Armenia’s Bleak Future Thanks to US Neocons 

US neocon efforts to stir up trouble in the Caucasus via Armenia will likely only force other countries in the region closer together and isolate Armenia. Neocon think tanks in Washington like the RAND Corporation and Middle East Media Research Institute have long advocated for stirring up trouble in the South Caucasus as another way to weaken Russia and Iran and potentially cause a rift between the two. Instead the opposite is likely to happen. This is an absolute worst case scenario for Armenia as it has allowed itself to become a proxy battleground between world and regional powers and will almost certainly end disastrously for the country.

To quickly recap recent events: Azerbaijan launched an “anti-terrorism” offensive against the long-contested region of Nagorno Karabakh on September 19. Azerbaijan has been blockading the lone road that leads to the region of Nagorno-Karabakh since December. Ever since the breakup of the USSR, Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave recognized as Azerbaijani territory by the international community but mostly populated by ethnic Armenians.

Azerbaijan taking the region by force comes after months of miscalculations or purposeful maneuvering by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Under Pashinyan’s direction Armenia recently hosted military exercises with the US, invited the EU and Washington into the peace process with Azerbaijan (traditionally handled by Russia), the prime minister’s wife visited Kiev to deliver humanitarian aid, and on Thursday the Armenian parliament moved closer to adopting the Rome Statute, which Moscow calls a “hostile move.”

Was Pashinyan making loud overtures to the West in an ill-fated attempt to coax more support from Russia in the long conflict with Azerbaijan or was he simply maneuvering to blame Russia for the loss of Nagorno Karabakh and move Armenia closer to NATO, the EU, and Washington?Either way, he got in over his head.  He has now given away Nagorno Karabakh with nothing to show for it.

It’s possible that Pashinyan was caught up in magical thinking that he had more support from Washington despite the fact the US has no real way to project power into the Caucasus. After all, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was demanding in July that Azerbaijan immediately reopen the Lachin Corridor, which is the sole road that connects Armenia to Nagorno Karabakh. Nancy Pelosi went to Armenia last September and pledged “the strong and ongoing support of the United States.” Members of Congress had also been making noise about more support for Yerevan and stronger opposition to Azerbaijan. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov recently said, “We have information that they [the West] are signaling to the Armenians, ‘Come to us, kick the Russians out of your territory, remove the [Russian] military base and border guards too, the Americans will help to ensure your security.’”

Well, Armenia is still waiting for the US support, and for now Pashinyan is left holding the bag and flailing about. While he blames Russia, he’s also tried to downplay claims of mass casualties and backed the ceasefire brokered by Moscow. Pashinyan will now meet with his Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev October 5, potentially for a wider peace deal. The blaming of Russia for the loss of Nagorno has unleashed widespread anger in Armenia.

Ironically, Pashinyan who came to power via a color revolution with a more nationalist message, now might be deposed via a color revolution by more nationalist forces. Who that might be remains to be seen, but the mood in Armenia – stirred up by Pashinyan – is now one of anger over betrayal and not just by Russia.

Pashinyan has managed to alienate Armenia’s two allies in the South Caucasus (Russia and Iran) while emboldening the two hostile countries on opposite sides (Turkiye and Azerbaijan).

Events have spun out of control for the Armenian prime minister, which begs the question: What were his intentions to begin with? If goal was to offload the Nagorno issue and go all in with the EU, NATO, and Washington, he got his wish. Did he not anticipate the domestic backlash?

Armenians are certainly upset with Russia, as Pashinyan and friends have tried to direct popular anger in the direction of Moscow. But Armenians are also furious with Pashinyan for ceding Nagorno in his statements earlier this year and then standing by while Azerbaijan took control. Thousands have been protesting in Yerevan calling for Pashinyan’s resignation. His ruling party failing to win a majority in recent  municipality elections has only added to questions about Pashinyan’s legitimacy.

Polling earlier this year after Pashinyan recognised Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan showed that more than 80 percent of Armenians viewed that decision in an unfavorable light, and more than 70 percent viewed his overall performance as negative. Those numbers are likely  even higher now after Azerbaijan’s takeover of Nagorno Karabakh.

In such an environment, a new Western-backed color revolution to install someone that could take advantage of the current popular anger to push even more anti-Russian policies is not out of the question.

