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Integration & Cooperation Archives

July 1, 1995

Eastern Europe: Still Out in the Cold?

Are the emerging securities markets in Eastern Europe worth paying attention to? Yes, if one is careful and avoids the "conventional wisdom." The conventional wisdom is that Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic are on track to become members of the European Union (EU), that their growth will be export-led, and that they are set to take off in the foreseeable but always indefinite future. Each of these three assumptions is either a little off-base or just plain wrong-headed.

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March 1, 1997

Integration Within and Without the CIS

One periodically encounters critical evaluations of the CIS, but a more nuanced analysis is motivated by bringing into the open some hidden assumptions and by shedding light on some blind spots in Western analysts' predictions of the CIS's imminent demise. Such predictions we may call the "Goldilocks model" of CIS (dis)integration: where the main thing that Goldilocks is attempting to do is escape the embrace of the Russian Bear by getting out of the house. Different variants of the Goldilocks model contain as many as three related fallacies that misunderstand the meaning of integration in the present-day international system.

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January 16, 1998

Москва рискует изоляцию от Кавказа

Корреспондент "НГ" Игорь Ротарь в своей статье "Чеченские проекты получают международную поддержку" обратил внимание на новые аспекты кавказской политики, значение которых трудно переоценить. Речь идет об инициативах одного из чеченских лидеров Хожахмеда Нухаева по созданию "Общего рынка Кавказ - Евразия", способного лишить Россию монополии на транспортировку каспийской нефти. Дело в том, что и самому мне неоднократно доводилось выступать с аналогичными предложениями - например, в январе 1995 г. на международной конференции, организованной администрацией президента Финляндии совместно с Институтом мировой политики (Нью-Йорк) и МГИМО, собравшей представителей высокого уровня из почти всех новых государств Евразии, в октябре этого года - в Вашингтоне, на международной конференции, поддержанной IREX и неправительственным Национальным бюро азиатских исследований. В 1996 г. в Tбилиси вышла моя статья на ту же тему в научно-политическом журнале "Кавказские рeгиoнaль-ныe исследования". В ней я защищал проект создания евроазиатской нефтяной и газовой ассоциации, или EAOGA.

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March 21, 1998

Energy Resources, Human Resources, and Co-operative Energy Security

Invited Speech to the Plenary Session "Caspian Sea Resources", Monaco Summit on Energy (Crans Montana Forum in Monaco sponsored by UNIDO).

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February 8, 1999

How To Orient Energy Regulation towards Economic Cooperation

In March, the private U.S. consulting firm Legal Technical & Advisory Services will hold a training session for energy officials from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. This high-level, hands-on seminar will focus on legislation, policy and regulations of the oil and gas sectors. A particular advantage will be the simultaneous presence of leading officials from the three most important energy-producing countries in Central Asia.

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May 11, 1999

Baku Continues at the Center of Negotiations

Transit of oil through the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline continues to be a problematic affair. Since the beginning of the month, the pipeline has been shut down three times. The reasons given are the age of the Russian section of the pipeline and defects in its reconstruction as well as theft of oil along the Chechen part of the route. Although the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) says it intends to continue cooperation with the Russian oil pipeline operator Transneft to use the route, the decision to seek other routes such as Baku-Supsa seems now well justified. However, it is clear that Baku-Supsa can only be a temporary bypass in its present state and that the early oil pipeline is unlikely to satisfy all export needs even if upgraded and expanded.

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October 5, 1999

Kazakhstan and International Energy Development (3/4)

The first article in this series discussed how the economic and physical geography of Kazakhstan has constrained and conditioned President Nursultan Nazarbaev's choice of export routes for Tengiz oil. The second analyzed recent events leading to the multiplication of export route possibilities despite the Asian financial crisis and the temporary fall in the price of oil. This week, I take a broader view to inspect the problems behind the expansion of Kazakhstani oil exports.

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October 19, 1999

Kazakhstan and International Energy Development (4/4)

The last article in this series distilled three central problems that have impeded the development and export of Caspian energy resources. From those three problems, three lessons were drawn. In turn, it was shown that those three lessons are directly analogous to the lessons from research on the effectiveness of international environmental institutions.

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November 16, 1999

Just When You Thought Baku-Ceyhan Was Dead and Buried (3/7)

Part one of this series, published after BP-Amoco made an announcement in support of the Baku-Ceyhan Main Export Pipeline (MEP), reviewed the background to that decision and its implications with regard to the four agreements being negotiated between Turkey and Azerbaijan. It also discussed what the MEP agreement and the cost guarantee agreement might look like. Part two began the discussion of the agreement between investors and transit states. This week's column is being written on the weekend preceding the November 18-19 meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Istanbul. It is expected that a set of framework agreements will be signed at that meeting, at least by Turkey and Azerbaijan. In anticipation of that event, the discussion of the agreement between investors and transit states will continue here, with special attention to Georgia. First, however, will come a few necessary preliminary remarks about BP-Amoco and the Istanbul conference.

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November 24, 1999

Instability in the Balance: The Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline

The signing of the Istanbul Protocol on the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline at the recent OSCE meeting was highly important politically to the leaders who signed it. But the project will in the long run be more important to the peoples of the region than to those leaders who expended so much effort bringing it about. The pipeline deal presents regional leaders with a fateful decision. Should they fail to use local suppliers and train local labor for its construction, current disparities in income distribution will become aggravated. This could create civil unrest, leading to political instability that would threaten the pipeline project itself. But by using local NGOs to train a capable workforce, individual workers would experience the decision-making autonomy necessary to foster democratic institutions, build civil society, and perhaps also lead to civil unrest.

