Tuesday, 02 March 2021

E Editorial

Artsakh war and Geopolitics

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In 2020 the 1920 scenario was almost nearly repeated. Once again, based on Russian-Turkish agreement, Russia directly returned to the Caucasus, but this time through Armenia, unlike in 1920 when the Red Army entered the South Caucasus through Azerbaijan. In both cases, the West tried to prevent it, but "British ships" once again could not climb the Caucasus mountains. The struggle for the South Caucasus or, in general, for the whole Caucasus was waged among Russia, Turkey and Iran, however being under Western pressure, Iran could not directly intervene.

At the end of the 19th century, a new term, “political geography” began to be used in political science, which later became known as a separate theory, called “geopolitics.” According to geopolitics, state policies are determined by their geographical location, size, arrangement of mountains and rivers, access to seas and oceans or proximity to world trade routes. Many even attribute the mentality of nations to their geographical location.

Geopolitics is a comprehensive theory and it is not always unambiguous. Along with geopolitics, there are also new theories, such as geophilosophy and geoeconomics. It is clear that in this case “geo” as the root of those terms implies not "the world," but "geography." There is even a concept of "geographical intelligence.”

But let us return to our main theme. The West only made promises but failed to provide security guarantees or offer its own model of conflict resolution. Power is still respected in the Caucasus, and it is Turkey and Russia that are able to demonstrate power for now. And they did it.

Why is the history repeated? And, in general, how significant is the South Caucasus? It is obvious that real struggle for the control of this region has been for Azerbaijan аs the largest state in the region, a road to Central Asia, that has fuel resources. Georgia is the "corridor" of the Caucasus, the hub of communications. Armenia is the bulwark of the Caucasus, the gate that can be both opened and closed if needed.

Whoever rules the South Caucasus, will rule the North Caucasus, Central Asia, the Volga Basin in the future, and in this sense, the South Caucasus will always be the target of Turkey and Russia. In the 19th century the Caucasus was one of the places where the longest and bloodiest wars were fought, where the Caucasus mountaineers, with the support of Turkey and Britain, resisted Russian rule.

Times have changed, but the geography has remained the same. There are no longer "iron curtains" of the Soviet Union, and we once again face vicious circle.

The second Artsakh war was just another, but by no means the last stage of that great struggle.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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