The US must take a stronger role in addressing three key challenges in Azerbaijan: energy development, with support for a new natural gas pipeline to Europe; democratic reforms, especially those that ensure free speech; and peace with Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Oil and natural gas often drive world politics, for better and for worse. Such is the case today with natural gas in a little-watched nation, Azerbaijan. This former Soviet Republic is still in a transition to democracy – and what happens there matters very much to US interests, particularly when it comes to Russia. The United States must take a stronger role in addressing three key challenges in Azerbaijan: energy development, democracy, and peace.