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January 31, 2000

Ajaria, the Russian Military in Georgia, and Stability in the South Caucasus

Recent initiatives aimed at fostering a multilateral security system in the South Caucasus potentially represent an historic shift in how Russia relates to the region. These initiatives would lead Russia to view the South Caucasus as an area for common co-operation rather than to treat it as a private preserve. The effectively autonomous province of Ajaria in southwest Georgia, and the Russian military base at its capital Batumi, are auspicious for the political integrity of the Georgian state and for South Caucasus regional stability. The ramifications for Georgia are especially profound. The ongoing [late 1999 and early 2000] fighting in Chechnya has strained relations between Russia and Georgia, as Moscow has repeatedly accused Tbilisi of providing tacit assistance to Chechen separatists. Georgian officials deny the accusations and assert that Russia's "special services" (as distinct from the Russian government itself) have been acting as agents provocateurs.

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February 16, 2000

Uzbekistan's Trade Liberalization: Key to Central Asian Economic Integration

SUMMARY: President Islam Karimov's reelection in Uzbekistan has been followed by his statement that a program of economic liberalization and privatization will now be introduced in the country. Currency controls on the Uzbek som and its less than full convertibility, have been the greatest roadblocks to the overall development of the Central Asian trading block, called the Central Asian Union, that includes Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. If barriers including bilateral trade tariffs can be overcome, the Central Asian Union holds the greatest potential to reanimate regional trade throughout the Central Asian region.

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May 23, 2000

Solving the Problems of Caspian Industrial Infrastructure (2/2)

Three weeks ago I began describing part of the industrial infrastructure problem in the Caspian region. Limitations of physical geography require relative self-sufficiency in the development of basic infrastructure and installation of production facilities. The amount of investment required to build up the infrastructure capacity also limits the pace of the region's development. Steel fabrication capacity is especially key.

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June 6, 2000

Caspian energy pipelines: Towards a self-organizing network?

One of the properties of increasingly networked relationships is that they seem to begin to take on a life of their own. The word "self-organization" is used for describing this. In the evolution of networks, events can occur that seem insignificant at the time but which, in retrospect, stand out as crucial markers of qualitative development. (The technical name for this phenomenon is a "bifurcation point.") In this column, I will explore—without using the technical jargon—the question of whether we are approaching such a bifurcation point in the self-organization of the emerging network of Caspian energy pipelines.

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June 20, 2000

How Shah-Deniz Is Changing the Equation (1/9)

On the natural gas front, all signs are "go" for Azerbaijani gas from the offshore Shah-Deniz deposit to find purchasers in Europe. The head of the European Union's TACIS (Technical Assistance for the Commonwealth of Independent States) program, visiting Baku, declared earlier this month that anticipated industrial growth in southwestern Europe would assure a stable long-term market for this gas. Norway's Statoil, which owns a 25.5 per cent share in the Shah-Deniz consortium and has experience with deep-water gas development in the North Sea, is proposing a strategic partnership to the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR). In particular, it seeks to organize and operate, together with SOCAR, the country's midstream gas development. Significant investment in Azerbaijan's Soviet-era gas infrastructure would be necessary.

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June 21, 2000

Russia Reactivates Its Caspian Policy with a New Demarcation Approach

In a series of public statements last month including a May 17 seminar at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University-SAIS, Andrei Urnov, head of the Caspian Sea working group of the Russian Foreign Ministry, suggested a new approach to the demarcation of national sectors in the Caspian Sea. His announcement followed a decision by the Security Council of the Russian Federation to re-activate Russian policy in the region through sea-bed delineation for the purpose of subsoil use which may thus signal a qualitatively new development in the stalled negotiations over the legal regime of the Caspian Sea.

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July 5, 2000

Russia, Turkey and Iran: An Eternal Triangle

The one formal organization is the Central Asian Economic Union which includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The leaders of these countries have concluded several agreements on expanding economic cooperation, but these will remain a dead letter until the Uzbek som is made fully convertible. The two multilateral formations are not embodied in formal organizations. One is a coalescence of energy-related issues bringing together Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, in a geo-strategic sense, as a north-south axis along the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea. The other is a coalescence of counterinsurgency-related issues bringing together Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, also in a geo-strategic sense, as an east-west axis along the southern border of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

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September 27, 2000

The CIS Is Dead, Long Live the CIS!

The CIS was originally a sleight-of-hand trick by which the presidents of the RSFSR and Ukrainian and Belorussian union-republics conjured the disappearance of the USSR. It is generally conceded now that Yeltsin's wish for revenge against Gorbachev was a sine qua non of this remarkable, and successful, performance. The creators of the CIS never intended it to be the continuation of the USSR by other means.

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October 11, 2000

Russia and Europe's Energy Strategy

Reports have recently circulated of an agreement between Russia and the European Union (EU) for long-term energy sales. Europe wants more Russian oil and gas, but this does not mean that it will not continue to seek oil and gas from other Caspian countries. However, for Europe to take more oil and gas from Russia, new pipelines would have to be constructed, and this in turn would require a clear legal framework. The best step Russia can make right now in that direction is to ratify the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).

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November 1, 2000

Как России завоевать Европу

[This edited translation by of "Russia and Europe's Energy Strategy," published by Нефтегазовая Вертикаль, contains all the main points of the original text but re-arranges some of them and includes additional explanatory material for a more general Russophone readership.]

Между Россией и Европейским Союзом (ЕС) идет серия переговоров о новых соглашениях на долгосрочные поставки российских энергоносителей. Европа хочет заручиться гарантией значительного увеличения поставок нефти и газа из России на длительную перспективу. Имеющиеся транспортные магистрали справиться с дополнительным потоком энергоносителей не смогут. Строительство новых трубопроводов, в которых заинтересованы и Россия, и Европа, потребует значительного финансирования. Оно должно придти из Европы. Обсуждаемая формула "энергоносители за инвестиции" сможет работать только при наличии в стране ясной законодательной базы. Первым эффективным шагом России в этом направлении может стать ратификация Договора к Энергетической Хартии.

