Georgia's disastrous attack on South Ossetia has given Russia a perfect excuse to roll back US control of Azerbaijan's oil supply
End of the line: the final portion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline at the Ceyhan crude oil terminal in Turkey (taken on July 13 2006).
Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has watched with growing alarm how the successive US administrations have violated the promise made by President George HW Bush to respect the status quo existing at the time of the end of the cold war in 1990. The eastward expansion of Nato, which started during the Bill Clinton presidency, has covered not only the Baltic states, but also all of the east European members of the now-defunct Moscow-led Warsaw Pact. As if this were not enough, plans are being made to expand Nato to admit Ukraine, a former European constituent of the Soviet Union, and Georgia, a former Caucasian constituent of the Soviet Union.
Already, the Pentagon had established its presence in Georgia and Azerbaijan. It posted its officers to these Caucasian republics to train Georgian and Azeri forces to guard the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline – connecting Baku, the source of oil, with the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, in Turkey. Moreover, under guise of waging "war on terror", the Azeri government allowed the Pentagon to upgrade the Nasosnaya military airfield north of Baku. As I have discussed in my book Blood of the Earth, that gave the US greater flexibility in transporting troops and deploying its air power in the region.