The signing of a law on permanent normal trade relations with Russia last year is one of the successful diplomatic accomplishments of President Obama's first term, former congressman Mcmahon wrote in his article in Washington Times.
A normal trade relationship between the United States and Russia will bring business opportunities for American companies and transparency to Russian partners, Mcmahon said.
However, one former Soviet bloc country is singled out by a doctrine of U.S. foreign policy that is almost 21 years out of date and does not reflect the deep bilateral partnership between the United States and Azerbaijan, Mcmahon wrote.
During the breakup of the former Soviet Union in 1992, Congress, reacting to domestic political constituencies, passed Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act limiting direct U.S. aid to Azerbaijan. Responding to 9/11 and Azerbaijan's willing partnership in intelligence sharing, the granting of rights to overflights and providing logistical and strategic support, Congress in 2001 gave the president the ability to waive Section 907, the author said.
"Presidents George W. Bush and Obama have wisely used this to build an even stronger alliance between our two countries by invoking it on an annual basis," the author said.
The recent passage of the law on normal trade relations with Russia raises the question of Section 907 again, the author wrote.
Since 1992 Azerbaijan has proved itself a partner to the U.S. and a stalwart in the region. Azerbaijan has assisted the United States in the International Security Assistance Force for Afghanistan and remains a key strategic and logistical hub supporting U.S. missions
in the region, according to the article.
During my service as a member of Congress on the House Foreign Relations Committee I consistently advocated for the repeal of Section 907 to allow greater flexibility to engage in a deeper level of diplomatic relations with the Azerbaijani people," the author wrote.
From advancing energy projects to promoting democracy in the Muslim world, there are many cultural, economic, political and strategic ways that the United States and Azerbaijan can build a deeper partnership, according to the author.