Outlook for the Region

While some analysts have declared that 30 years of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is now ending because the latter has taken control of Nagorno Karabakh, there’s also a strong possibility that this is just the beginning of a new awful chapter. Because Armenia has thrown in with the West thereby alienating its two backers in the region (Russia and Iran), its concerns will no longer be given much weight as transportation and trade deals are worked out.

That could result in more lost territory for Armenia or a bypassing of the country altogether. Because the US overplayed its hand, alarming others in the region, it will force Russia, Turkiye, Azerbaijan, and Iran to the table to iron out wrinkles in regional security and bring them closer together.

A major sticking point between Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey ever since the 2020 war between Armenia and Azerbaijan has been a transportation corridor between Azerbaijan and its Nakhchivan exclave wedged between Armenia, Turkiye, and Iran.

The problem for Azerbaijan and Turkiye, which also wants the corridor in order to fulfill a long dream to connect Central Asia’s Turkic republics to Turkey proper via Azerbaijan, had been that Russia restrained these ambitions, but the actions of the Pashinyan government have made that position less tenable.

There is also the issue of Iran, however. Tehran has said such a corridor is a red line, as it would mean goods and energy could flow freely between Azerbaijan and Turkiye without having to be rerouted through Iran, thereby eliminating the lucrative fees Tehran charges for such transfers. This is part of the reason Iran is so opposed to such a plan and has beefed up its presence along its border with Armenia.

The nine-point ceasefire agreement signed under Russian mediation that ended the 2020 war included a  stipulation that Armenia is responsible for ensuring the security of transport links between the western regions of Azerbaijan and the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, facilitating the unhindered movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo in both directions. Azerbaijan and Turkiye have latched onto that point, insisting they have the right to set up transportation links through southern Armenia.

Turkey’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure recently noted that Turkey will start work on the opening of the “Zangezur corridor” in the coming months. Baku and Ankara will likely move cautiously, as noted by bne Intellinews:

One hypothesis advanced by analysts is that Aliyev is wary of putting too much pressure on Armenian leader Nikol Pashinyan in the wake of Azerbaijan’s crushing of what was left of the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh (the name the ethnic-Armenians gave to their internationally unrecognised breakaway state) because he does not want to see Pashinyan toppled amid Armenian outrage over the fate of the enclave and replaced by a revanchist administration that might have designs on launching an attempt to take back the lost lands.

But it is clear that Azerbaijan and Turkiye are determined for the corridor to become a reality sooner rather than later. Both have proceeded since the 2020 war as if the corridor is on the verge of becoming a reality. Since then, they have been working on highways and rail lines where the only missing link is the roughly 10-mile stretch through Armenia. Back in January Aliyev declared that the project “will happen whether Armenia wants it to or not.”

Last week, Erdogan and Aliyev met in Nakhichevan to discuss the corridor. Erdogan told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday the following:

“We expect a comprehensive peace agreement between the two countries (Azerbaijan and Armenia) as soon as possible and for promises to be quickly fulfilled, especially on the opening of the Zangezur (land) corridor.”

Should Pashinyan and Aliyev fail to come to an agreement, it is now more likely a deal will be worked out between Turkiye, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Russia regardless of what Armenia wants. Pashinyan’s actions have provided the impetus for a solution to what had previously looked like an intractable problem. According to Erdogan, Tehran is already signaling that it is open to negotiation with Ankara and Baku on the Zangezur issue.

No doubt, Turkey and Iran have work to do to reach some level of understanding on influence in the Caucasus. For example, in response to the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict, Tehran is proposing that talks be held in the 3+3 format (the three Caucasus countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia and the three periphery power players: Russia, Turkey, and Iran). Erdogan is instead pushing  2+2 meetings that would involve Russia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

But at the end of the day, Ankara and Tehran will find common ground because all parties, save Armenia, want the West to play no role in any negotiations, nor do they want the West meddling in the region in general.

