The traditional monopoly of foreign policymaking by the Washington elite is being broken by American business and citizen diplomacy, Joshua Walker wrote in his article entitled "From Houston to Baku: America's Local Foreign Policymaking" on the warontherocks.com website.
"A good example of this is Houston's sister cities relationship with Baku, the capitol of Azerbaijan - a critical energy supplier, guarantor of regional stability, and ally of America, Israel, and Europe," the author said.
American policy has underappreciated smaller regional players like Azerbaijan, according to the article.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, dubbed the "Deal of the Century," put Azerbaijan on the map for most Americans, Walker wrote.
Even beyond the energy deals, the fact that Azerbaijan is still opening its airspace as a transit hub for U.S. forces as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and was the first Muslim-majority nation to send its armed forces to serve alongside American forces in Iraq, according to the author's article.
Azerbaijan is the culmination of three elemental tendencies that accentuate the pivotal nature of its geographic position, the article said. It is culturally and religiously infused with Persian heritage, while ethnically and linguistically Turkic, and historically part of the Russian and Soviet empires, Walker wrote.