Peacekeeping in the Caucuses Thesis

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Peacekeeping in the Caucuses

History provides the world with constant subjects for debate and for actions needed to be taken in order to improve the lives of those who are in pain. At the same time though, history has also been the source of tremendous legacies in terms of conflict, ethnic disturbances, as well as social and ethnic inequality. The examples are many and they can be seen as clearly indicating the fact that history is a continuous process which constructs the present and the future of our society. Thus, the conflicts from Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Liberia, Chad, and Kosovo all consist of evidence to support the idea that indeed actions from the past are always shaping the future.

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One of the most interesting and at the same time challenging regions of the world is the region of the Caucasus. Similar to the region of the Western Balkans, the region of the Caucasus represents the proof of decades of historical struggle for supremacy in the region as well as the discussions over the legality of power in different regions of this area. However the conflicts which emerged in the Caucasus have left the international community forced to intervene due to the massive casualties in terms of human losses and economic stagnation. Moreover, the state of uncertainty which characterizes the situation in the Caucasus also represents an important source for additional conflicts and for the spread of violence towards other regions of the world. these are only a few reasons for which the Caucasus have drew the attention of the international community which is now engaged, through various means of action, in the resolution of the problems arising in Armenia, Georgia, or Azerbaijan. For these reasons alone as well as for others which will be discussed in this paper, it is essential that the actions taken in order to deal with this situation also be discussed.

Thesis on Peacekeeping in the Caucuses Assignment

The paper addresses several aspects of the situation in the Caucasus. First, it is essential that a historical background be detailed in order to have a better understanding of the events that are contemporary. Second, given the large number of factors which are involved in the latent or obvious conflict situations, a geopolitical analysis must be taken into account. Third, as stated before, the international community has become deeply involved in the resolution of the issues which led to a stagnation of the development of the region. Therefore, several peacekeeping operations were or still are in place in the region. The pragmatism or idealist nature of these operations will also be discussed. Finally, the effects of the peacekeeping missions as well as the eventual developments for the future are also of particular interest for pointing out the situation in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.

Historical background

The history of the Caucuses cannot be considered as individual tails of a certain country, but rather it is far to say that unlike other regions of the world, each country was somewhat determined by its neighbor in choosing the path of its further development. However, even so, three of the most important countries in the Caucuses are Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia due to the wide range of issues arising between them as well as the geopolitical and geostrategic position of their territory. Regardless of this political perspective given to every detailed account of the history of these three countries, there are additional factors which come to complete the region's profile. In this sense, there are also religious, economic, as well as ethnic elements which fuel the tensions between the three actors. Finally, the presence of the Russian Federation as the most important element that decides the position of the three is crucial. In this sense, history was not possible without the presence of the Russian Federation and this is one of the reasons for which contemporary accounts of the situation of the three states begin with the disintegration of the U.S.S.R.

The three countries however were plagued by conflict for much of their history. Thus, "some of the hotbeds of interethnic conflicts in what was formerly the territory of the Soviet Union have existed for several centuries, while others are more recent. Full-scale military actions erupt in some of these areas; in others, political movements and groups expressing certain ethno national tendencies form. These two situations are the extremes in the range of intensity of interethnic conflicts. All of these situations are in flux, and a conflict can grow in intensity very rapidly." (Naumkin, 1994, 1) Therefore, it can be stated that the former Soviet Union transformed latent ethnic conflicts into active conflicts which resulted in clashes between the Armenians and the Azerbaijanis in the early years of the 90s.

The historical background focuses in particular on the relationship between Azerbaijan and Armenia. In this sense, Armenia with a largely Christian population was in constant conflict with Azerbaijan, a largely muslin and Turk country. Nonetheless, it is only at the beginning of the 20th century that the actual modern conflict emerged between the two. The major issue constituted the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which was created as a region of Azerbaijan but where the majority was Armenian, "the ration being two to one." (Calvocoressi, 1996) More precisely, conflict emerged and "first the Armenians won, then the Azerbaijanis, and then the Armenians again. Both camps believed that the entire blame for the wars was that of the Russians" (Calvocoressi, 1996). Historical evidence has pointed out that indeed, the separation of the Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh was largely due to the desire of the Soviet leaders following the First World War. Therefore, it can be said that history did in fact provide Armenia and Azerbaijan with a conflict which is in fact the creation of the most important factor in the region, Russia.

Concerning Georgia, it can be said that its historical destiny was and still is influenced by the Russian state. In this sense, from the end of the 19th century, at the time when the Georgian king offered the state to the Russian tsar, the country was no longer under sovereign control. (Hosbawn, 1995) More precisely, it was led by governors who exercised an increased Russian influence. Following the First World War, Georgia declared its independence but it would not be a lasting state of affairs as it was later incorporated in the Soviet Union. However, given the fact that the region in itself represents a mix of cultures, ethnicities, and religions, elements that the Soviet Union tried desperately to control, it was rather difficult to maintain or even create a homogenous structure of the society. Along with the communist doctrine which dominated the region and Georgia inevitably, ethnic tolerance was inexistent. This is one of the main reasons for which the conflicts which now plague Georgia mounted and are now of international interest. Thus, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and other parts of Georgia are seen as developing a high degree of risk for the region as well as for the world.

Taking into account these aspects of regional history, it can be said that indeed the most important fact which determined the way in which the history of these countries would evolve proves to be the Former USSR and the current Russian state. this is largely due to the increased economic and political dependence the three countries came to develop, an element which cannot be overlooked in a world that is becoming more and more interdependent.

The geopolitics of the region

One of the most important aspects to be taken into account when considering the conflict nature of the region is the form of government of the countries in the sense of its particular character. More precisely, there has always been a need for belonging to a particular ethnic construction which in the opinion of those fighting for independence in different corners of the world is embodied by the idea of national state. Therefore, "the government always has had an ethno-national character (because) in the Caucasus, historically distinct correlations have formed between the state-political and ethnic aspects" (Naumkin, 1994, 2). This is one of the main reasons for which the nationalistic views have been so important for the equilibrium of the region.

Another factor which has influenced the shape of the political, economic, as well as ethnic relations in the Caucuses is the lack of dominance of a major national group. The relatively divided region has allowed more and more tensions to amount in the conditions in which the history of the region is often discussed in terms of myths and ancient stories and events. Therefore, "the coincidence of the ethnic and religious boundaries, especially in the case of the three main peoples of Transcaucasia: Azerbaijanis, Georgians, and Armenians. The religious distinctions have intensified with the interethnic differences. The result is that the religious factor has promoted the processes of intra-ethnic consolidation and interethnic divergence." (Naumkin, 1994, 3)

These are important elements to be taken into account because they represent the parameters for any geopolitical analysis especially when considering the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Peacekeeping in the Caucuses.  (2008, August 5).  Retrieved April 12, 2021, from

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"Peacekeeping in the Caucuses."  5 August 2008.  Web.  12 April 2021. <>.

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"Peacekeeping in the Caucuses."  August 5, 2008.  Accessed April 12, 2021.