In a September 21 call between Putin and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, the Russian president said that Russia will continue pushing for a lasting peace in the region, as well as the unblocking of regional transport links. That is almost certainly referring to the Zangezur Corridor. While Turkey and Azerbaijan push for the East-West route, Moscow is also determined to see a North-South route that will provide quicker transport of goods to and from India. From Russia Briefing:

One of the priorities of India and Russia is the development and uninterrupted operation of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) connecting Russia, Iran, and India, and which is a priority for Moscow, Tehran and New Delhi. The corridor is seen as a secure way for Russia to link with the Global South. With three branches of the corridor running through the Caspian region, Moscow intends to connect with Iran and India. The recent signing of the financing agreement for the last remaining connectivity of the Rasht-Astara railway between Moscow and Tehran is expected give a major boost to India-Russia trade. It should finally be operational towards the end of 2024…

Compared to the traditional route through the Suez Canal, the route along the north-south corridor is 40% shorter and 30% cheaper.

Azerbaijan is a key player in the INSTC, and Russia, which remains the big player in the Caucasus despite Western media claiming otherwise, wants stability in the region, as it is also vitally important to Moscow’s route to the Middle East. It had tried to maintain the peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia with the latter’s wishes forming part of its calculus. Recall that it was Russia that ended the 2020 war and imposed an agreement on Armenia and Azerbaijan, which preserved the fragile status quo. Without Russia’s support, Azerbaijan, which enjoyed the military advantage, could have mostly taken what it wanted from Armenia.

Despite that, Pashinyan has tried to make Russia the scapegoat for the loss of Nagorno Karabakh, which makes zero sense. Moscow had been trying to facilitate a fair peace agreement for Yerevan despite Nagorno Karabakh being already internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan and the fact Baku held a military advantage.

And it was Pashinyan who went off script and declared during his May 17 address at the Fourth Council of Europe summit in Reykjavik that his government was ready to recognize Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Nagorno. This announcement came three days after his latest EU-mediated meeting with Aliyev.

During the recent annual Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Putin argued that the current situation in Nagorno is a direct result of that decision by Pashinyan:

The President of Azerbaijan is now telling me, well, you know that Armenia has admitted that Karabakh is ours, that the issue of Karabakh’s status is closed…What should we say? There is nothing we can say…If Armenia recognized that Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan…then what are we talking about? This is the key component of the whole problem. The status of Karabakh was decided by Armenia itself.

What Does the West Gain from Armenia’s “Defection”?

The spook-run Middle East Media Research Institute gloats that this is some sort of symbolic victory against Moscow as it proves Russia doesn’t uphold its end of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which is made up of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. Presumably Washington will now tell other former Soviet states that Russia cannot be trusted, etc. Will that carry any weight? It’s unlikely.

In reality, it’s just more short-term thinking by Washington with attempts to weaken Russia at any cost. We see how well that worked for Ukraine. Armenia hopefully won’t suffer a similar fate, but it will be isolated in the region and weakened. Its economy could suffer a major blow. It was profiting handsomely from being a go between the West and Russia. If Armenia continues to “move West,” its position in the Eurasian Economic Union could be tenuous.

Additionally, this will prove to be another major miscalculation by Washington neocons in the long run. It will be  another effort to foment conflict that instead will intensify cooperation. Hopes of an Iran-Russia split over the issue have been dashed. And it looks like the dreams of using an Azerbaijan-Iran conflict to destabilize the latter are also dead.

In the end, it’s a temporary media-narrative victory that means absolutely nothing other than pain for Armenians. Then again, that’s the neocons’ chief export so what else could we expect?

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  1. Alan Roxdale

    This guy Pashinyan seems to be a crash course case study in why neocon interventionism is a terrible idea. I think they’re going to write textbook chapters about this.

    1. Altandmain

      In the long run, the people of Armenia are going to realize that they have been taken for quite a ride by their puppet leader and the American neoconservatives. As the article notes, this will actually hurt the cause of the US in the long run, and the Armenian people.

      Unfortunately for Armenia, when they inevitably have to crawl back into the arms of the Russians, asking for forgiveness, it will be in a far weaker position. Pashinyan is likely to go down in history as a failed leader, perhaps being compared to the Georgian former leader Mikheil Saakashvili, another failed US puppet.

  2. The Rev Kev

    Pashinyan could not have done a better job of wrecking Armenia’s strategic position if he had been working for Azerbaijan intelligence. If the guy thought that the US/EU were going to go all in and defend the country, then he has not been paying attention to the news how the west has been drained of weapons and ammo. Georgia borders their north so surely he remembered how much help they were given when they went to war against Russia. Zip. And where exactly would any US/EU troops stage through from to help them out? Turkiye? I don’t think so. As far as I can see, the only way that Armenia stop Azerbaijan seizing the Zangazur corridor is to – with the help of Iran and Russia – establish an international corridor that cuts across that corridor.

