A number of very interesting aspects to this NY Times article on how the Goergia War has impacted Azerbaijan. First, it illustrates how the argument that Russia will pay a longterm cost for its belligerence, while valid, is limited to those countries (and investors) who have a choice as to whether or not they deal with Russia, or who have little to fear from Russia’s demonstrated willingness to use military force. As this article makes clear, Azerbaijan meets neither of those criteria, and so it’s not surprising that “the chess board has been tilted.”
Second, while many analysts have focused on the stick aspect and apparent unpredictability of Russia’s invasion, they overlook the calculated carrots Moscow has been very clearly offering over the past six months to a year. The effect is to offer vulnerable countries a reassuring rationalization for falling in line with what amounts to intimidation:
In the aftermath of the conflict, Russia has also taken the initiative to try to mediate Azerbaijan’s own frozen conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenian separatists:
In the past, I’d predicted that Russia would show this kind of reasonableness by ultimately walking back its confrontational stance on Abkhazia and S. Ossetia. But remaining unreasonable in the resolution of Georgia’s territorial integrity might actually pay more dividends on being reasonable elsewhere.
Finally, this remark Musabayov jumped out at me:
That’s something America should probably take more into account, both with regards to calculating its demands of it friends, as well as in formulating more reasonable expectations of what we can achieve in different parts of the world.