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November 8, 2000

Uzbekistan's Foreign Policy and Its Domestic Effects

The lack of economic momentum in Uzbekistan has led to a general decline of great-power interest in the country. In a vicious circle, Uzbekistan's profile in international and regional diplomacy has fallen in turn. Its response could be called an "all directions" strategy, after France's General De Gaulle's "tous azimuts" nuclear doctrine of the 1960s. But whereas De Gaulle targeted the source of every possible threat, even from allies, for President Karimov "all directions" means looking for help from whatever direction of the compass he can find it. This policy on the part of the government risks manifesting as an "every man for himself" policy for Uzbekistani individuals in their everyday lives.

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January 1, 2001

The Unanticipated Consequences of Policy Blindness: Why Even Belarus Matters

A dangerous blind spot in the incoming administration's view of Russian affairs is its inadequate understanding of the significance of the newly independent states (NIS). The unanticipated consequences of such policy blindness are exemplified by developments in the 1990s in Belarus, formerly called Byelorussia—a country sandwiched between Russia and Poland—sharing a border with Ukraine to the south and with Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest.

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January 15, 2001

U.S. Policy Must Be Sensitive to Ukraine's Balancing Act

Ukraine's positioning makes it a natural bridge between East and West. A wise U.S. foreign policy would be one that is sensitive to Ukraine's function as a bridge between Russia and the Western military alliance.

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January 31, 2001

Putin’s Caspian Diplomacy

The results of the recent visit by Russian president Vladimir Putin to Baku have received different interpretations in different media. This week’s column focuses on figuring out exactly what those results are, and what they mean, for the aspects of Russian-Azerbaijani relations that are most pertinent to Caspian Sea division and related issues.

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February 1, 2001

Just What Is "GUUAM" Anyway?

The GUAM formation (Georgia-Ukraine-Azerbaijan-Moldova) had its origin in the 1996 round of talks implementing the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. The four countries found they had a common opposition to the stationing of Russian weapons on their territory. GUAM became GUUAM when Uzbekistan joined in April 1999. According to recent reports, the GUUAM countries intend, in spring 2001, to institutionalize their cooperation by forming a permanent international organization. This organization will have its own secretariat (probably in Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine) and a small number of ancillary bodies but will have principally a coordinative function with no supranational authority. In response to this prospect, three schools of thought regarding GUUAM have begun to appear in Western, principally U.S., commentary and analysis.

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February 22, 2001

New Configurations around the Caspian (1/4)

In an official announcement, the government of Turkmenistan put its cards on the table concerning the diplomatic position that it plans to take on the demarcation of the Caspian Sea and the division of its resources at the summit meeting that will take place on March 8-9 in the port city of Turkmenbashi. This column analyses the content and significance of that announcement in the context of new developments in the region.

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March 21, 2001

New Configurations around the Caspian Sea (3/4)

The current, contradictory phase of events around the Caspian is captured by the difficult realism of Viktor Kalyuzhnyi, Russia's deputy foreign minister, who also serves as President Vladimir Putin's special envoy on Caspian affairs. As developments continue to accelerate, Russia is seeking to trace a course between the Scylla of hardball Realpolitik, which could alienate neighboring states, and the Charybdis of exclusively economic gain to the possible detriment of state interests. This contradiction is clearest in Russian policy towards Iran, which includes the question of influence over the choice of export pipelines for Kazakhstan's now undeniably significant energy resources.

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March 28, 2001

New Configurations around the Caspian Sea (4/4)

The selection several weeks ago of Italy's ENI as operator of the Offshore Kazakhstan International Operating Company (OKIOC), which is exploring the vast Kashagan deposit offshore from Kazakhstan, came as a surprise to most observers. Eni was a dark horse in OKIOC and not one of the front-runners to become operator.

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April 15, 2001

The Key West Conference on Nagorno-Karabakh: Preparing Peace In the South Caucasus?

In early April the United States is hosting a nearly week-long meeting in Key West, Florida, bringing together President Robert Kocharian of Armenia and President Heydar Aliev of Azerbaijan. This meeting is part of a continuing attempt to settle the conflict between the two countries over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. This region is an enclave in Azerbaijan settled by Armenians since the early nineteenth century, and from which the resident Azerbaijanis were chased during a war in the late 1980s.

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April 25, 2001

Five States (Still) in Search of a Caspian Sea Legal Regime

Following meetings with Turkmenistan's President Saparmurad Niyazov in Ashgabat, Viktor Kaluzhnyi, President Vladimir Putin's special envoy on Caspian affairs, announced earlier this month that the five-way summit to define the Caspian Sea's legal status and the question of its division into national sectors, planned for early April (and postponed from early March at Iran's request), would take place in the middle of the current month. He was contradicted a few days later by an announcement from Putin's own office that the summit would be indefinitely postponed, which turned out to be the case.

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May 8, 2001

Do all roads lead to Ashgabat?

The recent summit of Turkic-language countries in Ankara provided Turkmenistan's President Saparmurad Niyazov with the opportunity to insist yet again that his country and his person are central, if not key, to the resolution of major problems in the region. His suggestion that the next Turkic summit be held in Ashgabat inevitably recalls his plan for a summit of the Caspian Sea states in the port city of Turkmenbashi.

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May 23, 2001

Turkmenistani natural gas: The key to Ukraine's economy?

Two weeks ago, in the context of Turkmenistani President Saparmurad Niyazov's visit to Ankara for the Turkic-speaking countries' summit, this writer discussed how Ashgabat is currently situated in the "great game" over Caspian Sea energy resources, especially with respect to relations with Azerbaijan, the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) project and Caspian Sea demarcation. The discussion of Turkmenistan's position continues in light of Niyazov's subsequent visit to Ukraine.

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June 1, 2001

The Slovenia Summit: Bush Meets Putin

The first Bush-Putin meeting will not take place in a vacuum. Their one-day summit in Slovenia will come after Bush concludes a swing through Spain, Belgium, Poland, and Sweden (which currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union). President Vladimir Putin will have already assessed the new U.S. president personally through psychological profiling and consultations with European leaders who have met him. He already has his agenda, which is to use the meeting to influence European elite and public opinion, which is already skeptical about Washington's plans for National Missile Defense (NMD).

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July 4, 2001

Did Putin Shanghai Bush?