    There is another factor to consider. More than 100,000 people have fled the Nagorno-Karabakh region into Armenia and that country itself only has a population of some 2.791 million. This diaspora in Armenia know that they were sold out by Pashinyan and it may well destabilize Armenia itself and they will have the numbers to do it. My back of the envelope calculations shows that 1 in 29 people in Armenia are from the Nagorno-Karabakh region and they will make their influence known. I think that the countries of the Global majority are about to see an object lesson in what happens when you let western Neocons set your country on fire for their own benefit.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Occurs to me that much the same could be said of Zelensky. My suspicious mind wonders if maybe Z is actually a very deep plant of the GRU, since everything he has done on the national and world stage seems directly lined up with Russia’s long-term stated objectives of demilitarization and denazification, not just of Ukraine (which is one foot in the grave as a nation-state) but NATO/FUKUS. Z has pretty good credentials as an actor/clown, and sure seemed to be happy with Russia earlier in his strange career. But nah, that could never be the case…

      Of course the way the neocon arson works, the target mope country’s people never seem to see what’s being done to them (CIA VERY proud of its ability to “coup whoever they want”) as the process ramps up, and then seldom perceive the identity of the real bad actors hiding behind modified limited hangouts and plausible deniability and of course fog of war and deluge of Bernays conditioning.

  3. vao

    Right after his election, Pashinyan multiplied contacts with Western countries — especially France and the USA — steering Armenia away from its main patron, Russia.

    Right before the 2020 war, he sacked the top echelon of Armenia’s military and intelligence services, deemed too Russia-orientated and opposition-friendly, putting more dependable personnel in place. This was often decried as having plunged the leadership of Armenian forces into disarray — with Azerbaijan taking advantage of the situation.

    Right after the 2020 defeat against Azerbaijan, Pashinyan got into a serious dispute with the military, and a fraction of the population incensed by the outcome of the war. But neither internal dissent, nor the defeat prevented him from being re-elected.

    And now, as you very well describe, his apparently illogical moves (antagonizing Russia, admitting that Nagorno-Karabakh legally belongs to Azerbaijan, not lifting a finger to help Armenian populations from that territory, etc) led to a complete military and diplomatic rout for Armenia.

    Note that at no point in that long story were Western countries of any help. My impression is therefore twofold:

    (1) Pashinyan, with the fraction of the Armenian population supporting him, are set on the idea to break away from Russia and Iran, and join the Western-led “international community” — no matter the difficulties and the cost. Nagorno-Karabakh is a deplorable setback, but ultimately considered expendable, and can even serve as a (hypocritical) argument against Russia. Pashinyan will not veer away from his main objective, even if it is ultimately detrimental to the interests of Armenia.

    (2) Pashinyan is a character; his whole career, from University through journalism to politics, was quite bumpy, distinguished by its agitative nature. He might thing he has been manoeuvering shrewdly so far, but to me he seems no match for his Turkish, Azeri, and Iranian neighbours, not to mention the Russians.

    If he is really overestimating his abilities to navigate the redoubtably complex diplomatic environment in the Caucasus, then Armenia is in for objectively bad surprises — but I doubt this will put brakes on his plan to pivot to West.

  4. .Tom

    What are Armenia’s political options in the near term? I asked a friend in Yerevan if Pashinyan’s government will survive and got the answer that he hopes so because the leaders of the current protests are pawns of Robert Kocharyan and if they come to power then Armenia will return to autocracy.

  5. John R Moffett

    The rest of the world has finally figured out that the US just sows chaos around the world in order to maintain dominance. The obvious response of rational people would be to band together to resist the US chaos machine. The US got away with doing this for many decades after WWII, but now their schemes are running into brick (or BRICS) walls around the world. It will only go downhill from here if the US persists in pissing off everyone.

  6. Louis Fyne

    Also add the amount of natural gas that that EU is/will buy from Baku—-comically from an Azeri project that is minority-owned by a Russian company.

