The meeting was interesting in terms of form, because the Americans arranged the flags of the participants so that the Armenian flag was in the center. Usually, the flags of the conflicting parties are on the sides, with the host’s flag in the middle. Because of this mistake, if it was really a mistake, Blinken was speaking against the background of the Armenian flag. If it was intentional, then the United States showed that their focus was on Armenia, not on US interests.
That was the form, now on to the content and further processes.
The United States was the host of the meeting; so far, there has been no talk of any mediation format being developed. If this happens, it will be necessary to work out an agenda for the format. This is what the Armenian side hopes for, because it has been unable drag the topics of the “status” and the defunct OSCE Minsk Group into the Brussels and Moscow formats. And if the United States goes for it, it will demonstrate that Brussels has failed to carry out the function Washington assigned to its European ally. The beginning of the fragmentation of the West is now evident with regard to the South Caucasus as well.
The Armenian leadership is trying to raise the level of its own actorship. However, they do this by refusing to fulfill their own commitments, by torpedoing the peace treaty and resorting to armed provocations. The United States and France are helping Irevan to boost its low actorship.
The main problem of the Armenian leadership is that they are unwilling to comprehend the cause of their low actorship, namely aggression against Azerbaijan, occupation of territories and, consequently, limitation of foreign policy activities. At this stage, the clumsy Armenian leadership seeks to change the effect rather than the cause of the situation.
That is, while maintaining territorial claims against Azerbaijan, Pashinyan seeks to change his patron.
It is possible to raise the level of actorship by removing the cause, namely, by signing a peace treaty with mutual obligations. This situation is as important for Azerbaijan: we need Armenia to realize that being used against its neighbors leads to losses and disasters.
Pashinyan’s current behavior, this U-turn in foreign policy priorities, brings the region to the brink of a major war. The rivalry of geopolitical centers of power in the region can turn into an open conflict.
The traditional big war scenarios have the Armenia/Russia vs. Azerbaijan/Turkey format. However, this conflict may now unfold within Armenia. That is what Iran’s activity is about, since Russia’s limited resources lead to Turkey’s strengthening, and Pashinyan’s foreign policy twist towards Washington leads to the strengthening of the United States. And the United States is not the EU, who does not have an army.
Russia faces a choice between a bad and a very bad option. Either it loses exclusivity in the Lachin and Zangezur corridors in order to retain some role, or it loses Armenia, i.e., its main military and political ally in the region. And Russia has itself to blame for it, having taken after the war a wait-and-see position in the implementation of the agreements on the unblocking of the borders and the peace treaty—a position of deepening the post-conflict reality. The year 2021 is lost.
With its harsh and massive response to the Armenian provocation, Azerbaijan has demonstrated that it is ready to face threats, because the involvement of third countries in the processes on the ground poses a threat to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan and Turkey will not wait for the results of the activities of third countries in Armenia, but will become actors, with an advantage on the ground at that.
A peace treaty with Azerbaijan is becoming an existential question for Armenia, the answer to which is possible in parallel with a prospective boost to its currently low actorship.