Manvel Sargsyan, the Director of Armenian Center for National and International Studies, on the margins of his interview to ArmInfo shares his vision of American policy within Trump’s Presidency, talks about Russia’s role in new relations between the United States and China, judges the revision of World War I and World War II results, common tendencies in global policy making, relicts of international relations, as well as about the place of self-determination within the capsulation of international agenda and Armenia’s role.
Inaugurated today, Donald Trump’s statements, following opinions of pretty reputable experts, have shaped two main trends in the foreign policy of new American administration: isolationism and foreign policy Chinese aspect stiffening. Don’t You see any contradictions there?
The issue of upcoming changes in US foreign policy is of a great interest for millions of people worldwide, because US policy continues to draw the logic of global processes. Being familiar with many forecasts, I could mention those universality regarding the issue how Donald Trump will build the foreign policy of the United States in respect to global key players. First in respect to China, and next to all others. China, which made a huge breakthrough, is an essential problem for the United States, and prescribes the logics of all the worldwide processes. That is why when trying to forecast any steps of new America administration, we should proceed first of what policy should that administration choose in respect to China.
Should it be a policy of traditional inhibition, like it was in 19-20th centuries, or a policy of isolation - that is a question for many people. And roles of all other countries depend on that. And Russia's role as nuclear country, being ruled but not ruling. All those could be determined exactly due to the Chinese policy of the United States. Russia more than 300 years plays a significant role for European security as a partner of mighty powers like Great Britain and after like United States, and Russia always got involved in the security related projects of these countries as the third power.
The role of a state being ruled but not ruled?
Of course. And that is very important. Russia always joined the projects of superpowers on peace and sustainability security as the third power. Whenever any superpower faced problems with any other European country, Russia used to come out immediately. After which the threat generating country used to concentrate at Russian vector and always got the game lost after that. And this logics does not change in respect to Russia. To put crudely, Russia will take the role of gendarme of Asia, and next wider – gendarme of the world.
Guided by the United States?
Exactly. I have a feeling that today the world discusses the expedience of offering such a role to Russia - and this time this is the United States, but under fully changed geopolitical conditions. In the result of USA-Russia-China triangle determination this triangle will generate hundreds of other triangles Russia- Turkey-China. Today we see the facts of global revision of layout. Moreover, it seems that not only the borders but the results of World War I will be also revised sooner or later, particularly in respect to the Middle East.
You mean the borders drawn with a ruler?
Including that also.The facts of revision of the world order established after WWII are obvious today. These changes started after the Reagan-Gorbachyov meeting in Reykjavik in 1986. The Warsaw Treaty was abolished, Europe became united and the USSR collapsed. Some of the key institutions - NATO, EU, OSCE - still exist. However, the unclear role of NATO is being discussed at the highest level. The OSCE is paralyzed so much that it cannot adopt an action plan of its own for 10 years. The Helsinki Final Act regarding Yugoslavia and Georgia has been broken.
In addition, the impression is that the results of WWI, mainly regarding the Middle East, are being revised. Two states - Syria and Iraq - no longer exist. Libya does not exist either. The role and the future of Turkey and Saudi Arabia are not clear. We can suppose that countries and first of all the powers are trying to develop a new policy under such conditions. The states cannot determine their further approaches today. It is impossible, but, however, they realize the key threats.
Do You see any isolationism tendencies in American Policy today?
It is important that is being spoken over already nowadays, and spoken by the President himself. At that, any isolationism needs a mechanism of inhibition, Financial, industrial, and – first of all – political. In this respect the discussions about Russia’s role in American policy are not occasional, of course. It is very interesting also what will Russia undertake itself.
It is also very interesting what Russia could be offered by China…
I have the same opinion, Russia's role in the US foreign policy is not coincidental. And China could offer, for instance, for instance, a strategic cooperation against the USA. Russians also understand all this. At the same time China according to him is a key threat to the security of Russia.
And what do we get to, what most probable scenario will we face in new reality ?
I think, the methods of XX century will be continued for a while. And only after all these causes a crisis, and it is going to happen anyway, we could expect any new ideas and actions. Nowadays the same question is given in the United States: could the country resist the attack of challenges? Or it will follow the USSR destiny?
Many Kremlin experts and politicians accuse the United States in managing the World through the policy of ruled chaos, destroying Iraq, Syria, Libya etc. is this picture real or we face a populism here?
I think both factors are there. After all, everything in the world is ruled by certain projected actions.
But if it is like this, it means the United states knowingly destroy the global order. Than why are they concerned about their own future?
After all everything in the world is defined by someone's programmed actions. And it is not a secret for anyone that the USA itself destroys the existing world order intentionally. But they destroy because they are afraid. And only they know what they are afraid of. I can suppose that Americans are afraid that maintenance of the world order existing since the 20th century will lead to uncontrolled strengthening of China, Russia and India and consequently to weakening of their role.
