Since the establishment of US-Armenian diplomatic relations, there has been a noticeable intensification of relations at some stages, which was manifested by the activation of contacts and the visits of high-ranking US officials to Armenia. Some US secretaries visited the Republic of Armenia during various phases of intensified relations. The first high-level visit was in 1992, when US Secretary of State James Baker came to Armenia on the occasion of the establishment of US-Armenian diplomatic relations and the opening of the US Embassy in Yerevan. The second secretary of state who visited Armenia was Hillary Clinton. She visited Armenia twice, in 2010 and 2012. Throughout the history of US-Armenian relations, only one secretary of defense (Donald Rumsfeld, 2001), one secretary of the treasury (Jacob Lew, 2015) and one secretary of the navy (Ray Mabus, 2012) have visited Armenia.
In this context, the visit of Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, to Armenia on September 17-19, can be considered historic, as Pelosi became the highest-ranking US official to have ever visited this country. Pelosi enjoys great influence throughout the United States in both domestic and foreign affairs and is an independent political decision-maker. Being an ally of President Joe Biden, Pelosi, as an individual politician, is a heavyweight figure not only for the Democratic Party but also in the political Olympus, and often makes independent policy decisions.
Pelosi is a historical figure for the United States. She became the first woman to serve as the Speaker of the House upon her 2007 election to that post. Pelosi made history again in 2019 when she regained her position, becoming the first person to do so in more than six decades.
One of the key reasons for the Speaker’s visit to Armenia is her personal approach towards Armenia and Armenians. Pelosi has always been one of the close friends of Armenians in Washington and in California, and has always supported pro-Armenian initiatives. It is no coincidence that Pelosi’s delegation included the only two congresswomen of Armenian descent, along with Frank Pallone, as the three are the pioneers of Armenian interests in the United States. The fact that Pelosi did not cancel her visit to Armenia despite the Azerbaijani aggression days before her visit was due to her desire to support Armenians during such tough times for the country, and this is a message itself. Another message was the fact that she did not pay a regional visit but came only to Armenia, even avoiding visiting Azerbaijan, which would keep diplomatic protocol or balance.
Main Messages of Nancy Pelosi’s Visit
About a month before her visit, I posted two statuses on my Facebook page about her upcoming visit. The information was not received with great enthusiasm until the official announcement a day before the visit. During her visit to Armenia, Pelosi expressed her personal support for Armenians and Armenia, while at the same time sending several messages about the prospects for the further development of US-Armenian relations.