More Azerbaijan Move Talk

by Nathan Hamm on 8/9/2005 · 4 comments reports on talk in the US about establishing a US base in Azerbaijan.

Baranick said military action is underway in Afghanistan and Iraq and US troops should not be withdrawn from the region, as this would not allow completing the operations successfully. Therefore, Azerbaijan is turning into a very important country for the United States and US officials should take this into account, he said.

“We need areas to station military bases. US bases must be pulled out from Uzbekistan over 180 days. Talks should therefore start to on the deployment of US military bases in Azerbaijan. Considering that Azerbaijan is our ally in the region, this country is becoming a favorable choice for this.”

Take it for whatever you think it’s worth. I think we’re still a long way off from knowing what airfield if any will serve as a replacement for K2.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Josh Narins August 9, 2005 at 3:28 pm

This hereditary tyranny (is it stabilizing towards Monarchy?) is no friend of America.

What do we gain for putting a base there?

More money into the hands of an oil-rich despot?

There are other ways.

Nathan August 9, 2005 at 3:46 pm

Azerbaijan’s government is by no means as monolithic or simple as you might think, and it certainly can be a valuable friend to America. Though, given the general tone of your comments, I would guess your definition of “friend” is quite different than the denotative definition of the word.

We have plenty we can gain by basing troops there, and close military contacts can be a powerful force for changing the nature of the Azeri state. Please don’t mistake your dimestore one-liners as well-informed political analysis.

Josh Narins August 12, 2005 at 8:36 am

Please help me, preferably by way of historical example, how basing US troops in a foreign land has led to positive change for a state?

Azerbaijan is unfree. Any basing arrangement there would play directly into the hands of the government at many levels.

Azeris would see the world’s most powerful force as, in some sense, validating its government. For instance, does an attack on the Azeri gov’t, or a rebellion against it, now become a de facto attack on the USG?

From the court of world opinion, where, admittedly, we get little play of late, American troops are seen as a stabilizing force in Azeri politics.

That’s ignoring the direct transfer of funds involved in basing, and the likely transfer of training expertise, both of which increase the potential lethality of the Azeri regime.

Internal and external legitimization in the American hegemonic system, increased funds and (likely) training to the military forces of a tyrant.

What a recipe you propose!

Nathan August 12, 2005 at 1:07 pm

Azeris would see the world’s most powerful force as, in some sense, validating its government. For instance, does an attack on the Azeri gov’t, or a rebellion against it, now become a de facto attack on the USG?

Really? Because that’s not how it played out in Uzbekistan. And Azeris saw that. And Azeris saw how the whole relationship played out with Uzbekistan and there are still plenty of them who, despite the already existing US-Azeri military contacts, view the US as a force for democratization in the Caucasus. This, of course, has a lot to do with events next door in Georgia.

Josh, if I didn’t feel the need to write some posts and that it’s utterly futile to argue with you I’d go on. Suffice it to say though that I find it tiresome to argue against doctrinaire ideological arguments–especially doctrinaire leftism. They deal so little with facts and nuances and paint with such a broad brush that they reveal much more about he who makes the argument than they do about the reality of the situation.

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