U.S. Secretary Hillary Clinton will visit Armenia today. After a series of meetings in Armenia Mrs. Clinton will leave for Georgia, then for Azerbaijan. The main topics of discussion during this regional visit will clearly be the prospects of economic cooperation, ethnic and interstate conflicts. These are the declared areas which are discussed as stand-by topics. What other new things will be discussed between Clinton and the South Caucasian presidents will remain behind the closed doors.
In Armenia, another two topics add to Clinton’s discussion – NATO-Armenia relations and elections of May 6. The U.S. will insist on clarification of Armenia’s position, especially regarding the first.
The interesting thing, however, is not the issues discussed in the classic format of political discussions but the ideas that the U.S. Secretary’s visit generates in the social discourse. The Armenian National Committee of America has offered her a ten-point checklist for a successful visit. This checklist expresses the interests of the Diaspora and the Armenian cause, of course, which is not less important but it does not touch upon the political interests of the Republic of Armenia. Besides the fourth and fifth points the rest are either on Nagorno-Karabakh or a tougher attitude to Azerbaijan or the genocide. These priorities will certainly be discussed in the beginning. The problem is the following – besides the core discussion, will it be possible to discuss prospects of development with Hillary Clinton which will already assume the U.S.A.-Armenia format, not Armenia-world-U.S.A. (mediator). In addition, it will not be economic relations or the annual financial assistance to Armenia. It must be cooperation over technology and education.
In Armenia the ruling elite is either high-ranking militaries or people who come from the high-ranking militaries. Army modernization issues (NATO-Armenia) and security and political issues which are on the table of discussion with every diplomat need to be amended, if not reviewed.
After all, Armenia’s foreign policy prospects seem to have been built or to be built on issues which are the legacy of history. Certainly, as a state Armenia is responsible for the settlement of the Genocide in favor of Armenia and the Armenians worldwide. But has independent Armenia had any question which it can generate, formulate and ask the world?
The world has already got used to hearing similar questions from Armenia. Another question has added to the one whether the United States will donate us one of its dreams, a project of revolution. In this case, there is another social discourse, the opposition discourse which expects from the United States peculiar projects of salvation, guarantees of fair and transparent elections.
In other words, we continue to get in touch with the United States, the most powerful point of the world at the level of old questions or expectations. In this regard, one of the upcoming issues of government should be the conduct of a foreign policy based on internal strategies. In addition, in the case of the United States everything is clear. The “weakness” of the United States is education projects, technological and intellectual “goods”, and in most cases they implement their small internal policies in this dimension.
It is clear that Armenia will have a question to ask itself and the world, and will have to become involved in major economic projects and become an educational and intellectual supplier for the world, in this case for the United States, the biggest consumer market.
This issue, in other words, underestimation of internal strategies for education, culture, science, placing them inferior to foreign, military priorities, despite objective justifications, is a stereotype. The success of Armenia is measured by purely political and military interaction with the world. Domestic policy is also implemented this way, having the law-enforcement and security agencies as primary. The presence of the president also impacts this model. The latter is a figure of the security model and sets priorities on similar grounds. However, this model has been used up, and the government understands this.
The visits of the U.S. diplomats to Armenia require bringing up other theses on U.S.-Armenia direct interaction besides the expected American and ANCA dreams in the social discourse to propose alternative prospects.