Only days before the Putin-Bush meeting in Ljubljana, an even more significant meeting took place in Shanghai between Putin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin, within the framework of the mechanism known until recently as the "Shanghai Five" or "Shanghai Forum". At the Shanghai meeting, Uzbekistan was welcomed as the institution's sixth full member. Documents were adopted bearing the titles, "Declaration of the Establishment of the 'Shanghai Cooperation Organization'" and the "Shanghai Covenant on the Suppression of Terrorism, Separatism and [Religious] Extremism". The name-change signals a move to establish a formal structure with a permanent secretariat in Shanghai, and to promote multilateral interministerial cooperation across a wide range of issue areas. It also signals, if one takes Beijing at its word, the incipient coalescence of a Sino-Russocentric geopolitical bloc in Asia. China's vision for such a bloc is to countervail any strategic vision that puts the United States at the forefront of twenty-first century global politics.

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August 30, 2001

Moldova/Transdnistria: Conflict Profile

History

In the late fifteenth century, what is now known as the Transdnistria--the region on the eastern bank of the Dnistr River and with the border of today's Ukraine for its eastern limit--was part of the Kingdom of Lithuania. By the mid-sixteenth century it had passed into the Ottoman Empire, of which it remained a part until the late eighteenth century, when the whole western coast of the Black Sea from Odessa to Varna (now in Bulgaria) became embroiled in military conflicts among the Ottoman, Russian, and Austrian Empires. From that era it emerged as part of the Russian Empire. After the Bolshevik Revolution and First World War, it became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, until Stalin redrew the internal borders of Moldavia and Ukraine in 1940, when it was attached to a remnant of the former Romanian province of Bessarabia to form the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic. There it remained until 1991, when it became part of independent Moldova.

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September 1, 2001

What Bin Laden and Global Warming Have in Common

Toward the end of President Bush's September 24[, 2001] statement about freezing terrorists' assets, one finds the overlooked but no less remarkable assertion that the U.S. is "working closely with the United Nations, the EU and through the G− 7/G−8 structure to limit the ability of terrorist organizations to take advantage of the international financial systems."

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September 12, 2001

The Caspian Pipeline Consortium Beats the Skeptics

Oil from the Tengiz deposit in western Kazakhstan is being pumped westward through a pipeline through southern Russia. The pipeline, built by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), has cost $2.6 million to construct: twice the originally estimated cost. It will have an initial capacity of somewhat less than 600,000 barrels per day (bpd). Its eventual full capacity will range from 1 to 1.5 million bpd. The date for loading the first tanker in Novorossiisk has been postponed several times, now likely to take place to be sometime in September.

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October 16, 2001

Abkhazia Again: The UN Helicopter Shootdown

Earlier this month, a helicopter carrying members of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) was shot down after taking off from Sukhumi, capital of the secessionist region of Abkhazia. It crashed, killing all nine on board. At first glance, it might seem that some party to the secessionist conflict whether Georgian, Russian, or Abkhaz--was trying to take advantage of the world's attention being focused on Afghanistan, in order to pursue tactical, strategic, or political aims in Georgia. However, the situation is more complicated than that.

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October 24, 2001

Georgia/Abkhazia: Conflict Profile

HISTORY

Roughly three millennia ago, two unions among tribes then inhabiting present-day Georgia established the political structures that survive in the written historical record. One of these unions was that of the Colchis, whose land Greek legend depicts in the myth of Jason and the Argonauts as the origin of the Golden Fleece. After the Colchis' kingdom weakened and fell, its eastern provinces constituted themselves a new kingdom called Kartli. At the same time, roughly about the time of Rome's founding according to the legend of Romulus and Remus (753 BC), the Greeks began colonizing the Black Sea coast in the west of the land. The cities they founded still survive. In the Abkhazia region, for example, Dioskuras is the forerunner of present-day Sukhumi, which the Abkhaz call "Sukhum" (the terminal "-i" being a syntactical Georgianization.)

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The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline: Off the Drawing-Boards and into the Field

The Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) has sought for nearly a decade to develop for export Azerbaijan’s “Contract of the Century” oil fields, i.e., the major offshore deposits in the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli sectors. As it was determined that the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline would go through Georgia, it acquired the name of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan route, or BTC for short. Only a few weeks ago, the AIOC announced its definitive decision to proceed with the construction of the BTC line, now expected to open in late 2004 or early 2005.

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October 25, 2001

The Anti-Terrorist Coalition: A "New World Order" Redux?

Just as the post-cold war transition to a new international system seemed to be ending, the terrorist acts of September 11 and the U.S. responses have re-opened the question of Central Asia's strategic orientation and, through that, the structure of the entire international system. Does the universal international endorsement of Washington's war on terrorism signify the rebirth of the "new world order" heralded in U.S. policy ten years ago? In particular, does it render irrelevant the Sino-Russian entente that has evolved over the past decade, including economic and military cooperation, and diplomatic coordination?

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October 28, 2001

Tskhinvali (South Ossetia), Georgia: Conflict Profile

History

The Russian Empire annexed Ossetia in the first decade of the nineteenth century. After the Bolshevik Revolution, this became in March 1918 the Ossetian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, renamed the Mountain Autonomous Republic in January 1920. In 1922, the section of this region south of the mountains became the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast within the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1989 it declared itself to be part of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, then declared itself sovereign in August 1990. In response, Georgia abolished South Ossetia's autonomous status within Georgia in December 1990. After South Ossetia declared independence (not internationally recognized, and as distinct from sovereignty) on November 28, 1991, Georgia in April 1992 reestablished the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast.

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November 21, 2001

The Shattering of the Sino-Russian Entente over the Shape of Central Asia?

Before the terrorist acts in New York City, the U.S. looked to be largely absent diplomatically and militarily, while limiting its economic presence to Caspian energy development in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Yet the formation of a U.S.-sponsored ‘global anti-terrorist coalition’ has not undercut the basis for the Sino-Russian rapprochement signaled by the institutionalization of the SCO and the signing of the first bilateral Sino-Russian treaty in fifty years.

