« Youtube-Seeing and Believing | Main | Cyber-Recon »

December 22, 2008


Cannoneer No. 4

The US is working on the idea of ferrying cargo for Afghanistan via the Black Sea to the port of Poti in Georgia and then dispatching it through the territories of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. A branch line could also go from Georgia via Azerbaijan to the Turkmen-Afghan border.

The project, if it materializes, will be a geopolitical coup - the biggest ever that Washington would have swung in post-Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus. At one stroke, the US will be tying up military cooperation at the bilateral level with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Furthermore, the US will be effectively drawing these countries closer into NATO's partnership programs. Georgia, in particular, gets a privileged status as the key transit country -- All roads lead out of Afghanistan


That route seems relatively easy for the Russians to disrupt if Poti is the entry point, but it is true that given supply difficulties in Pakistan we should be looking for alternate routes. I also question, however, the "coup" nature of this--as many of the other countries may be playing both ends of the table for their own benefit.

The root of the problem though, is that we take a big risk by putting a strategic tripwire over Georgia. Its political class is immature and has revanchist dreams, they are easy for Putin to manipulate and provoke. And should Russia cross the tripwire we are faced with the choice of escalation or forfeiting our military credibility.

The comments to this entry are closed.