BalkanBlog, Energy policy

Is GUUAM dead?

After “Cold War” US has all the while expanded its influence post-Soviet territory with aim to guide those region’s natural resources under US companies.  As stakes have been control over the oil and gas  of the Caspian Sea/Black Sea/Caucasus basin, and the control of multiple key energy pipelines criss-crossing the region.  Economical interests have been linked to political game e.g. Nato enlargement.  While EU has been more bystander Russia has during last couple of years weight down the scale in favour of its own interests by series of successful operations.

GUUAM & SRS

GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova) Group was founded 1999 with help of US to foster favourable conditions conducive to economic growth through development of an Europe-Caucasus-Asia transport corridor.  GUUAM was dominated by Anglo-American oil interests, ultimately purports to exclude Russia from oil and gas deposits in the Caspian area, as well as isolating Moscow politically.

From its part GUUAM was designed to support sc. Silk Road Strategy Act – adopted by US Cogress March 1999 –  which defined America’s broad economic and strategic interests in a region extending from the Mediterranean to Central Asia. The Silk Road Strategy (SRS) outlines a framework for the development of America’s business empire through development of an Europe-Caucasus-Asia transport corridor.  (More about this in my previous article “War on Pipes” Sep. 2008, in my Archive:Blog )

Cracks

Now GUUAM is coming to end of its short road.  Already earlier Uzbekistan withdraw from it leaving behind a stump GUAM.  Then Georgia started its aggressions with false idea of western support leading today’s situation and possibility to escalate to “small intensity war” between present Georgian leadership and separatist regions Abkhazia and South-Ossetia.

Moldova was aiming towards Nato and EU but after conflict in Georgia it started to look other alternatives.  Russia has offered its help to solve Moldova’s long term problem with Transdnistria and if a federation model will be accepted by local stakeholders it probably neutralizes Moldova’s position between US/EU and Russia.

Last weekend was also highlight of tendency where political attitudes of Azerbaijan and Russia have approached each other.  Russia again took the initiative acting as a mediator between Armenia and Azerbaijan to solve long term conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh and a common memorandum signed 2nd November 2008 is first step of solution.

The last piece of GUUAM is Ukraine, which is deeply divided pro-Russian East and pro-Nato/EU West.  When political struggle now has made cracks also inside western orientated part also this last fortress has degenerated to stagnation.

KO

Parallel with Russia’s able foreign policy the US actions have been short-sighted, weak and fruitless.  Waiting for elections and financial turmoil have took their part but in energy sector also some states in South-America have now more independent and selfish position than before.  Same time Iraq occupation is coming to end when also Alaska can keep its energy reserves when new US President takes his office the perspectives of US energy giants are more foggy than for a long time.

If one would like to see a bright side with this depression – or even knock out –  of US foreign/energy policy it could be the need to reduce pollutions and to support alternative energy solutions which at global scale could help to deal with clima change.

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6 thoughts on “Is GUUAM dead?

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  3. Very interesting article from somebody who appears to know very well what he is talking about. I have two questions:

    1. what has the withdrawal of US combat troops (leaving other troops and mercenary companies behind, as well as whole contingents that are simply put on the payroll of the State Department, to satisfy the agreement with the Iraqis) to do with energy reserves in Alaska?

    2. as the article seems to date back to spring 2009, can the author please update the information to the current situation, also in the light of the apparent differences between Putin and Medvedev?

  4. Not so good answers:

    1) As SRS and GUUAM failed especially after last elections in Ukraine the Anglo-American energy firms as part of military-industrial complex must find new markets. However I don’t see any real connection with energy reserves in Alaska. In near future the position of Alaska will come more important when new energy transport corridor via northern see regions will open as the Arctic Ocean melts more.
    2) I don’t see big difference at pragmatic level between Medvedev and Putin only the style and speech of President Medvedev is a bit softer than PM Putin’s. Today Russia can keep its southern corridor open, it has fairly good relations with Iran and it has improved during last year relations with Turkey quite a lot. Same time competition about energy resources e.g. in Caspian see has got new player as China opened pipeline from Turkmenistan to China.

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