Over the entire course of human history, there always has been some hegemon that uses violence to enact its will, set up its own rules and attack any opposition: Greece and Rome, Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, the Ottoman and British Empires, Napoleon and Hitler. ... This is, of course, an incomplete and arbitrary list. In times closer to our own, the tendency toward hegemony has not disappeared but has assumed more subtle forms.
The last time the political center changed was after World War II. Old Europe consumed itself, and the young Soviet Union was victorious in a most bloody war but was weakened by it. The situation maximally favored the U.S. The war never reached its territories and suffered only minimal losses, which nevertheless did not stop it from joining the ranks of the victors. As a spoil of victory, it began to quickly build military bases around the whole world. But most importantly, it closed the European League of Nations and organized the American United Nations. It achieved its goal with the destruction of the USSR. For some time, experts agreed that the world was unipolar, but quickly the idea of globalism began to shake at the seams. Washington decided that it was most important to keep the world in constant shock. To do this, there were various putsches, revolutions and replacements of one dictator with another. And then came the local wars. This planting of “democracy” has resulted in punitive actions taken by governmental forces. One after another came in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya and Syria. Now it’s Iran’s turn.
The recent arrival of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s caravan is of a similar type. Local chiefs will eagerly follow what comes of this visit. Clinton’s last regional inspection tour started from Yerevan, continued to Batumi and concluded in Baku. In each of these states, she stated some goal for the visit, although it was clear to everyone that she was far more interested in the attitude of local elites and the general population toward Iran. If the U.S. and its allies start military operations against Iran, they will need the Caucasus as a base for the assault.
In Yerevan, Armenia, Clinton met with President Serzh Sargsyan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduard Nalbandyan. She showed unease at the lack of progress on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in which Armenian violations of the cease-fire with Azerbaijan have assumed a regular character. A different, important question is Armenian-Turkish relations. Washington has repeatedly made recommendations that the peace process continue, since it weakens the influence of Russia in Armenia. But there is another reason. In return for carrying out negotiations to end the blockade of the Armenian-Turkish border, Washington is demanding a tougher Armenian position on Iran, a fellow isolated state with whom Yerevan enjoys a close relationship. The opening of the Turkish border could send this “special understanding” up in smoke, and Armenian cussedness could become a problem on an international scale. So, Washington doesn’t particularly depend on Armenia for help in resolving the Iran question.
Georgia is a different matter. Some here have wised up and now recognize that Iran keeps its promises and will strike out at anyone it perceives as a threat. The Iranians are fully capable of striking Tblisi with a dirty bomb, rendering the Georgian capital uninhabitable. But if the West decides that Georgian participation in a war is necessary, then there is a way to wriggle out of it. Of course, Georgian experts are very hopeful that Georgia’s role in an anti-Iranian coalition will be limited to providing humanitarian services, but this is just an illusion.
Tblisi’s official line, which they have rushed to spread, is that no talks about Georgian support for the U.S. in a conflict against Iran are being held. The senior editor of the analytical military journal “Arsenali,” Irakli Aladashvili, said, “Georgia in no way can help the U.S. in a military action against Iran, even if it becomes necessary for the Americans. Georgia doesn’t border Iran, and in order to strike Iranian territory from the north, the U.S. will need an agreement not only from Georgia, but also from Yerevan and Baku.” But such words are a defense analyst comforting himself. It’s clear to everyone that Georgia is being drawn into an adventure that can only end with catastrophe. South Ossetia, as a country of the region, also cannot remain on the sidelines. It must choose a position, and in doing so, the presence of Russian troops will certainly play a role. Of course, no one from Iran is going to shoot at Tskhinvali, but it’s entirely possible that there will be a mass stream of refugees from Georgia, creating fear of an Iranian rocket strike.
In Batumi, Clinton had one more message concerning us. She stated that the U.S., through its representatives, will distribute neutral passports for “inhabitants of occupied territories of Georgia.” She even added that “The United States views this as a step toward reconciliation, which will facilitate freedom of travel and could reduce tensions and build links between people without compromising Georgia’s sovereignty.” The Georgian ambassador to the U.S., Temuri Yakobashvili, cheapened the delight: “Of course the U.S. won’t give out any passports. It’s just a document confirming one’s identity, but it doesn’t show any nationality on it. It gives the carrier the right to visit governments that recognize this neutral passport as a legitimate document.” Today, this pseudo-passport is recognized by Japan, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia and Ireland.
In South Ossetia and Abkhazia, they say that they knew about this meaningless law long ago and are not at all excited about it. Only one question remains unanswered: To what degree is the U.S. neutral passport policy connected to the Iran problem?
As for Azerbaijan, Washington is not at all worried about their position toward Iran. The fractured relations between Baku and Tehran speak for themselves. “Azerbaijan is more than ready to be drawn into an anti-Iranian action. There have always been tensions between Azerbaijan and Iran, but their current willingness to escalate to conflict comes from the hope of Azerbaijani leaders that they will receive a prize for participating in a conflict. And that prize is Nagorno-Karabakh,” said Konstantin Zatulin, leader of the Institute of CIS States.
As a result, one can draw several conclusions. It’s clear that war in Iran will not bring dividends for any Caucasian state. Moreover, for some of them it would be ruinous. Armenia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh will always be against this military adventure. Georgia will try to maintain its neutrality. As for Azerbaijan, it will most likely run headlong into the war, even if the majority of Azeris live in Iran. The approaching war in Iran will blow the Caucasus apart.