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Welcoming Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov to Foggy Bottom in early May of this year, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could think of nothing more original to say than "Azerbaijan has a very strategic location that is one important not only to their country, but really, regionally and globally...." 
But what Clinton's effusion lacked in originality it compensated for in accuracy. Azerbaijan is as strategically situated as any nation in the world within the current contest between Western plans for global military domination and control of energy resources and contrasting efforts by other nations to secure a peaceful and multipolar international order.
Azerbaijan lies at the very center of what 20th Century British geographer Halford Mackinder named the Heartland - Eurasia from Eastern Europe to China - control over which would guarantee domination of what he termed the World Island (Eurasia, Africa and the Middle East), which in turn would allow for control of the entire world.