Now is The Time to increase U.S. Security Engagement in The Caspian
The time has arrived for the West to make significant and enduring changes to the security and economic arrangements in the South Caucasus and Central Asian states. Russia is a badly wounded state that has made its political and military actions unacceptable to a large segment of the citizenry and leaders in these regions. Further, Putin has revealed his revisionist and expansionist strategy that directly threatens its neighbors and the international security structure. The West — the United States in partnership with the European Union — can seize the strategic initiative to reorient the regional relationships away from Russian coercion and influence in both the economic and security sectors. Direct engagement and assistance are necessary to substantially increase the national preferences for Western partners in these key Sectors.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has turned into a prolonged conflict instead of a rapid coup de main. As a result, it is now a grinding war of attrition with Russian forces destroying all that lies in front of them despite being seriously degraded. The Ukrainian defenses, augmented with modern Western armaments, have proved to be up to the task of defending their homeland by inflicting astounding casualties on the invaders. Some estimates have the Russian forces losing nearly 30,000 killed and another 40-60,000 wounded in action. That is out of a force of around 170,000 troops in the initial invasion — around one-half of the original force has been either killed or wounded.