Day.Az interviews Joshua Kucera , Washington, DC,-based writer who specializes in security issues in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East. He is the editor of EurasiaNet's Bug Pit blog.
-What changes we should expect in the U.S. foreign policy towards the post-Soviet space from President Obama’s renewed team?
- I don't expect there to be any big changes in the policy toward the post-Soviet space. In general, the U.S. is going to be decreasing its involvement in the region. For the next couple of years it will focus on getting its forces out of Afghanistan, and for that it will need the help of countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus. But after that, the U.S. really won't have any strong interests in the region. But all of that is driven by U.S. interests, not by the beliefs of the individuals in the new foreign policy team. -John Kerry, nominated as next US secretary of state, is known for his pro-Armenian views and relations with the Armenian lobby. Whether his sympathies can affect US foreign policy?
I don't think so. Kerry doesn't represent Massachusetts any more, he represents the U.S. So whatever he does won't be dictated by political needs to appeal to Armenian-American voters. Remember, both Obama and Hillary Clinton favored Armenian genocide recognition while they were in the Senate, but now that they are in top positions, they haven't done anything to advance that policy, because Turkey is a higher national priority than Armenia.- During her visit to the South Caucasus last summer, Secretary of the State Hillary Clinton promised that the US will be more active in the Karabakh settlement. Will new Secretary of State follow that course?
I doubt it, but it probably depends on Armenia and Azerbaijan. They have not shown any interest in moving closer to peace recently, so it's not clear why the U.S. or anyone else would think that this is now a good opportunity.
- What you can say about rumors on the intention of the U.S. and Israel to use the Azerbaijani territory to attack Iran? What is behind these rumors?
It's hard to say where the rumors are coming from. In an atmosphere where there is a great thirst for information, but very little real information, rumors spread easily, and that's probably what's happening here. It would surprise me if Azerbaijan actually allowed Israel to use its territory for an attack. Azerbaijan has almost nothing to gain from such a policy and a lot to lose, since Iran could easily retaliate.- Do you expect a war of the West against Iran and how it can affect the South Caucasus?
I don't expect a war soon, but it's hard to predict. And the effects on the South Caucasus are even harder to predict, and would of course depend on how the war proceeded. But it might not affect the Caucasus very much.