US government can influence US-Azerbaijan relations

Chuck Hagel’s former colleagues are to pass a final decision on his nomination as defense secretary. The hearings that lasted for about nine hours on Thursday differed from those on the nomination of John Kerry as secretary of state.

Heritage Foundation’s expert on Eurasia Ariel Cohen commented how the new appointments in US government can influence US-Azerbaijan relations.

"Both Kerry and Hagel will presumably formulate and conduct foreign and defense policy in accordance with American interests as they understand them. Even more importantly, they will carry President Obama's policy.

Clearly, having spent their careers in public life, they come with a luggage. Some of it perceived as positive by some and negative by others, such as Secretary Kerry's reportedly pro-Armenian position in the past, or Sen. Hagel past opposition to sanctions, and controversial stances on Israel, Iran, and Turkey-Armenia.

Azerbaijani leadership and diplomats will have a challenge: to reach out to both Kerry and Hagel -- if the latter is approved -- in an era of Iranian nuclear ambition, American retrenchment, shrinking military budgets, and complex changes in the Middle East, the Caucasus and Eurasia," – Cohen said.

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