Neoclassical realism: foreign policymaking in the South Caucasus
The states of the South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) each have remarkably different interests and orientations when it comes to their foreign policy. One would think that 3 small Post-Soviet states occupying the same geographical region, with common histories of domination by neighbouring powers, would have operate in similar ways towards their larger neighbours and the rest of the world. In point of fact, the opposite is true – each state has its own unique orientation, which can be seen clearest in the way each state conducts its own foreign policy. There is, of course, a multitude of reasons explaining this divergence in foreign policy. Using a neoclassical realist theoretical basis, this study aims to examine foreign policy by identifying both system- and unit-level variables that have influenced foreign policy in the countries of the South Caucasus since gaining their independence while testing the applicability of a theory for small state foreign policy analysis. Drawing upon information gathered from primary interviews with foreign policy experts in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, the study shows that unit-level intervening variables do have some influence on foreign policy making at various times and under various conditions. As such, the study demonstrates the utility of neoclassical realism in small state foreign policy analysis.
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