    1. Petter

      The USA is an ally of Ajerbaiijan despite it being one of the most authoritarian countries in the world: From the US State Department:
      The United States established diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan in 1992, following its independence from the Soviet Union. Together, the two countries work to promote European energy security, expand bilateral trade and investment, and combat terrorism and transnational threats. The United States is committed to strengthening democracy and promoting economic diversification in Azerbaijan. The United States strongly supports efforts to pursue a lasting and sustainable political solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and promote regional stability, peace, and prosperity.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Don’t forget that well-know quote from Kissinger ‘To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.’ Afghanistan was a friend of the US as was other countries like Georgia and the Ukraine right now.

        1. Petter

          I know. Ally might be too strong a word though.
          Point I was going to make but got lost in brain fog is that Armenia is a democracy (with very few cards to play) whereas as Azerbaijan is a dictatorship with all kinds of cards. One of the few cards Armenia has is playing the “we’re a democracy” card and hoping that cashes in.

          1. .Tom

            Yes. And this corresponds with the hope my friend expressed as I mentioned above.

            Making that “we’re a democracy” card pay is something Europeans can help with, e.g. by making a stink about European pols brushing the Armenia crisis under the rug as they sign fossil fuel deals with the Azerbaijan dictatorship.

  7. Revenant

    I’m not sure the Armenians are the story here. The only party to have achieved an aim here is Azerbaijan (and maybe Turkey). Iran’s transit trade is threatened and Russia has lost a client state. But this took Armenia to fall on its sword.

    So, what might be the real story? Well, cui bono?Presumably the EU (recent oil deal with Azerbaijan) and the US (keep Turkey sweet – Biden’s dog training skills mean he is foolish enough to think if he throws Erdogan a bone, he will stop biting). They have sold Armenia’s PMC a lie (EU + NATO tomorrow!) and Armenia has dutifully sacrificed Nagorno-Karabakh today and tomorrow Turkey and Azerbaijan will get a transport corridor.

    The corridor will doubtless contain an oil and gas transit pipeline, feeding Azeri gas into Turkstream and diluting its Russian-ness so the EU can continue buying it in “good” faith and the Western powers will have some Turkstream leverage. Turkey would be happy with this because nobody has a dominant position. Azerbaijan could seek a higher price for its cooperation though and wouldn’t it be funny if Iran turned the situation on its head and offered a freezone corridor on Iranian territory, sparing Armenia the shame, preserving Iran’s transit fees and feeding Iranian gas into Turkstream, to become the junction of North-South and East-West trade?

  8. Detroit Dan

    From what little I know of the region, it seems that Armenia is driven by its diaspora more than by its homeland. This is understandable, but it’s unlikely to work out as in Israel. Rather, along with Ukrainians, Armenians are moving further into the realm of stateless people. The USSR’s dissolution provided a fleeting opportunity for a homeland nation for such peoples. But the influence of the US-led empire is such that the more powerful forces are centrifugal; i.e. moving away from the traditional ethnic centers.

    Interested to hear what others think as these thoughts are just off the top of my head…

  9. Marshall Auerback

    Unbelievably stupid miscalculation by Washington’s neocons. I can’t think of anything worse for Armenia than being at the mercy of Turkiye and Washington.

    1. Michaelmas

      Marshall Auerback: Unbelievably stupid miscalculation by Washington’s neocons.

      But one of many by the US empire and hardly on the level of effectively gifting US manufacturing dominance — the true source of its wealth and power — to China, a nation with 4000 years of history and six times the population. That really was one of the most arrogant, ignorant and massive blunders by a state in human history.

      I bring this up because I’ve been trying to think of historical comparisons to what the US — at least, the post-1991 US — has done (to itself), and have wondered if someone on NC with more historical knowledge has better insight into the question than I do.

      Has there been a stupider empire than the US (post-1991, anyway) in human history?

      Seriously. I’m not asking for rhetorical effect. I’ve been pondering for a few years the question of what other state has so thoroughly and quickly managed to flush so winning a hand down the toilet of history.

      1. James


        They managed to cut down both Japan and South Korea with the Plaza Accords – they just assumed they would be able to impose something comparable on the Chinese who they saw as being much less competent that the Japanese. Hindsight is 20/20.

        (And that quip about hindsight applies to me as much as anyone.)

      2. Louis Fyne

        An obvious one: Operation Barbarossa

        Non-obvious one: take your pick from any number of Chinese imperial dynasties, starting with late-stage Han dynasty

        (the US isn’t the first to suffer terminal bureaucratic death spiral due to elite incompetence and intra-elite infighting)

  10. Maxwell Johnston

    Re Russia not upholding its CSTO obligation to protect Armenia: legally, there was nothing for Russia to do, since even Armenia admitted that Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan. Anyway, there was no way Putin would send any troops unless Armenia had first mobilized its own army and started fighting. Armenia did nothing of the sort.