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U.S. Intervention in Afghanistan: Implications for Central Asia

Just when it looked the Central Asian countries were facing the growing joint political hegemony of Russia and China in the region, the events of September 11 opened the door to an increased and indefinite-term U.S. military presence.

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February 27, 2002

Redrawing the Architecture of Central Asian Security

Washington has not only blocked the impending closure of Sino-Russian hegemony over Central Asia, but also finessed Russian strategic opposition to the American project for deploying a space-based defense. The new U.S. presence in Central Asia has reinforced the emerging post-Cold War reconnection of Central Asia with South and Southwest Asia. In geopolitical terms, Uzbekistan remains the "pivot" of the region. However, within the larger "shatterbelt" that Central Asia represents for the broader Eurasian landmass, the post-Nazarbaev future of Kazakhstan looms large.

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March 13, 2002

How Deeply Will Iran Penetrate the Evolving Eurasian Energy Networks?

In late 2000, the EU and Russia began extensive high-level commercial talks about the prospects for European importation of Russian energy resources over the course of coming decades. However, Russia's failure to pursue adequate investment in its natural gas industry would require significant capital outlay from the European side in order to increase imports significantly. In essence, an entirely new pipeline system would have to be constructed in order to satisfy Europe's upcoming energy requirements, whether in gas or in oil. Because it is ecologically cleaner, the EU had taken a policy decision in favor of gas. The European Commission began to look still more definitely towards Iran to satisfy at least some of its long-term gas demand, as well as to put price pressure on Russia.

Continue reading "How Deeply Will Iran Penetrate the Evolving Eurasian Energy Networks?" »

March 12, 2003

Russia Begins Oil Swaps with Iran

Iran has been seeking since the mid-1990s to undertake oil swaps with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan as a way to increase its own exports. Such swaps involve Iran’s importing oil in the north on its Caspian Sea coast for domestic refining and consumption, while exporting compensatory quantities to the world market from its southern ports on the Persian Gulf. This has been part and parcel of Iran’s strategy not only for developing its own energy sector but also for situating itself as an important transit country for international trade flows in general.

Continue reading "Russia Begins Oil Swaps with Iran" »

January 15, 2004

Emerging triangles: Russia-Kazakhstan-China

The significance of the agreements on energy cooperation achieved during Russian President Vladimir Putin's recently completed visit to Kazakhstan is only an indicator of the consolidation of deeper tectonic shifts in Eurasian security and economic affairs. A new triangle is emerging in East Central Eurasian geo-economics among Russia, Kazakhstan and China. (It is being complemented by the emergence of another such triangle in West Central Eurasia among Russia, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.) Energy cooperation is a linchpin of each of the emerging triangular ententes, but the ententes themselves go far beyond energy.

Continue reading "Emerging triangles: Russia-Kazakhstan-China" »

January 16, 2004

Новый треугольник Россия-Казахстан-Китай

В Евразии происходят глубинные тектонические сдвиги в области обеспечения безопасности и экономического сотрудничества.

Continue reading "Новый треугольник Россия-Казахстан-Китай" »

January 19, 2004

Из-за чего страдает рыба в Балхаше и океанариуме Астаны

На минувшей неделе пресса продолжила комментировать итоги недавнего визита президента Путина в Казахстан.

Continue reading "Из-за чего страдает рыба в Балхаше и океанариуме Астаны" »

March 24, 2004

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Moves into First Gear

After a slow start in 2002, the SCO's St.-Petersburg summit in May 2003 approved development of a military arm to assist SCO anti-terrorist cooperation. The organization’s first multilateral military exercise (called “Interaction-2003”) took place that August in Kazakhstan and China, although without Uzbekistan’s participation. In September of that year, the prime ministers of the member states agreed in Beijing to fund the SCO in the amount of $4 million during 2004, establishing its secretariat in Beijing (moved from Shanghai in accordance with a September 2002 decision) and the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure in Tashkent (rather than Bishkek, and beginning operations in January 2004).

Continue reading "The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Moves into First Gear" »

December 22, 2004

The Complexity of Central Eurasia

Since the end of the Cold War, global international relations are more clearly a "complex system," a self-organizing network rather than a top-down hierarchy. Superpowers (or at least one), great powers, and regional powers still exist, but middle-level phenomena have become important drivers in a world that now self-organizes from bottom up.

Continue reading "The Complexity of Central Eurasia" »

October 7, 2005

CACO integrate EurAsEc

The Central Asian Co-operation Organization (CACO, comprising Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and since October 2004 Russia) has taken a decision to meld itself into the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEc, which includes also Belarus and has until now excluded Uzbekistan). CACO, established in February 2002, started out in 1994 as the Central Asian Union (Kazakhstan+Kyrgyzstan+Uzbekistan) and changed its name to the Central Asian Economic Community when Tajikistan joined in 1998.

Continue reading "CACO integrate EurAsEc" »

February 12, 2006

Energy Security for Turkey Is Energy Security for Others

A geopolitical and geo-economic inventory of Turkey's assets in the middle of the first decade of the twenty-first century reveals such strengths, beyond its military capa-bilities and other state institutions, as industry, population, and, above all, geographic lo-cation. These are foremost among the instruments of the country’s national power that may be mobilized or put to the projection of national power and defense of national inter-est. The territory of the Turkish Republic, in comparison with that of its neighbors, does not hold vast quantities of energy resources (with the exception of coal). However, the country’s well-known geographic situation as a crossroads of continents makes it espe-cially well suited to pursue a policy as a facilitator of energy transport. This strategic di-mension of Turkey's new geopolitical environment provides unique opportunities for en-gagement in response to new policy challenges. It should become a central, indeed defin-ing feature of Turkish diplomacy in years to come.

