The South Caucasus has been a region that endured the yolk of Russian influence and hegemony since the 1800s. When Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union held direct rule over the region, ethnic violence based on illogical border manipulations by Moscow produced perpetual conflicts seen today.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are prime examples of ethnic and territorial disputes that emerged thanks to the Kremlin. As a result, both nations have been in a perpetual cycle of violence with minimal chance of lasting peace.

Several wars have occurred between both South Caucasus nations in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. However, to solidify its hardline rule, Moscow took advantage of the ethnic tensions instead of mitigating the violence between both countries.

Now that Russia has begun a self-implosion due to its faltering imperial ambitions in Ukraine, the United States can no longer stay idle in a region it historically neglected compared to the other areas that broke away from Moscow after the collapse of the USSR.

Status of the South Caucasus

Georgia, though having a pro-Russian government, has fought back against a Kremlin-backed foreign agents law and continues to push for European Union membership. NATO and the EU abandoned Tbilisi in a failed appeasement venture during the 2008 war, and from this, Moscow became emboldened. Despite the difficulties of having Russian troops occupy 20% of their nation, Georgians still dream of a chance of western integration post-Russian hegemony akin to Eastern Europe.

The other two South Caucasus nations, Armenia and Azerbaijan are on the brink of another potential war. This one could be even more brutal than the 2020 war, which shocked international news organizations. The forty-four-day war saw Azerbaijan’s use of drones used effectively, which changed the face of modern warfare.

Feeling impatient that Yerevan has not implemented the Zangezur corridor, Baku has amassed forces in the Karabakh region and on Armenia’s southern borders. A renewed military aggression has far more regional and, perhaps, global implications than any other previous conflict between the two.

Regional Consequences if Another War takes Place

Cutting off Armenia’s Syunik province is a red line for Iran, which considers Armenia its last true friendly neighboring state. There is also a major trade route between both nations that has endured for hundreds of years. With Russia militarily crippled and diplomatically ruined, Azerbaijan looks to strike.