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Nikol Pashinyan's reckless rhetoric - war is better than peace

23 July 2023 13:30 (UTC+04:00)
Nikol Pashinyan's reckless rhetoric - war is better than peace

By Emin sevdimaliyev,

The last interview of the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan to Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Armenia was a bit of thoughtful. The AFP correspondent received answers on a wide range of foreign policy issues, which included questions about the position of the head of government on the negotiation process with Azerbaijan.

We will not delve into the analysis of each specific statement of Pashinyan, since discourse analysis is not the most accurate analytical tool. However, we note that one of the highlights was Pashinyan's revelation about the existence of the possibility of another war between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

This statement was veiled in the context of the fact that until a peace treaty is signed and ratified, the likelihood of a war always exists. However, despite the attempt to hide this statement in a technical context, Pashinyan's message becomes clear.

Especially if you pay attention to the fact that Armenia is constantly trying to transform the situation between Baku and Yerevan. Such attempts are often dangerous. And sometimes quite reckless. For example, this week a coordinated action of bought specialists tried to present "Christian" Armenia as a victim of "Muslim" Azerbaijan. From the point of view of Armenia, such an approach should be justified, as it will allow Yerevan to attract new participants in case of another provocation. Also, according to Pashinyan, "rethinking" in the format of religious confrontation should open up another vector of information attack on Azerbaijan.

Why is this approach an example of recklessness? The problem with this tactic is that it will lead to a significant escalation of the situation with unpredictable consequences. Religious conflicts tend to be long-lasting and show a clear tendency towards systemic and cyclical escalation. It is also alarming that the escalation in religious conflicts can be "spiral", i.e. each next round of escalation becomes more violent than the previous one. If we look at the situation from this angle, it becomes clear that Armenia is ready to risk the long-term stability of not only the South Caucasus, but also the surrounding regions.

Speaking of attempts to translate the situation into a religious channel, it is necessary to point out one more point. If you explain religion in words, then it can be characterized as a collection of dogmas, ways of thinking and texts that must be followed unconditionally. This can lead to rigid thinking, which does not allow you to look at the situation from a different angle. Lack of flexibility, in turn, will make building the future world even more difficult. Which brings us to another important aspect.

In the context of Armenia's behavior in recent months, there is also a desire to rethink the settlement of relations with Baku and give it a humanitarian direction. We will not go into the details of Armenian propaganda, since a lot has been said about this and there are video confirmations of the far-fetchedness of Yerevan's argument. But it is important to note that Pashinyan and his team manipulate people who live in Karabakh with such formulations. This is done by artificially creating a "us" versus "them" narrative. In the end, this results in the "demonization" of Azerbaijan, which is a proven way of propaganda that promotes a negative image by presenting negative stereotypes and creating an image of an enemy that thinks only of destruction. This approach also greatly complicates relations between different ethnic groups, which removes the prospect of peace.

Constant attempts to transform conflicts in various directions allow us to make the following judgments. Firstly, there is an understanding in Yerevan that the current situation is a losing one for it and there is no alternative for negotiations. Secondly, Armenia is ready to go to any escalation, even if it threatens long-term stability in the region, for the sake of a dubious gain. Observation number three, Yerevan continues to cultivate hatred towards Azerbaijan, which is one of the key points that hinders the creation of a lasting peace.

The last observation is more systemic in nature. There is no consensus in Armenia regarding the view on relations with Azerbaijan. More precisely, there is a consensus: Azerbaijan is an enemy. However, there is no common understanding of how to present to the world a problematic relationship with the enemy. Hence the lack of a clear position. For a long time, Armenia presented the conflict with Azerbaijan as a right to self-determination, even though Yerevan knows that the principle of territorial integrity is paramount. And recently, Yerevan has been trying to promote the problematic relationship with Baku as a "humanitarian genocide" and is making an attempt to promote a religious narrative with the help of bought specialists in the West. The lack of a clear understanding of the situation indicates that, in reality, Armenia is probably not very interested in establishing peace and prefers to drag out time. Judging by the statement of Prime Minister Pashinyan, the ultimate goal of this strategy is to prepare for new provocations and war.


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