By Alan Hope / Trend
Recent US rapprochement with Azerbaijan is really disturbing and annoying the outraged Armenian establishment, compelling it to launch yet another onslaught against the United States President Donald Trump and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev.
This campaign, which is an exact copy of the one commenced by the Armenian establishment in line with its identitarian politics during Trump’s election campaign, was comprised of a new wave of political lobbying, orchestrated public protests, followed by the spiteful smear media campaign, reinforced by the continuous online attacks and the copious spread of misinformation.
It should be noted that the Armenian establishment is founded on the agile, rich and influential Western-oriented Armenian diaspora and cunning, corrupt, right-out criminal and the ever-so-lost in the foreign affairs’ ocean the Armenian ruling regime. Throughout the years these two elements have proven to sustain a symbiotic “love-hate” relationship amalgamated by the topic of so-called Armenian “Genocide” and the “Great Armenia” project.
Nonetheless, taking the sheer size (claimed to be 12 compared to the country’s local population of mere three million), as well as its immense financial and political capabilities, the Russia-oriented Armenian ruling regime is obliged to swat at the pleasure of its foreign donor from time to time. The perfect example of the latter was witnessed in Sargsyan’s speech at the Putin-absent UN General Assembly, supposedly reorienting Armenia’s foreign policy towards the West, by promising the consignment of the EU partnership deal in November.
Less asked question – Why?
Yet, the question of the origin of Armenian establishment’s concern and outrage over the US-Azerbaijan rapprochement arises. Well, it’s related to the fact that the mentioned establishment has been gradually losing its grounds to Azerbaijan on all fronts, including military, financial, informational, and, as of late, in the international politics.
Stroll through the Reagan to Obama era
Initially, the Washington, due to a variety of objective, but mainly subjective factors, was totally pro-Armenian. Ronald Reagan had perceived the so-called Armenian struggle for independence, as well as the so-called “Genocide” card, as time bombs for destabilization of the “Empire of Evil” (aka Soviet Union). Close-knitted to the US Intelligence community George Bush Sr. had utilized weakening political stance and governing ability of then Soviet leader Mikhael Gorbachev in tandem to the Armenian diaspora sponsored separatist movement in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region to topple the adversary and bring an end to the bipolar world.
Thus, come Bush Sr. era, many Americans of Armenian origin, falsely called as partners or even allies in the Cold War, were appointed to numerous positions in administration, as well as the Pentagon and the State Department, greatly increasing diaspora’s influence on the American foreign policy making.
Parenthetically, Armenian-American organizations, falsely stating the congruence of the Armenia’s interests in line with the US national ones, had endorsed and financed such distinguished politicians of the time as Sen Bob Dole, Clay Pall, Joe Biden, Ed Kennedy and John Kerry, which led to the adoption of a numerous pro-Armenian initiatives by the Congress.
Kerry not funny as Carrey
It’s noteworthy to mention that, after the collapse of the USSR and on the brink of the former Soviet states' independence formation, the Democratic hopeful in the 2004 US Presidential elections, John Kerry, who later on became the Secretary of State in the Obama administration, had authored and lobbied section 907 of the US Freedom Support Act, effectively restricting any aid to Azerbaijan, supposedly “to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh."
Meanwhile, Kerry’s section was initiated on the background of Armenia’s blockade of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic (NAR – geographically separated enclave of Azerbaijan), which was followed the meticulous occupation of the 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s mainland.
Suffice to say that 90’s had bared a witness to the strained US-Azerbaijan relations on the backdrop of Armenian diaspora fueled dynamically developing relations between the Washington and Yerevan.
Enjoying a wide network of agents strategically placed within the US government, Armenian diaspora had an impeccable ear to the American political playground and promptly switched the camps, aligning itself with Democrats in 1992. Thus, Clinton administration, infiltrated and influenced by the Armenian establishment, had initially followed in the footsteps of its predecessor, showing a pro-Armenian stance.
This was followed by a more restrained approach in the US Transcaucasian policy, as the rapport between Bill Clinton and then Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev was building up. The initial steps in mitigating and eliminating tensions between two countries were taken by the US president, who, in despite to section 907 and in line with his Azerbaijani counterpart’s personal request letter, had ordered American humanitarian aid’s delivery to Nakhchivan.
The relations had magnified as an American transnational corporations actively participated in the Caspian oil related 1994 "Contract of the Century." The abovementioned wasn’t greeted well by the Armenian establishment, as it started a covert campaign aiming to impeach Clinton, who in turn had started the in-house clean-up right after dodging the bullet.
Bush Junior’s Fight on Terror
Eight years of George Bush Jr. administration had seen globally engulfing economic crisis, followed by devastating unfold of terrorism, radicalism and separatism. In that retrospect, Bush Jr. had firmly outlined the US foreign policy, basing it on the sincere partnership and cooperation in the energy and security sectors.
