The Game's Getting Complicated: Armenia's Only Hope

  • Politics - 17 August 2016, 00:06
Armenia has appeared in the zone of culmination of nonsense, and despite minimum interest to it from the side of the West, it is impossible not to notice that.

Russia pointed Armenia, toughly and openly, to its place in the “belt” of protection of Russia’s national interests. And no matter how this situation was presented in semi-official statements (there have been no official ones), Armenia became a rival and enemy of NATO and the United States.

The Armenian community is not capable of understanding what happened, especially that the greater part of the Armenian mass media worked for Russia’s interests. It would have been strange if they had treated Armenia otherwise but it will be stated officially at one time.

In addition, the West has never taken CSTO seriously because this military bloc does not exist, whereas Armenia’s obligations to Russia and its state of a vassal is quite serious from the point of view of defense and national interests of the West.

CSTO fell to pieces from the first shot, whereas Armenia will remain a target in case of a possible military conflict.

Aside from the statements of the representatives of the State Department on the U.S. intentions to develop relations with Armenia, the Congress resolution on Russia’s pressure on the members of the Eastern Partnership mentions Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova but not Armenia. And this is not accidental.

Armenia has been omitted from the U.S. intentions to conduct a relevant policy on the Eastern Partnership. However, some intentions of the United States and NATO on the South Caucasus remain, and these goals are not limited to short-term arrangements.

At present, the notion of “corridor” used in relation to the South Caucasus 10 years ago has been forgotten. However, a “corridor” takes two walls, not one, i.e. Russia in the north and Turkey and Iran in the south.

In this case, Iran is not a principal issue. It is about the clash of interests of Russia and Turkey and maintenance of the space in the South Caucasus that is “free” from their influence.

It has not been achieved sufficiently. Nevertheless, a lot has been arranged, even under such strong influence of Turkey and Russia.

Provided the absence of sufficient political experience of the current ruling elite, Georgia has been able to configure its relations with the West and Russia, ensuring successful development of relations with both sides.

Azerbaijan remains under the aegis of the West until it runs out of oil and it will pass under Turkey’s aegis after running out of oil (now this is happening partly).

However, neither Georgia, nor Azerbaijan can contain Turkey’s expansion but this does not fit their interests. Armenia is devoted to this goal. In addition, the Russian military base in Armenia is seen by the United States as an element of Turkey’s containment (the West has never expressed a “wish” to withdraw the Russian base from the territory of Armenia).

The current state of affairs meets the interests of the West to make sure the balance of forces is observed, and to sustain the adversity of Turkey and Russia. Whether Russia wants it or not, its presence in Armenia is a function planned by the West that meets its interests.

Russia’s policy on Turkey, with a lot of goals and problems, includes a full reversal of strategies, i.e. the intention to avoid the adversity with Turkey and a review of the military-political positions as a factor that is against NATO and Turkey.

Turkey is headed for this but it fears even the slightest distance from the United States and NATO. Without these relations its international status declines catastrophically.

In this connection, in the strategy of the West, Armenia is a factor in the adversity between Turkey and Russia though this circumstance may be successfully overcome. The game is complicated, even if we do not forget that Turkey remains a NATO member though the relations between them are nearly critical.

While the European Union experiences discomfort and a sense of defeat in the result of Russian pressure on the members of the Eastern Partnership, this is not an emergency for the United States. Like after the war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008, Georgia’s position has hardly changed because the next stage of suzerainty of Armenia has hardly changed anything in its situation.

Both before the shameful act of September 3 and now Armenia’s opportunities to make decisions have not been sovereign and depended greatly on Russia.

Unlike modern Europe, the United States runs into such tricks in international politics many times and is hardly surprised at anything.

At the same time, unlike its neighbors in the South Caucasus, Armenia has not only mental abilities but also the motivation to carry out certain goals which are necessary for the strategies of the United States and the West.

In addition, the current conditions and approaches in the U.S. foreign policy, cardinal changes in the style and devices of the foreign policy, limitation of a large-scale foreign intervention supposes strengthening of the importance of new partners of NATO, i.e. countries which actively cooperate with it without being members of the alliance.

Russia will try to force Armenia to refrain from any kind of cooperation with NATO. And this has been an unpleasant precedent for the alliance.

Certainly, the United States and their European partners do not intend to view Armenia only as a factor of containment of Turkey but they want to use the problems of Armenia in relation to pressure on Russia. First of all, the West intends to “normalize” relations between Turkey and Armenia and open it up in the Western direction.

At the same time, there will be initiatives, or rather pressure in regard to the Karabakh topic. As is known, Russia fears the loss of initiatives on these two issues, as well as, what is more unacceptable, stationing of the peacekeeping contingent of NATO member states in the area of the Karabakh conflict.

Until September 3 the position of the West was absolutely different – the European Union even worked on unblocking the Abkhazian direction.

In this game there is only one positive hope, namely at some stage the United States and Iran will agree to set up new communications for Armenia. And Russia does realize this.

What is awaiting us in this direction? The goals are corrected very fast, especially that all the options have been worked out well. However, no matter how the possible options are worked out, now and for a long time Azerbaijan will be the leading partner of the United States, NATO and the West in the South Caucasus.

Armenia is not a partner. Armenia is a factor and an instrument, not a partner.

The game has become complicated, which would allow even smaller actors to play their game but it takes one thing – sovereignty.