The information on Donald Trump’s intention to shift Ambassadors in number of countries proceeds from the same logic?
The intention to change US Ambassadors is an attempt to start everything with a clean slate and to initiate a new foreign policy. No one knows whether this will happen. Today no one in the USA can realize how such a person could enter politics not mentioning of becoming a president. At the background of full change of international situation such a situation is quite normal and natural.
That means Americans are afraid that the preservation of the global order existing from XX century will the uncontrolled strengthening of Russia, China, India and any other state?
Of course.And, correspondingly, to the weakening of their own country. At that, to destroy sometimes means to build. Cancelling the relicts of the past You give a beginning to the future.
What is the role of Armenia in all these processes?
From the first moment of independence Armenia took for Russia the role of inhibition tool in respect to iuslamic states. Withinthis role Armenia secured own safety, and the 102 Military base is the evidence of that. Armenia remains in this role, which is, amongst, recognized internationally.
The 2007 proposals on the Karabakh conflict settlement mentioned the changes in the attitude of the great powers to the status quo of 1921. The OSCE Minsk Group recognized the Karabakh people's right to self- determination, thereby recognizing their right to referendum. The treaties of 1921 lacked such a thing. Russian FM Sergey Lavrov's latest statement that Karabakh is not the domestic affair of Azerbaijan is the best indicator of continuing and strengthening this trend.
That was internal affair according to the Moscow Agreement…
Of course. Actually Russia stated the change of its position on 1921 Agreements in an open manner. And now here in Armenia we should give a circumcised estimation to the possibility of keeping the 1921 status quo under conditions of revolutionary trend. To ask ourselves a question : “May those agreements be turned relicts?” Nobody raises such questions in Armenia due to the sceptic vision of international law.
That is the reason why Dmitry Medvedev first threatened to break relations with Ankara and then reaffirmed Russia's commitments to Turkey?
The Soviet laws, the status quo in the South Caucasus was determined by the Russian-Turkish treaties of 1921. After the collapse of the USSR, the status quo of 1921 automatically became the political and legal base of existence of the South Caucasus. This is why Dmitry Medvedev did what he did.
The period till 1994 the status quo of 1921 was broken in Karabakh and then in Georgia in 2008. When speaking of the need to return Karabakh to the status quo of 1921, Levon Ter- Petrosyan and Zhirayr Liparityan explain the unacceptability of changing the status quo with the fact that it is dangerous. In the meantime, they are not so sure of what they are saying. The true reason of the reluctance to change the status quo is the fear or genocide syndrome rather than analysis.
And all the issues are being solved or not solved via telephone calls…..
Yes. By calling to the Patron. It is the new status quo that leads to protection of Armenian interests in the shortest way, the first thing to be realized today is the impossibility to retain what appeared since 1921. Amid such radical global changes, staking on the 100-year-old status quo means defeat. Azerbaijan was once defeated because it staked on the USSR as the continuation of the treaty of 1921, striving to maintain the Soviet law at any price. Armenia came out against it and moved forward under the flag of "perestroyka". "However, after that the Armenian political science has failed to determine the reasons of its own success in Karabakh. And now we should assess the process and clearly determine our rights and protect them guided by the logic of international relations and combining our interests with the international balance of forces.
The analogy with Israel truckles over…
When Israel is spoken over in Armenia, all do come to a single conclusion: Israeli industry is highly developed, it is prosperous, its army is powerful, and there is a concept of army-nation existing, but without the patronage of United States it is weak and powerless anyway. And many people do not ask a question: what for United States need that? All the answers will be found once this question is given and answered.
There are no protectors in the world, there are only interests. And if any sustainable role of any country is of an interest for any superpower, it will provide constant patronage for such a country. Recently United States provided USD 38 mln for Israel again. The only reason is that Israeli role in the balance system proceeds from American interests. Everything is quite simple.
In this case should we suppose that Armenia has to play the role of a wedge forced into Turkish world, within the consideration of trends being observed?
All the post-Soviet things in the former USSR space appeared after the removal of Soviet laws. To determine what Armenia is doing today and where it is going, we should understand what has come to replace the Soviet laws
This is exactly the basis to obtain the support and resources, because you solve not only your problems, but also others' tasks. And it does not matter where from, you should not worry about that. To obtain the resources that Armenia does not possess, if one listens to our politicians. Armenian political mentality does not want to accept this simple formula. Armenians could not understand the interests of others, and turks could do, and that lead to the tragedy of 1915. All the power and resources are proceeding from sovereignty, obtained through self-determination. The rights determines the power and it is not the power that determines rights.
For instance, Kosovo's adjudication was a feasible, preventive strike to the term of sovereignty in respect to OSCE view. Kosovo was followed by Abkhazia, South Ossetia. In other words, that was a game to prevent and to race up all the natural events. Armenia could win only when being in the focus of rising international processes. And the tendency of nations self-determination rights is exactly the rising one now.