Caucasus, Caspian, New Cold War, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia
The purpose of this research is to address how geopolitical factors influence the foreign policies of states in the South Caucasus. Due to the recent Russia-Georgia War, this region is central to contemporary foreign policy, fueling discussions of a New Cold War between the US and Russia. With the explicit goal to provide policy relevant research on this critical region, the South Caucasus states (Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia) are examined in three separate case studies. Utilizing qualitative analysis of historical event data, each case examines the role of five different variables: energy resources, routes, demography, proximity, and state leadership. That research reveals several corollary relationships. First, demographic (ethnic/religious) cleavages are found to define the borders of separatist conflicts and to be positively correlated with state perceptions of threat that follow from the proximity of foreign powers to separatist regions. Energy resources and routes define economic conflict and are positively correlated with perceptions of threat resulting from the proximity of foreign powers to these strategic points. Finally, state leadership is correlated with the value placed on demographic groups, resources, and routes in the foreign policies of the South Caucasus states and the subsequent balance of threat behavior exhibited in each state's foreign policy orientation. These findings are consequential for the discipline of International Relations, demonstrating the contemporary relevance of geopolitical variables. Specifically, the synthesis of these variables provides significant explanations of where, with whom, and why conflicts have emerged in the South Caucasus. Answering those questions is a vital step toward furthering the relevance of academic research for policy makers.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Burns, Nathan, "An Uncertain Place In Uncertain Times: The South Caucasus" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4110.