The key issue identified in this essay, relating to the changes in Turkey's neighborhood and how Turkey might respond to them, is therefore energy security, both national and international. The “change in Turkey's neighborhood” (to adopt the lan-guage of the Call) that make this issue especially salient for Turkey is the increased sig-nificance of Eurasian energy resources towards the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, when world energy demand is growing faster than expected and prices have risen as a reflection of tighter supplies. This change holds implications for the whole of Turkey's immediate as well as extended neighborhood. It has already affected and will only affect more deeply Turkey's relations with the European Union, Russia, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Middle Eastern neighbors, and Central Asia, as well as Turkey's potential role in transatlantic relations.

Just as neighboring states are the regional international environment for the for-eign conduct of the Turkish Republic, so is Turkey a component of the international environment of other states in the neighborhood. The discussion here, of how Turkey might respond to these changes, sets out Turkey not just as a reactive but pro-active agent in both its immediate and extended neighborhood, an international actor not only respond-ing to changes but also capable of influencing their development by creating trends based upon Turkey's own elements of national power and its capacity to employ them not only for Turkey's benefit but also for that of its partners.

The first section of this essay reviews the evolution of Turkey's geo-economic situation in the changing regional and international environment over the past fifteen years, i.e., since the Soviet Union ceased to exist. The second section examines in greater detail Turkey's situation at the center of the compass of the Eurasian geo-economic envi-ronment. The third section draws policy recommendations on the basis of the preceding analysis. The concluding section of the essay ties the threads together and summarizes the argument.

Continue reading "Energy Security for Turkey Is Energy Security for Others" »

June 16, 2006

Politics of Oil Dominate Shanghai Summit

Analysts say the United States has reason to watch closely for signs of anti-American sentiments at the SCO. Robert Cutler, a senior research fellow at Carleton University in Canada, says the underlying purpose of the organization is for Russia and China to assert their influence in Central Asia. He says this is especially true of China, with its bid to secure energy resources.

Continue reading "Politics of Oil Dominate Shanghai Summit" »

June 26, 2006

Playing Oil Politics in the Caspian Sea

Robert Cutler, a senior fellow at the Institute of European and Russian Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, agrees that Russia’s political and economic strength is growing. He says it was clearly demonstrated by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his recent response to the European Union's call to sign on to a multilateral commerce treaty.

Continue reading "Playing Oil Politics in the Caspian Sea" »

November 6, 2006

Europe and the Future of NATO

It's not going to happen in Riga next month, but in five to ten years Europe (by which I mean "Europe" and not only the European Union, i.e., including the European countries as members of NATO) may have digested its 1989-1991 revolutions enough to be able to play a cooperative partnership role within NATO (by which I mean "NATO" and not only the U.S., not excluding in the end some EU capabilities).

Continue reading "Europe and the Future of NATO" »

February 28, 2007

A New Chance for the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline?

A significant indicator of Turkmenistan's future diplomatic and economic course is whether new President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov will undertake a rapprochement with Azerbaijan.

Continue reading "A New Chance for the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline?" »

July 18, 2008

EU's Central Asia partnership, one year on

The one-year anniversary of the EU's Partnership Strategy with Central Asia gets off to a slow start but is not without potential.

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November 27, 2008

Euro-Caspian energy plans inch forward

Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR and Kazakhstan's state monopoly KazMunaiGaz this month signed an agreement setting out the main principles for a transport system to convey Kazakhstani oil across the Caspian Sea for entry into the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline and subsequent re-export to world markets. This represents a step forward in the realization of the Kazakhstan-Caspian Transportation System (KCTS) that, while long discussed, has become Kazakhstan's response to Russia's unwillingness and/or inability to implement the long-promised doubling of the capacity of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) line.

Continue reading "Euro-Caspian energy plans inch forward" »

February 9, 2009

Meltdown in Iceland

Popular unrest and government collapse in Reykjavik in the wake of the ongoing global financial crisis are only the tip of the iceberg.

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March 27, 2009

Europe keeps Nabucco on life-support

The European Council, in a meeting principally devoted to determining the European Union's policy towards its eastern members and preparing an EU position for next week's Group of 20 summit in London, also took an important decision last week on energy with a compromise to keep plans for the Nabucco gas pipeline on life-support.

Continue reading "Europe keeps Nabucco on life-support" »

May 15, 2009

Nabucco starts to shape up

The European Union (EU) and Turkey have resolved two major differences that were preventing agreement on the terms for the Nabucco natural gas pipeline, and the Turkish President Abdullah Gul is reported to have promised that a signing ceremony will take place on June 25 in Ankara.

Continue reading "Nabucco starts to shape up " »

July 3, 2009

Nabucco is still alive

In a 1955 essay in The Economist, British historian C Northcote Parkinson formulated the now well-known "law" forever after eponymously associated with him, that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Another of his aphorisms, less well known but still more cogent, states that delay is the deadliest form of denial. While the European Union was for years up until a May summit in Prague threatened with this latter lesson, it may now be Turkey that needs to remember it.

Continue reading "Nabucco is still alive" »

July 16, 2009

Nabucco ink starts to flow

The signing this week of a transit agreement to govern the Nabucco natural gas pipeline marks an important staging post in bringing to reality the long-touted energy route, which is projected to run 3,300 kilometers from the Caspian Sea region to Europe. Yet it is important to understand what such a transit agreement is intended to do - and what it is not intended to do.

Continue reading "Nabucco ink starts to flow" »

July 31, 2009

Azərbayjan İran və Rusiyanın Xəzərdəki təlimlərini diqqətlə izləyir

İran və Rusiya arasında Xəzər dənizində başlayan ikigünlük birgə təlimlər digər Xəzəryanı dövlətlər - Azərbayjan, Türkmənistan və Qazaxıstan tərəfindən diqqətlə izlənilir. Bu barədə "Asiya Times" qəzetində Robert Katler yazıbdır.

Continue reading "Azərbayjan İran və Rusiyanın Xəzərdəki təlimlərini diqqətlə izləyir" »

August 1, 2009

Азербайджану стоит придерживаться прежней линии поведения в переговорном процессе по Нагорному Карабаху

Для мирного разрешения нагорно-карабахского конфликта Азербайджану стоит продолжать придерживаться той же стратегической линии, считает ведущий эксперт по странам Евразии, доктор Роберт Катлер (Robert Cutler).

