Russia, the United States, and the Caucasus
Dr R Craig Nation
Monograph by the US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute
"The Caucasus region consists of the new independent states of the Southern Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia) and the Russian federal region of the Northern Caucasus, including war-torn Chechnya. In the post-Soviet period, it has become one of the most volatile and potentially unstable regions in world politics. Fragile state structures, a series of unresolved or “frozen” secessionist conflicts, and widespread poverty generate popular dissatisfaction and political instability. The region covers a major “fault line” between Christian and Islamic civilizations, and confessional rivalry, together with the rise of Islamic radicalism, have become sources of friction. Despite these inherent challenges, the hydrocarbon reserves of the Caspian basin also have attracted significant great power competitive engagement."