Catch-907 in the Caucasus

Catch-907 in the Caucasus

Mini Teaser: Baku, they say, is booming.

by Author(s): Thomas Goltz

In the event, "oil interests" (in the words of the American Journal of Commerce) managed to "defeat" the Porter Bill. The IRC need no longer keep medicines under tarps, and Shelter International can actually consult and coordinate with other European NGOs in Azerbaijan. Lest this be thought an Azeri victory in the halls of Congress, all other provisions of 907 remain in force, and Azerbaijan remains an official U.S. aid pariah. When Secretary of State-designate Madeleine Albright suggested in her nomination hearings that the State Department wanted 907 dropped completely, the ANC and the AAA immediately mounted a campaign to express Armenian displeasure. Whether the State Department will advance its case, and succeed in so doing, remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the Armenian political action committees may be very proud of the effectiveness of their efforts, but they are largely missing the point. If 907 and the related legislation was designed to somehow protect Armenia (and Karabakh) by restricting U.S. government-to-government aid to Azerbaijan, it is doing just the
opposite. It would be wiser for Armenia to contribute to good government in an important neighbor. It is in everyone's interest that those who walk the corridors of power in Baku (and Yerevan as well) learn that democratic pluralism is an inherently good thing, and that it is obtainable through sustained self-help and assistance
from friends. But thanks to 907, the message from the American Congress to all the governments in Azerbaijan that have come and gone since that dizzying day of independence nearly six years

Essay Types: Essay