Tuesday, 02 June 2020

E Editorial

The Uncertainty of International Relations and Artsakh

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The mainline issue of Artsakh continues to top Armenia’s domestic political agenda.  And beginning in 1988, when it became the supreme question on the pan-national agenda, at the same time it started being exploited by the forces in and aspiring to power.  Sincere concern and political exploitation became intertwined.

Today as well it is difficult to distinguish true concern from exploitation.  But let us leave such intra-political matters and try to understand what is happening in the world and particularly in the interrelations among the co-chair countries of the (OSCE) Minsk Group—the United States, Russia, and France.  It should be comprehensible that these states approach the Artsakh case from the vantage point of their national interests, and their interrelations are important for us.

Before the First World War many were aware that something was terribly wrong.  The contradictions that had arisen among the great powers, according to those theorists, had been unsolvable, which could lead to global conflict.  The principal reason was a multi-vectoral world in which there was not one clear-cut leading nation, and international platforms where such disputes could be resolved had not yet been formed.  And it was not until after World War One that an attempt was made to create one such platform—the League of Nations—but the organization was not viable, though its experience was employed for the later establishment of the United Nations.

There was a specialized opinion that the Second World War was a mere continuation of the first because many questions remained unresolved, which in itself carried a danger of outbreak of renewed conflicts.  And after World War Two a simpler scenario prevailed with the appearance of two powerful poles—the USA and the Soviet Union.  The remaining countries had to choose their side, and for those who decided not to align the game was on.  These, however, were predictable relations in the course of which international platforms were formulated—the UN, CSCE (OSCE), Council of Europe, EU, and military pacts such as NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

Today, as the United States is divided between the globalists and the conservatives; as the European Union is buried in internal contradictions and EU member-states are once again trying to figure out what that structure’s mission and value system really are; while Great Britain has decided to exit that union; and whereas the OSCE is paralyzed to a point that it is incapable of clearly specifying the identity of its main adversary—Russia, China, international terrorism, or something else—international relations have found themselves in the depths of uncertainty.

The United Nations also finds itself in such a predicament.  Unserious talk about subjecting that institution to true reform has remained in suspense; now is not the time.

This uncertainty is especially manifest in our region.  The semi-war situation of the Middle East, Turkey’s invasion of Syria, its military positioning in Qatar and desire to dispatch troops to Lebanon, the advent of its activity in Libya and its renewed bid to lead the “Turkic world” further exacerbate the state of the broader region.

Against this background to speak of a regulation of the Artsakh question—and under the auspices of the international community at that—is, most naturally, unrealistic.  Principally from this flows the circumstance that any progress in the Artsakh case is divorced from realistic expectation at this point.  Any extreme measure taken in a world steeped in uncertainty and an area on the threshold of war might mean detonation for an entire macroregion.

For the time being, our intra-political discourse should focus on the challenges of efficiency of the economy, national harmony, and army-building.  But, alas, that is not the case.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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