It`s not a secret that the tussle of great powers for the post-Soviet area has intensified. Under these circumstances, the essence of the foreign policy of the countries located in this area is of great interest. Sovereignty and security matters are becoming more topical. The activity of the South Caucasus nations in this direction attracts the attention of experts. The analysis shows that Azerbaijan pursues an effective foreign policy in this more promising and strategic aspect. The principles and elements of this policy can be an example to follow for the region.
Principles of the flexible policy amid the changing geopolitical situation
Building relationship among nations is an uphill task at this juncture. The globalization process brought out a great deal of factors that are controversial in many aspects. This issue is more difficult for the countries who gained their independence. It`s not accidental that some countries of this kind are unable to ensure their full independence. Various forces put obstacles, great powers ratchet up pressure on them. This results in an extremely poor situation in terms of statehood.
Such cases have made the choice of the successful foreign policy of an independent state more topical. The priority directions of the policy pursued, setting real goals and diplomatic skills are placed on the forefront. These aspects can be clearly seen in the post-soviet countries. The effectiveness of the foreign policy pursued by Azerbaijan proves its worth with concrete facts.
The country`s foreign policy strategy was developed by national leader Heydar Aliyev. The national leader who determined ”the outlines of the foreign policy`s strategic line” took account of the requirements of the present day as well as the past experience with pinpoint accuracy (see: Elmar Mammadyarov. The Azerbaijani model of successful foreign policy strategy: achievements and prospects / “Azerbaycan” newspaper, 10 September 2013). It enabled to agree the ”opportunities for maneuver of our foreign policy and increase of the strategic depth” with ”ensuring sustainable development in the long run through successful energy and transport infrastructure development”.
This aspect of the matter is of principled geopolitical importance since not all countries can agree the diplomacy ensuring sustainable development and factors increasing strategic depth. It is necessary to take account of complex influence mechanisms of plenty of domestic and foreign factors. Azerbaijan`s energy policy has a very effective content. Heads of the leading countries acknowledged that.
It is good that this factor protects Azerbaijan from the ”tough geopolitical winds” blowing in the post-Soviet area. On top of all, Baku has embarked on a more active stage in foreign policy implementation. While many set the aim of self-defense in this area, Azerbaijan pursues the offensive diplomacy with proactive measures and cements its positions with the preventive steps (see: the previous source).
It is the result coming from the essence of the new instructions and tasks set for the foreign policy by President Ilham Aliyev. Azerbaijan achieves successes on all priority direction of the foreign policy.
New stage: an important factor of the regional stability
President Ilham Aliyev defined new instructions and tasks on 10 directions on September 21, 2012. Among them are “contribution to the development of multiculturalism and tolerance trends worldwide on the basis of the rich heritage of the Azerbaijani people formed for centuries”, “the continuation of the cultural diplomacy policy and international recognition of the Azerbaijani people`s rich cultural heritage” and “strengthening relations with and supporting activities of world Azerbaijanis and diaspora organizations”. These points show that the country`s foreign policy virtually reached a qualitatively new level.
It is necessary to realize that it is about the issues the great powers pay a serious attention to since these countries strengthen their influence through the spread of cultural, moral and other such values. This is referred to as a ”soft power” in the modern geopolitical theory. Azerbaijan is the only nation in the South Caucasus, which concretely pursues the ”cultural diplomacy” and possesses an accurately developed program. It is the logical foreign policy based on these principles that made our country strong enough to have its say in the international arena.
It is necessary to accept the recognition of the Khojali genocide in a number of parliaments of foreign countries as a direct result of the activity of Azerbaijan`s diplomacy in the above-mentioned areas. It should be noted that this policy in a broader sense serves the task of ensuring territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of borders of Azerbaijan. It can be called a historic achievement. The last thing is of special importance in the light of the ongoing geopolitical processes in the post-soviet area.
The point is that the great powers` embarking on a new stage of acute struggle for influence brought the countries located in this area face to face with a complex geopolitical situation. They have to be more active in order to protect their territorial integrity and ensure their security.
In this context, the importance of the spread of truths on Azerbaijan on a global scale, exposure of the Armenian lies and prevention of some purposeful anti-Azerbaijan campaigns is increasing in the foreign policy. Along with the use of the classic methods in the foreign policy, Baku also effectively utilized the “soft power” factor to become an exemplary state in the region. President Ilham Aliyev`s ideas provided below accurately stated the essence of the foreign policy. The Head of State said at an event marking the Novruz holiday, ”Our foreign policy is totally independent and relies on the national interests of the people of Azerbaijan. We protect our national interests with honor and success. I can say that the influence of Azerbaijani state is increasing in the processes taking place in the region today. In many cases, it is Azerbaijan that initiated international projects” (see: President Ilham Aliyev: Our foreign policy is totally independent and relies on the national interests of the people of Azerbaijan / Azerbaijan Newspaper, March 21, 2014).
These ideas of the country`s leadership points to the contributions made by Azerbaijan to the regional cooperation. In this direction, all aims of the foreign policy are consistently fulfilled. It is proved by the content of the topics discussed recently by Baku with foreign politicians. Azerbaijan places a special emphasis on development of bilateral relations with foreign countries. It continues to come forward with the initiatives to develop bilateral political, economic, cultural and humanitarian relations.
Amidst the steps taken by Baku, Armenia is seen to have been caught in a helpless situation. Official Yerevan is unable to provide solid arguments. Latest events show that this country has no concrete foreign policy at all. Praised shortly before, the Armenian government has resigned now. This uncertainty and confusion show that Yerevan acts in line with the orders coming from outside.
Azerbaijan seems to have an effective foreign policy in a complicated geopolitical situation. The policy defined is being constantly developed and enriched with new shades. It`s no coincidence that Azerbaijan is accepted as the most promising country in the South Caucasus. There is no doubt that this image will stay for a long time.