South Caucasus needs less strategic attention, more institution building

There are two essential views on solving the many problems in war-torn South Caucasus region. The top-down approach and the down-up approach.The first approach says the problems in the South Caucasus are because of the territorial disputes over Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, South Ossetia. The argument is, that governments exploit those conflicts to justify increased military spending, poor economic performance, silence criticism, push nationalist agenda, neglect human rights violations. Hence, the top-down approach, backed by global and regional powers: Russia, US, Turkey, hold it, that the solution to existing problems lies in solving the territorial disputes.

Thomas de Waal, a recognized expert on the Caucasus, has written a thought-provoking piece, arguing for the  down-up approach, calling superpowers to provide more focused lower-level investment in institution-building in the region.

“That would at least have allowed the locals to make sober assessments of their own capacities and what they themselves should ask from Western patrons with limited attention spans. This leads me to the paradoxical thought that a healthy dose ofstrategic insignificance would be very positive for the South Caucasus. Viewing the region in this light would allow outsiders and locals alike to concentrate on solving essential everyday problems,” de Waal has written, insisting, that the world powers concentrate too much on the strategic importance of the region and by doing so, further complicate the situation with their strategic engagement.

THOMAS DE WAALThomas de Waal


1 thought on “South Caucasus needs less strategic attention, more institution building

  1. He assumes that the powers involved may care about the societies in the South Caucasus countries. Well, they do not. The improvement of the life of, let’s say, a farmer living in Dsegh, is something that the US does not care. The US, on the other hand, cares about the availability of the hydrocarbons for its corporations.

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