Alone before the storm: Armenia's options in a changing world -

Alone before the storm: Armenia's options in a changing world

Alone before the storm: Armenia's options in a changing world

Armenia and the Armenian world are facing critical challenges and threats related to breaking of the unipolar system and gradual formation of a new architecture of the world order. As an Armenian, I have always considered it my duty to use my accumulated knowledge and opportunities to strengthen the security and progress of my country. I tried to be useful as a scholar, expert and member of the opposition movement by becoming a member of the National Assembly. At a certain point, I decided to take a short break to try to understand the root causes of our mistakes and failures. Based on this, I begin the publication of a series of my analytical essays, say, reflections that would cover my personal subjective assessment of the ongoing processes. I have one goal here - to launch great debates in the Armenian world regarding fundamental issues that can literally determine our existence.
Finland's application to join NATO has become the most striking marker of the systemic breakdown of traditional principles that have been defining international relations for a long historical period. From 1809 to 1917 . Finland was formally a part of the Russian Empire, but had a high degree of autonomy. The Finns took the advantage of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and ensured that the new Soviet government headed by Lenin recognized the independence of Finland. Later, due to geopolitical territorial disputes, three Soviet-Finnish wars broke out. As a result of the last confrontation (1941-1944) the Soviets won a military victory, but from a political point of view, the Finns managed to avoid the occupation of their territory by providing Moscow with guarantees of maintaining its military-political neutrality. Thanks to wise diplomacy, they managed to form a balanced foreign policy strategy and obtain the status of a non-aligned country. This made it possible, being de facto under the influence of the USSR, to build a market model of the economy and democratic governmental institutions. This model of balancing has been evaluated in different ways, but from the point of view of a long-term strategy, it has proven its high effectiveness.  
Now official Helsinki is joining NATO, which marks the end of the era of "Finlandization" not only for the Finns themselves, but also for most actors. This means that we are facing the stage of dissenting camps and borderlines. Neutrality as an option is at risk and small countries and peoples are again facing a deadly challenge from the right and wrong side. The majority will have to make one choice or another sooner or later. Such is the will of history, so it was and so it will be. However, such situations open up unique opportunities for countries and peoples who are able to recognize and use their unique properties and competencies in a proper way. Armenians are one of such special peoples. More than 4 million Armenians live in the Euro-Atlantic geopolitical world, and most of them are concentrated in its central states – the United States and France.  The Eurasian world is on the other side with more than 5 million Armenians. Thus, the Armenians have a significant potential to create their own transnational network, which will harmoniously integrate into the new system of world order within the framework of the G-2 concept (a bipolar world led by the United States and China).

And the question is not only in the number. The Armenian ethnic group is historically one of the direct creators of these worlds; it has been and remains one of the system-forming elements of these worlds. It is deeply integrated into the political, economic, religious and cultural life of these worlds.  The factor of positive perception of the Armenian world on all continents is also important. No one oppressed or expelled Armenians, forced them to change their religion, or created boundary of a settled area for them. Unlike the same Jews, who achieved incomparably greater success not with the support, but against the will and desire of both worlds.  
The emergence of independent statehood after the collapse of the Soviet Union has opened a direct path to the unification of the Armenian-Atlantic and Armenian-Eurasian worlds into a single center. Armenia would become the first and only network-centric country among the post-Soviet ones and could quickly join the powerful transnational two - Israel and Ireland. Such a center embodied in Yerevan would become extremely popular for all major players, which would open the doors to global politics for the Armenian world as a neutral and independent entity. Only such a special status could become a specific guarantee of security; all other mechanisms (patronage of one actor or the change of one actor to another) were a priori doomed to failure. History has long proved that the shelf life of such mechanisms is negligibly short.
The defeat in the Artsakh war of 2020 and Yerevan's readiness to accept unilateral conditions of surrender on the part of Azerbaijan indicate the beginning of a new process of Armenia colonization. Geography and anthropology allow to assert that the so-called peace in the Transcaucasian region does not mean an equal partnership of all actors, but the dominance of one over the others. Armenia has missed its chance to become a supervisor of the Transcaucasus, and Baku took revenge, changed the regional configuration, which now the leading centers of power reckon with. Hence, the new reality has emerged – no one is against Azerbaijan taking over the function of operational control over the region and becoming a pillar of security of current and future geo-economic projects. This means that the degree of even formal independence of the Armenian statehood will depend on Baku. The logic of the development of further processes is simple – taking control over Syunik, Tavush and Gegharkunik (narrowing of living space) and the creation of proxy forces controlled by local Armenian groups that will advance to political positions and take a dominant position in law enforcement agencies (internal fracture). The final result is also obvious – the complete and final burning out of the last Armenian sovereign from its native habitat.  
A similar alignment of forces occurs here and now, but it can change at any moment. No one has canceled the timeless classic of Otto von Bismarck – "politics is the art of the possible." In the long-term confrontation of the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian worlds, there will always be many unknown variables, and "black swans" will arrive with enviable frequency. Threats, omissions and miscalculations will be replaced by explicit and hidden (more likely) opportunities that will need to be used in the first case just in time to use correctly, and in the second – to recognize and use in time. That is, time becomes the main resource, and Armenia cannot afford the luxury of wasting it. Local political groups should understand that they are fighting not for power, but for illusions, because there can be no national power in a colonized country. Being a governor does not mean being a power; it is nothing more than serving the interests of real power.
Arthur Ghazinyan is PhD in Law, Yerevan State University Associate Professor, Former MP of the National Assembly.

These views are his own.


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