    It will be interesting to see if Azerbaijan forces through a transport corridor to Nakhchivan (through Armenia). If it succeeds in doing so, and if the collective west does nothing to stop this from happening, then Russia might cite this as a precedent and start pushing for a similar transport corridor to Kaliningrad (through Lithuania), now that Belarus has become a reliable satellite.

  11. Feral Finster

    Russia is going to be blamed in Yerevan, regardless what happens, regardless how many times the Armenian government betrays Russia.

    The people in the street want desperately to believe that the West are the good guys, even though they aren’t. This is also why the Kurds remain loyal to the United States, even as the neocons use them and then sell them down the river, over and over and over again, but every time, Kurdish leadership and average frustrated Kurds tell themselves that This Time Is Different.

  12. JonnyJames

    More hubris, more short-sighted desperation, more predictable attempts to isolate Russia.

    As for ‘neocon” foreign policy: what does that even mean anymore? The original “neo-conservatives” were followers of Leo Strauss and members of the Project for the New American Century that infested the Bush Jr. regime, but predated it as well. Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson is attributed by many to be another inspiration for the PNAC neocons.

    In recent years, the term neocon has become synonymous with warmongers who want to maintain US global dominance at any cost, often endorsing reckless, expensive, and dangerous interventions and wars. Preemptive strikes are “on the table” including first-strike nuclear doctrine.

    (It is interesting that almost all of these “neocons” are privileged, coddled, spoiled and protected brats who are complete cowards, and would promptly soil themselves at the first hint of danger. However, this is a topic for a psychologist and I have little expertise in that field.)

    It seems all US policy is now “neocon”, meaning, anti-diplomatic, warmongering, aggressive, reckless, anti-democratic and often desperate foreign policy. Is this just a natural policy shift for an empire in desperation and decline?

    On the one hand, US foreign policy has always, with few exceptions, been aggressive, imperialistic, and militaristic. Is neocon foreign policy just more of the same with the mask removed, exposing the ugly, murderous face of US foreign policy?

    To be crude, one can view neocons as just another faction or flavor of (late) US imperialist warmonger policy. For example: Zbig Brzezinski, considered a “Realist” scholar of IR theory, advocated very similar policies to maintain US dominance, differing very little from the “neocons” in substance. He was a bit less reckless and less crude perhaps. Foreign policy discussion, like all other public policy in the US, is narrowly circumscribed: only slight variations are viewed as politically viable. Public discourse is tightly controlled and only “allowed” topics are discussed. The breadth of political discourse is very narrow and only neocons (reckless warmongers) (of both D and R parties) are allowed.

    Another big question is how much financial incentive (legal and illegal bribery) affects policy? When advocating a certain policy results in me getting large sums of money from vested interests, I have a large incentive to continue to advocate such policies. Which comes first, the bribes or the policy?

    Foreign policy is

  13. M Quinlan

    The Azeris are claiming they will sue Armenia, for between 50 and 100 billion dollars for economic damage to the “occupied territory”. They may take territory in lieu of cash, territory that will run through the corridor. Sounds to me like they are fabricating a casus belli.
    When I worked in Baku the hatred was vesicular. A colleague (served in karabak, but wasn’t in any actual fighting, I think) related how he once met an ethnic Armenian from Kazakhstan in a bar. When his ethnicity was discovered my colleague told him to run before the rest of the crowd found out as they would kill him. The decency of that man over-road the rage that was still present when he retold the story.

  14. Weil

    “US neocon efforts to stir up trouble in the Caucasus via Armenia will likely only force other countries in the region closer together and isolate Armenia. Neocon think tanks in Washington like the RAND Corporation and Middle East Media Research Institute have long advocated for stirring up trouble in the South Caucasus as another way to weaken Russia and Iran and potentially cause a rift between the two. Instead the opposite is likely to happen. This is an absolute worst case scenario for Armenia as it has allowed itself to become a proxy battleground between world and regional powers and will almost certainly end disastrously for the country.”

    This is all this group of simians live to do. Wreak havoc on the world for the global donor class, vanity, money and power.

