The four, and the other potential conflict areas mentioned above, for example Crimea in Ukraine, part of Russia for centuries until being ceded to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954, had belonged to the three federal republics they did until 1991 only within the context of the broader Soviet framework; once the latter ceased to exist, so too did the rationale for the autonomous republics remaining within new states that had never before existed as nations - Moldova and Ukraine - or, if so, not for centuries except for a three year period during the Russian civil war with Georgia from 1918–1921 and a two year interlude with Azerbaijan from 1918–1920.
The US and its NATO allies are past masters at fishing in troubled waters and in troubling the waters the better to fish in them, and the frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union allow the West to impede integration processes within the Commonwealth of Independent States, develop close military ties to the nations involved with them and increasingly to intervene in post-Soviet territory under the auspices of peacekeeping operations whether through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union or, the ultimate objective, NATO.
Most dangerously, the US and all its NATO allies have refused to ratify the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) arms treaty - which has only been approved by Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine (as successor states to the former Soviet Union) - and have justified their non-ratification by linking it to the withdrawal of small Russian peacekeeper contingents - mandated by the Commonwealth of Independent States and in at least one instance the United Nations - from Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdniester.
In the eighteen year interim since the treaty was negotiated until now numerous new nations have been created in Europe - Bosnia, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia (and of course the pseudo-state of Kosovo) - and in the South Caucasus Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia which are not signatories to it and which then could have US and NATO forces and arms stationed on their territories without any provisions made for Russia and the three other nations that have ratified the treaty to monitor them.
Such deployments are not limited to conventional weaponry.
At the 2006 summit in Kiev, Ukraine GUAM expanded its name to GUAM -Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, declared itself an international organization and announced the creation of a joint military ('peacekeeping') force.
The summit also laid out in more detail and candor why the US and its allies created and fostered GUAM, whose expanded format is the Esatern Partnership, to begin with:
"The creation of the bloc is a bold step in promoting energy supply routes linking the Caspian Sea basin and consumers in the E.U. allowing to reduce heavy dependence on Russian energy.
"One of the main projects to be promoted is launching supplies of Caspian Sea crude oil from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan via Georgian and Ukrainian pipelines to markets in Europe....-[T]he plan also calls for extending the Odessa-Brody pipeline to Plock of Poland, which is already hooked up with a major oil terminal and an oil refinery in Gdansk." (Ukrainian Journal, May 23, 2006)
The same report contains this important detail: "[T]he situation changed last year when Yushchenko, a pro-Western leader, had been inaugurated to the presidency in Ukraine and had pledged to replace Russian shipments with Caspian supplies. The pipeline would bypass Russia on the way to Ukraine and to the E.U...." (Ibid)
A Russian commentary of late last autumn reflected the last's paragraph's allusion to the role of putative "color revolutions" in strengthening GUAM's subservience to Western interests by remarking that the group "was created with a broad list of functions to combat Russian influence in the region, but remained largely unused, before the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and Mikhail Saakshvili’s coming to power in Georgia." (Russia Today, November 7, 2009)
The following year at its summit in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, a GUAM-US, GUAM-Japan, GUAM-Visegrad Four (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia), GUAM-Baltic and other new partnerships were launched.
In November of 2007 the US hosted a meeting of GUAM states national coordinators in Washington where "A special topic of the discussions was the assessment of the potential of Caspian Sea networks in the consolidation of the GUAM states' energy security and the present-day shape of the Nabucco Project." (Infotag [Moldova], November 2, 2007)
At the 2008 GUAM summit in Batumi, the capital of Georgian-subjugated Adjaria, "The sides [chartered a] course for the development of regional cooperation as a part of the European and Asian integration processes, and for strengthening partnership relations with the US, Poland, Japan and
other states as well as international organizations.
"The declaration expressed concern over the protracted conflicts, aggressive separatism...and underlined the importance of the international community’s support for the settlement of the conflicts."
(Azeri Press Agency, July 2, 2008)
David Merkel, Assistant to the US Secretary of State "said GUAM unites the Caspian and Black Sea regions and can fulfill the function of connecting
Central Asia with the Near East." (Georgian Public Broadcasting, July 1, 2008)