Caucasus Survey, 2(1-2), 2014, pp. 79-129.
This article examines the ways in which Azerbaijan’s energy abundance and the energy diplomacy the latter made possible—combined with inherent weaknesses attending the state’s young post-colonial polity—conditioned the limits of the desirable by which the country’s post-independence elite was guided and, as such, limited the range of directions—cognitive and spatial—in which Azerbaijan’s foreign policy evolved during the first decade following independence. The study then examines how energy-induced growth in state capacity on the one hand, and the perceived failure of the state’s previous practices to help resolve outstanding security problems on the other, coupled with the effects of a number of endogenous and exogenous shocks (particularly, the colour revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine; Kosovo’s recognition by the West; the Russia-Georgia 2008 war; global economic crisis; and Turkey’s short-lived attempt at rapprochement with Armenia) and the perceptual shifts those shockwaves worked to engender, served to broaden the spatial and conceptual boundaries within which Azerbaijan’s foreign policy practices were conceived and effected, including by virtue of the energy resources the country has got in possession. The paper concludes by tracing the particular ways in which the broadening and deepening of the country’s foreign policy practices have occurred.