    People do not exist for these criminals. Nor does humanity. the project is continual destruction, continuous degradation.

    After the lies about Iraq, the failure in Afghanistan and the failure in Ukraine, to name a few post WWII absolute falling down failures, can’t people see how their lives are being affected by this virulent state-monopoly run gaggle of idiots?

    No, the power of cultural hegemony is simply too strong.

  15. Phenix

    What does this have to do with the Neo-Cons?

    The Armenian diaspora is a powerful force in both France and America. The logical play for the US is to support the Azeris and Turks against Russia and Iran. The latter 4 do not agree on how to split the economic pie in that region.

    Instead the Armenia lobby has well lobbied to support Armenia against the Turks… it workes and now the Turks will win. You can not have a global empire…it has too many contradictions.

  16. itsaclasswar

    The race for the collective Darwin Award is heating up. Throughout the year the Ukraine was firmly in the lead, with the EU not that far behind, but lately Armenia has been closing the gap so forcefully that right now all bets are off.

  17. MFB

    Hi, I’ve got a really clever idea. Now that my principal political ally is involved in a war with NATO, and now that we’ve lost a war against our neighbour against whom my principal political ally is our only protector, why don’t we alienate my principal political ally by pretending that NATO is our friend while denouncing our neighbour which we don’t have the power to challenge? I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

    By which I mean, what did Armenia have to gain from all this? The most plausible conclusion to draw is surely that its government was suborned with NATO money. In which case the neocon reference is precisely correct.

    In addition, what could Russia have done to resolve the problem? They hardly want to get bogged down in a pointless conflict in the Caucasus and Armenia no longer seemed like a credible ally. Was Armenia counting on the assumption that Russians are dolts in fur hats with snow on their boots waving vodka bottles?

    1. Polar Socialist

      There are two strong nations in the area, and in order to survive Armenia can always seek protection of… Turkiye? I wonder how that will work out for them.

      Who ever made the political calculations here might have forgotten that neither Russia, Turkiye or Iran really cares what USA/NATO think or do, and as long as Azerbaijan is feeding energy to EU, it can otherwise do whatever it pleases.

      To be honest, though, when that color revolution brought Pashinyan to power (it’s actually odd how seldom the “democratic” forces gain power trough parliamentary systems), this multipolar thing was only a dot in the horizon and he may not have gotten yet the memo that The West is already being contained as we speak.

      1. JTMcPhee

        “Democratic forces” for some reason always seem to be weak and disorganized. Nice people who want to live in comity with others (for some reason that seems to be maybe only a small fraction of humanity) likely do not have the driven killer instinct needed to “succeed” in the Garden/Jungle, especially not in building a durable polity based on decency and sustainability and all that squishy stuff.

        The West still has its Samson option, and to my mind the unholy willingness to drag us all down if it looks (like it must seemingly look to the Likudniks in Israel) that the walls are closing in. de Gaulle was onto something when he insisted on a French independent nuclear force, though of course whatever Republic we are on now is no “force for peace and decency” in this world. I take small comfort in the possibility that Russia has the wherewithal to absorb the best first punch the “west” can throw at it and do a knockout counter — while surviving sufficiently as a nation.

        (I recall reading that when the US and its allies had tens of thousands of overkill nuclear weapons, the targeting plans, after wiping out the Soviet Union and China, included blasting Brazil and India and Argentina and South Africa and down to even smaller possible survivors, to be sure that no set of “lesser breeds” would be able to “take over the world” or what was left of it after The Big One. These are the people who climb the ladder of success to rule over us mopes…)

  18. Eclair

    Thank you, Conor, for doing an excellent job untangling the messy history of this region.

    But, the Armenians: one has to wonder if trauma can be epigenetically encoded and passed to offspring over many generations, affecting the behavior of an entire ethnic group. Or nation. As a child during WW 2, I was constantly reminded by my grandmother (2nd generation Irish-American) to ‘remember the starving Armenians,’ when I left food on my plate. (That alternated with ‘if you were there the day the dog died in the ditch from The Hunger, you would eat your spinach!’). Of course, her next-door neighbors were an Armenian brother and sister, who would have been at the age to have been involved in the 1915 Armenian Genocide as children.
    Generations of children all over Europe have been similarly raised, with ancient hatreds of one or another oppressive group encoded in the memories and, maybe even the way in which their DNA is expressed.

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