The neocons traditionally pooh-poohed the idea that the American forward policy in the Caucasus had anything to do with the new 1100 mile BTC (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan) pipeline for getting oil out of the Caspian Sea that runs from Azerbaijan north to Georgia then south to a Turkish port in the Levant. Instead, it was all about democracy! But for the last two weeks, we've been hearing from them about the pipeline as justification.
One question I've had is why wasn't the pipeline built on the most direct route, bypassing Georgia and running through Armenia instead? (Here's a map.) After all, Armenia has a ferocious lobby in America, making it unlikely the Russians would mess with Armenia. Wikipedia explains:
"The choice of a Turkish route meant oil export from Azerbaijan via either Georgia or Armenia. For several reasons a route through Armenia was politically inconvenient, due to regional tensions over Turkey's refusal to recognize the Armenian Genocide , as well as the unresolved military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. This left the circuitous Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey route as politically most expedient for the major parties, although it was longer and more expensive to build than the other options."
Ah, the intricate joys of Caucusus politics! Apparently, Armenia sides with far-off Russia because it hates its neighbors so much and vice-versa.
Multiple routes would encourage better behavior on the part of all concerned.