches 5 Structural Realism 7 The Role of Ideas 10 Organisational Behaviour and Decision-Making Theories 17 The United States and the Caspian Region 19 Research Questions and Methodology 29 Chapter 2: The Geopolitics of the Region 36 Russian Security Policy at the Southern Periphery 40 Conflict and Peacekeeping in the Caucasus and Central Asia 57 The Geopolitics of the Caspian Region: The Major Powers 61 China 61 Iran 66 Turkey 69 The European Union 70 Regional Security Organisations 71 The Collective Security Treaty Organisation 71 The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation 76 GUAM 79 The Global War against Terrorism and the Geopolitics of the Caspian Region 80 Chapter 3: Engaging with the Caspian Region - US National Interests in the Post-Soviet Era 84 The United States and the Former Soviet Space 84 Engaging Central Asia and Pipeline Politics 96 The Bush Administration and US National Security Interests in Central Asia 104 The Impact of 9-11 105 Engaging Central Asia 109 Conclusion 114 Chapter 4: US Policy towards the Caspian Region: The Security Dimension 117 Cooperative Threat Reduction in Central Asia 123 Conflict Regions in the Former Soviet Space 127 Armenia and Azerbaijan 128 Georgia 138 Tajikistan 143 US Military Engagement in Central Asia 145 Terrorism 148 The Case of Uzbekistan 153 Security and Democracy 160 Appendix to Chapter 4 171 Chapter 5: The United States and Energy Resources in the Caspian Region 173 US Energy Policy and the Caspian Region 175 The Structure of Caspian Hydrocarbon Resources 176 Kazakhstan's Oil Production and US Interests 180 Kazakhstan as an Energy Producer 186 The Battle of the Pipelines 188 US Policy towards Caspian Oil and Gas Resources in the Bush Administration 195 Conclusion 198 Appendix to Chapter 5 201 Chapter 6: Conclusion 202 The Obama administration and the trajectory of US policy towards the Caspian region 217 Bibliography 21