Continue reading "Азербайджану стоит придерживаться прежней линии поведения в переговорном процессе по Нагорному Карабаху" »

Azerbaijan should adhere to principled strategic line in Nagorno-Karabakh talks: expert of Carleton University

Azerbaijan should adhere to the principled strategic line to peacefully resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, leading expert on Eurasian countries, Doctor Robert Cutler believes.

Continue reading "Azerbaijan should adhere to principled strategic line in Nagorno-Karabakh talks: expert of Carleton University" »

Эксперт по странам Евразии: «Азербайджану стоит придерживаться прежней линии в переговорном процессе по Нагорному Карабаху»

Для мирного разрешения нагорно-карабахского конфликта Азербайджану стоит продолжать придерживаться той же стратегической линии, считает ведущий эксперт по странам Евразии, доктор Роберт Катлер.

Continue reading "Эксперт по странам Евразии: «Азербайджану стоит придерживаться прежней линии в переговорном процессе по Нагорному Карабаху»" »

September 16, 2009

Узбекистан будет стараться сохранять членство в ОДКБ как можно дольше

Несмотря на пассивность Узбекистана в качестве члена Организации Договора о коллективной безопасности (ОДКБ), Ташкент будет стараться сохранить членство в организации как можно дольше, считают эксперты.

Continue reading "Узбекистан будет стараться сохранять членство в ОДКБ как можно дольше" »

Uzbekistan and the CSTO

Question:  Uzbekistan refused to take part in the Rapid Reaction Force (RRF) within Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) of the CIS. How long will Uzbekistan stay in this organization taking into consideration that the country ignores organization's projects? Why do you think so?

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«У Азербайджана ключевая роль»

Интервью Т. Теймурa (Day.Az) с канадским ученым, исследователем Института европейских, российских и евразийских учений Карлтонского университета, Робертом Катлером.

Continue reading "«У Азербайджана ключевая роль»" »

Azerbaijan has a key role to play in Nabucco project

Robert Cutler, Senior Research Fellow at Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at Carleton University spoke to Day.Az in an interview. Published under by-line of T. Teymur.

Continue reading "Azerbaijan has a key role to play in Nabucco project" »

September 17, 2009

Four-way street in Kazakhstan

The presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan ended their meeting in Kazakhstan's resort city of Kenderly last weekend with its purpose and consequences as clear as distant figures in an early autumn mist. Two elements did emerge more clearly than others - Turkmenistan's determination to diversify its energy export routes and to make future price talks with Russia tough going, and Iran's displeasure at not being invited to the party.

Continue reading "Four-way street in Kazakhstan" »

September 29, 2009

Обозреватель “Asia Times” Роберт Катлер считает

В 2002 году Тегеран негативно отреагировал на военные маневры России на Каспии и отказался направить на них военных наблюдателей. Теперь ситуация иная. Россия с большими сомнениями относится к энергетическим проектам в регионе, поддерживаемым США. Кроме того, Москва не удовлетворена тем, что администрация Обамы не пошла на компромисс по системе ПРО.

Continue reading "Обозреватель “Asia Times” Роберт Катлер считает" »

September 30, 2009

Эксперт по евразийской политике: «США высоко ценят проводимую Азербайджаном независимую политику»

Азербайджан является важнейшим звеном в транзите каспийской нефти на европейские рынки, отметил в ходе встречи с журналистами старший научный сотрудник Карлтонского университета, известный эксперт по евразийской политике профессор Роберт Катлер.

Continue reading "Эксперт по евразийской политике: «США высоко ценят проводимую Азербайджаном независимую политику»" »

October 5, 2009

Американский ученый не считает вероятным участие Aрмении в проекте газопровода «Набукко»

В самом деле попросту американский ученый, однозначно научный работник Института европейских, отечественных и евразийских изысканий Университета Карлтон Роберт Катлер не считает потенциальным роль Армении в плане газопровода «Набукко».

Continue reading "Американский ученый не считает вероятным участие Aрмении в проекте газопровода «Набукко»" »

January 15, 2010

Zoning In on Greece

The fiscal crisis between Athens and Brussels puts EU credit and currency problems in the spotlight.

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January 28, 2010

Reconfiguring Nabucco

With the entry of Iraq into the mix of potential suppliers of natural gas for the Nabucco pipeline to Europe and the proliferation of alternative supply lines beyond the Russian-sponsored rival South Stream pipeline, the "classical" variant of the Nabucco pipeline is undergoing significant modification, just as it moves closer to final realization.

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February 5, 2010

Ukraine poll may deliver oil to Europe

Ukraine's run-off election between Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and rival Viktor Yanukovych, to be held on Sunday, may decide the future of a pipeline that could be used to deliver Caspian Sea oil to Europe, bypassing both Russia and Turkey.

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February 17, 2010

Greek Tragedy Averted for Now

The EU has affirmed itself as the last resort to save Greece’s finances, but without making any specific promises and insisting that Greece must first do much more on its own.

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March 19, 2010

Stocks ride out Erdogan offensive

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent moves to weaken institutionally the two principal centers of resistance to the conservative-populist rule of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have met with little resistance from the country's stock markets, buoyed by positive trade figures and upgrades in Turkey's sovereign debt ratings.

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Brussels Fiddles While Athens Strikes

The EU is taking its time in deciding what real policy actions to implement regarding the crisis over Greek finances and the eurozone, but publics in Greece and elsewhere are not waiting to express their disenchantment with national and supranational elites.

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April 9, 2010

Ukraine seeks pipeline threesome

Ukraine's new government, formed by President Viktor Yanukovych after he was inaugurated in March, this week affirmed that the country's gas transportation network is for sale to no one, including Russian gas monopoly Gazprom. At the same time, Russia has made it clear that it is willing to cooperate with the European Union in any project to modernize the network, which includes more than 60,000 kilometers of pipe plus 71 compressed air plants and 13 underground gas storage facilities. Last year, it carried over three-quarters of natural gas exports from Russia to Europe.

