The United States views cooperation with Armenia in the sphere of defense only in the framework of programs with NATO. However, one should realize that they are “preliminary” programs and different countries participate in IPAP in different ways.
NATO pays great attention to the state of democracy and issues relating to it have a negative impact on the relations of the Alliance with those countries. For example, Azerbaijan has a lot of issues relating to democracy but at the same time, it takes part actively in the logistics of NATO actions in Afghanistan and is seen as a reliable partner.
Armenia has relatively fewer issues in the sphere of democracy but its close relations with Russia and CSTO do not allow to create conditions for more reliable relations with the United States and NATO.
IPAP allows its participant countries to put forth different proposals and cooperate with NATO with a broader range, and Armenia may benefit if it has the will and resources. However, whatever is happening now limits that opportunity.
According to the American experts cooperating with the State Department and Pentagon, Russia’s influence on Armenia will intensify. In addition, Armenia will lose its sovereign rights to make decisions. Therefore, the U.S. political relations with Armenia have no prospects.
The officials of the U.S. Department of State think otherwise, finding that it is necessary to give Armenia greater opportunities for cooperation with NATO and the EU because Armenia was ready to develop those relations but quit that line under the strong pressure of Russia.
Currently the U.S. foreign policy has gained new lines and approaches, and one has to realize that foreign initiatives and proposals are rather important for the United States. If the United States decides to go for competitive relations or resistance, one has to be sure that these partners who need support are reliable.
Otherwise, it is hard to imagine successful development of relations. Armenia has to balance its real possibilities for decision making, which depends on the external and internal political situation of the countries and its leadership. Afterwards, it is necessary to develop proposals on the development of cooperation with the United States in the sphere of defense and security.
It is possible that an agreement is signed following the example of Georgia’s charter or is another format possible? These agreements may suppose two or three stages, and the prospects will be evaluated along with their development.
It is clear that Armenia is first of all interested in security guarantees. In this connection, it is possible to propose to include in the proposed agreement the request to the United States for assistance in case of aggression against Armenia which is possible in one way or another.
It is hard to tell how this application will be viewed in Pentagon where there are conservative moods. It is not clear how the military cooperation between the United States and Armenia will be combined with obligations to Russia and CSTO.
However, in case of certain procedures the United States may go for development of such relations with Armenia.
The U.S. political and military circles note that the “Armenian lobby” is not interested in the development of cooperation between the United States and Armenia in the sphere of defense. The activities of the “Armenian lobby” is limited to issues of recognition of the genocide, as well as some economic assistance to Armenia.
At the same time, the possibilities of the “Armenian lobby” are much bigger and it could use the levers of the relevant Congress committees. In this case, the administration could also have greater interest in Armenia’s proposals.