While the Armenian lobby had senselessly tried to ensure its own agenda, Azerbaijan had promptly reacted to the US needs, amplifying its economic ties, by ensuring the delivery of the Caspian energy resources to the West, its political support of US in the international fora, by joining US stance on the world arena and its military cooperation, by attending in the US-led peacekeeping missions and providing its air and soil in support of US military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Azerbaijan’s deeds didn’t go unnoticed, as the country was frequented by the top-notch US officials, resulting in the official visit of US Vice President Dick Cheyne to Azerbaijan and the reciprocal trip of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to the US.
This, of course, wasn’t well-digested by the Armenian establishment, which failed to build any sustainable grounds with the Bush Jr. administration, due to the historical lack of a vision for the military-political cooperation with the US. At the same time, self-alienated Armenia’s regime, in the absence of alternatives, was forced to the policy of vassalage, by strengthening and expanding its political “dialogue” with Russia.
Obama Care not
The Obama period had marked another revision of the US Transcaucasian policy, attuned to the pro-Armenia and anti-Azerbaijan melody. The Armenian establishment did its best to decrease Azerbaijan’s political importance as a partner, premising it on the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the reduction of the military presence in Afghanistan and the diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear program.
Furthermore, it seemed that Obama, who wasn’t particularly in-love with Armenia, had carried some type of a personal grudge against Azerbaijan, which had probably originated during his first trip to the country in 2005 as a freshman senator. Spearheaded by the well-established Armenian-cause lobbyist John Kerry the Obama administration’s criticism concentrated exclusively on the “human rights violation and corruption” in Azerbaijan used very loud undiplomatic language, which was viewed by many as borderline insulting and obscene.
Nonetheless, in view of ongoing Syrian crisis and the fight against ISIS (aka Islamic State, Daesh) the White House couldn’t ignore the importance of a stable, secular, but Muslim country and ill afford to lose another partner. Thus, Obama had tried the cautious rapprochement of Azerbaijan, bringing the bilateral relations to somewhat tolerable state.
The “Genocide” card
The latest three abovementioned presidents all had played the “Genocide” card in the elections campaigns. Clinton stopped short of the potentially explosive move by calling the 1915 events a tragedy in view that it could endanger US relations with Turkey. Likewise, George Bush Jr. intimated that he would move for tougher language on the 1915 events as a candidate, but also didn’t fulfill his promise. "As president I will recognize the Armenian Genocide," then-Sen Barack Obama said while campaigning in 2008, but as president he undertook no such effort, which outraged the Armenian establishment yet again.
Enter the game changer
As Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States the bilateral relations with Azerbaijan have reached a new height, which had deepened the concerns of the already troubled Armenian establishment.
First of all, the Armenian establishment betting on the wrong horse, endorsing Hillary Clinton and setting up super PAC’s for her campaign financing, didn’t expect the self-financed underdog, unjustly ridiculed by the mass media and the opportunist politicians, could be elected by the majority of true American population.
Secondly, though Republican by affiliation, but quite unconventional in his political essence, Trump as a characteristically pragmatic businessman has a new vision for the US foreign and fiscal policies, excluding the future and limiting the present US involvements in the overseas conflicts, as well as eradicating or downsizing the unnecessary US budget expenditures to other countries and entities.
Finally, Trump is a businessman that owes nothing to the Armenian establishment and on the contrary has a very positive view of Azerbaijan. This view was not formed by Trump’s pragmatism or his good rapport with Azerbaijani businessmen alone, it was founded on the genuine assessment of Azerbaijan, as a self-sustained country that has been and still is a steadfast strategic partner of the US since its independence and represents exactly the kind of a secular and pragmatic partner America needs today.
On the other hand, Armenia, constantly mimicking but not implementing changes in its political orientation, times-and-times again had proven itself to be as an unreliable, as they come, of a "partner." On top of that, any businessman-minded person would right away notice that Armenia is a country built upon the “cronyism, arbitrary treatment and unequal competition,” as mentioned in the World Bank’s report. Thus, Trump didn't want US budget money to go to a deviant “partner” and cut the US aid to it by almost 70 percent, causing a new mayhem in the Armenian establishment.
It’s safe to assume that in the view of the abovementioned, Trump had accepted the challenge and stands strong against the Armenian establishment and its enraged lynching mob. In anticipation of Trump’s victor as a definitive game changer, a hopes of a new foundation for the US foreign policy making, not based on lobbying, but laid on a sustainable, long-lasting, mutually beneficial and respectful format of bilateral and multilateral relations between the US and its partners, has definitely arisen.
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