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April 13, 2010

EU Uncritical of Turkish Constitution Plan

The EU should recall Talleyrand’s dictum that “the devil is in the details” when evaluating Turkish constitutional amendments proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, writes Robert M Cutler for ISN Security Watch.

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April 21, 2010

Complicating Cyprus

The election of Derviş Eroğlu as president in northern Cyprus complicates Turkey’s EU accession negotiations, as well as the already thorny negotiations over the island republic’s reunification.

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April 22, 2010

Komplikacja na Cyprze

Wybór Dervisa Eroglu na prezydenta w północnym Cyprze komplikuje negocjacje akcesyjne Turcji z UE jak również już wcześniej trudne negocjacje na temat zjednoczenia wyspiarskiej republiki.

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May 7, 2010

Greek General Strike Turns Tragic

In Brussels Fiddles While Athens Strikes seven weeks ago, the Neronic allusion was intended half in irony, half as warning: This week Athens burned; and it is not yet even summer, the season known in southern Europe for wildfires.

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May 21, 2010

Robert Katler: “Demokrat Partiyasının erməni lobbisinin fikirlərini nəzərə alması ABŞ dövlətinin Azərbaycanla bağlı enerji siyasətinə təsir edir”

“ABŞ doqquz aydan çoxdur ki, Bakıda müvəqqəti işlər vəkili səviyyəsində təmsil olunur. Bu, 1992-ci ildə yaranmış ABŞ-Azərbaycan münasibətlərinin tarixində ABŞ-ın Azərbaycan paytaxtında səfirsiz təmsil olunduğu ən üzün dövrdür. Bu cür vəziyyət isə istənilən halda ikitərəfli münasibətlərdə çətinlik yaradır”. Karlton Universitetinin (Carleton University) Avropa, Rusiya və Avrasiya Tədqiqatları İnstitutunun baş elmi işçisi Robert Katler (Robert M. Cutler) APA-nın Vaşinqtondakı müxbirinə belə deyib.

Continue reading "Robert Katler: “Demokrat Partiyasının erməni lobbisinin fikirlərini nəzərə alması ABŞ dövlətinin Azərbaycanla bağlı enerji siyasətinə təsir edir”" »

Роберт Катлер: «То, что Демократическая партия учитывает мнения армянского лобби, влияет на энергетическую политику США»

«Уже больше девяти месяцев США представлены в Баку временным поверенным в делах.» Со времени установления отношений между США и Азербайджаном в 1992 году, это самый долгий период представления интересов США в Баку без назначения посла. А такое положение, в любом случае, создает трудности в двусторонних отношениях». Об этом вашингтонскому корреспонденту АПА сказал главный научный сотрудник Исследовательского института Европы, России и Евразии Карлтонского Университета (Carleton University) Роберт Катлер.

Continue reading "Роберт Катлер: «То, что Демократическая партия учитывает мнения армянского лобби, влияет на энергетическую политику США»" »

June 3, 2010

Europe Sets Taxing Questions

In the wake of recent bank failures, high-level proposals suddenly abound for the taxation of financial transactions or financial institutions. But rather than give in to injunctions to "seize the time," we should instead observe Hippocrates' principle: “First, do no harm”.

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June 22, 2010

Nekünk Azerbajdzsán kell

Robert M. Cutler amerikai politológus-tanácsadó szerint a közép-európai országoknak muszáj együttműködniük az orosz befolyás csökkentéséért. Az oroszok a gázt politikai fegyverként használják, és a nagy nemzetközi vezetékekért folyó küzdelem akár fegyveres konfliktusok kitörésében is szerepet játszik. Az azeri gázmezők válthatják meg térségünket a moszkvai nyomástól.

Continue reading "Nekünk Azerbajdzsán kell" »

July 8, 2010

Russia tries a ménage à trois

With moderate fanfare, yet another multilateral economic cooperation agreement was signed among a limited number of the Soviet successor states this month, in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed up to a customs union in the margin of a meeting of the EurAsian Economic Community (EurAsEC), which also counts Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan as members.

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Россия пробует "любовь втроем"

В столице Казахстана Астане под несколько приглушенные звуки фанфар было заключено очередное многостороннее соглашение об экономическом сотрудничестве между некоторыми из стран-наследниц Советского Союза. На встрече Евроазиатского экономического сообщества (ЕврАзЭС) три его члена (Белоруссия, Казахстан и Россия) из пяти (остальные — это Таджикистан и Киргизия) подписали договор о вступлении в Таможенный союз.

Continue reading "Россия пробует "любовь втроем"" »

August 6, 2010

Stress-Testing European Banks

The results of the bank stress test in Europe have been greeted with widespread skepticism; even though financial markets seem calmer, the system is not yet out of the woods.

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August 10, 2010

Belgium Guides New EU Course

Belgium’s presidency of the European Council will not suffer from domestic Belgian political turmoil; indeed, the EU’s adjustment to the Lisbon Treaty’s new framework will likely be eased the fact that the Council’s new president is Belgian.

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August 19, 2010

The Black Sea’s West Coast Weighs In On Caspian Sea Basin Pipelines

Bulgaria and Romania have over the course of the summer been setting down their markers as regards the Nabucco and South Stream pipeline projects in an on-again, off-again manner. What they finally decide may determine which pipelines from the South Caucasus and Turkey get built where in Southeast Europe. Major investment decisions are also on the line in coming months. It is consequently little exaggeration to say that the next year, if not the next half-year, will set the main lines of the blueprint for Caspian/Black Sea hydrocarbon development for the better part of the oncoming decade.

Continue reading "The Black Sea’s West Coast Weighs In On Caspian Sea Basin Pipelines" »


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About Integration & Cooperation

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Robert M. Cutler on Energy and Eurasia in the Integration & Cooperation category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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