In its zeal to make foreign policy, a power entrusted by the Constitution to the executive branch, Congress may be making a serious error regarding American interests in the Caucasus. Recently Congress threatened to impose sanctions on Azerbaijan for its human rights shortcomings and authorized a small expenditure for demining in Nagorno-Karabakh.
These moves have, in turn, prompted several Azerbaijani officials to warn that they would then cut off ties to NATO if sanctions are imposed. While sanctions can serve useful purposes in U.S. foreign policy, e.g., Iran and Russia, they are not necessarily the answer to Azerbaijan’s policies at home. And funding Armenia, even if rhetorically and with minimal amounts of money, only exacerbates the situation.