Pashinyan and His Administration Are Traveling on A Path of Self-Deceit and Destruction, Unless…


By Dr. Arshavir Gundjian, C.M.

Special to the Mirror-Spectator/Abaka

It has been by now almost a year since the Pashinyan administration, single-handedly, set off on an unprecedented path of multipronged –  “multivector,” as it likes to qualify it – international campaign of shuttle diplomacy and meetings.

Though such a sudden shift of behavior for a badly battlefield-defeated regime would inevitably attract some criticism, nevertheless, the vast majority of alert Armenians throughout the world, be it in Armenia, Artsakh or in the diaspora, were initially intrigued by its novelty. They initially welcomed the apparent break from the previous unimaginative, passive, and practically one-sided, Eastern-bloc-oriented format of traditional Armenian foreign diplomacy.

This metamorphosis has been happening while, on the one hand, our traditionally uncontested Russian ally has been showing openly its pro-Turk and pro-Azeri, profoundly disappointing political orientation, and on the other hand, the unprecedented visit of US Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Armenia was taking place. The latter appeared suddenly to be opening the way to an often wished for, yet never seemingly available, path towards a promising Western world.

Well, friends, that was then. Now, almost a year later, after observing closely what has been happening in-between, starting with Nikol Pashinyan and his administration, all Armenians are due for a reality check. We all should learn a lesson that we ought to have had learned anyway a very long time ago.

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Such a lesson, which applies to any responsible and self-respecting nation, consists in valuing friends and allies in politics, yet valuing the country’s own military ability and readiness for self-defense much more. Armenia had been criminally negligent in this respect. Therefore, remedial efforts should now be given top priority,

A rapid review of the past several months’ Armenian diplomatic efforts shows that Pelosi’s euphoria-generating visit to Armenia, was followed by countless breathtaking, successive, inconclusive shuttles which continue to this very day. Most of the time, top-level heads of states take turns participating in those meetings, which take place in high profile venues such as Washington, Brussels, Paris, Prague, Turkey, Sochi, Moscow and a few others which I fail to remember. At those roundtable gatherings, the assemblage of participants previously unlikely to be seen together, including Pashinyan, Vladimir Putin, Ilham Aliyev, Emmanuel Macron, Charles Michel and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, alternating with their foreign ministers, have become by now almost casual occurrences that are hardly any more newsworthy events.

Naturally, neither the public nor especially Armenians, around the world, are privy to the details of the deliberations taking place at those meetings. However, it is only fair to expect that under the current national crisis circumstances, Armenians, in particular, do have the right to start enquiring seriously about the results. We certainly do expect to start to see that Pashinyan and his team will by now have achieved at the very least some progress in favor of Armenia’s and Artsakh’s historic and humanitarian rights.

Yet, most unfortunately, when we attempt to draw a balance sheet of this ongoing worldwide diplomatic activity, there is no choice but to recognize that so far, Artsakh and Armenia are in a far worst situation than they were even at the end of the catastrophic 44-days Artsakh war in November 2020.

Indeed, when the war stopped on November 9, 2020, the small remaining part of Artsakh and its capital Stepanakert were left with the free Lachin passage to mother Armenia. Today it has been taken away. Furthermore, since then, several territories of Armenia itself have been arrogantly and aggressively occupied by Azerbaijan. Even worse, today, Aliyev is more arrogant than ever in calling all Armenian territories, including Yerevan and Sevan, Western Azerbaijani lands.

Against such a dreadful record, maybe some will find hope and consolation seeing the big smiles and hearing the sweet-sounding statements addressed to Pashinyan and Armenian representatives by such prominent Western personalities as Antony Blinken, Charles Michel and most of all, from our big friend Emmanuel Macron. Unfortunately, even the soothing effect of those ephemeral warm gestures has suddenly been quenched in glacial waters when in the last few weeks, it suddenly became painfully evident that for the West, just as much as for the East, in realpolitik, nothing has changed over the years. Presently they all are really interested in the Azerbaijani oil supply as the key card in the intricate international energy transfer games. Paradoxically the Azeri oil allows the West as much as Russia to work out tricks that they each consider to be in their own favor within the context of the” sanctions acrobatics” of the vicious Ukraine war.

Armenians all over the world were stunned to observe that all our “Western friends,” profoundly concerned with the Azeri oil, cheerfully praised the handing over of Artsakh to the despotic and genocidal country of Azerbaijan. Any real concern over the need for historic and humanitarian justice towards Armenians was put completely aside! It was thus confirmed once more that international politics is devoid of such naive and mostly “annoying” concepts.

Yet even after such dramatic failure, Pashinyan is still pathetically chasing his beloved objective of signing his “All saving peace treaty” with Azerbaijan. Actually, he seems to have now discovered an even more pathetically naive concept for the protection of Armenia’s borders. He expects to work out a cadastral map with Azerbaijan, presumably just like the one he has for his private house with the Yerevan city authorities, to secure the definitive borders of Armenia, with its mafia-ruled Azeri neighbors.

Pashinyan and his followers better realize that such piles of documents are totally worthless for a nation’s protection without the backing of a strong military defense structure which thus far, they apparently have completely neglected.

When Aliyev, openly and consistently supported by its big brother Turkey, decides at his own pleasure, to wipe out the 120,000 Armenians of Artsakh from their ancestral territory, and then also decides to grab another small or large chunk of Armenian territory, does Pashinyan expect to succeed stopping the aggressors by waving those peace treaty and cadastral map documents at the face of the invading Azeri butchers’ tanks and drones? Furthermore, if Pashinyan or anyone else perhaps expects that some of the abovementioned Azeri oil bribed countries will send their armies to Armenia’s rescue, they better be ready for a big disappointment.

Fellow Armenians, we are living currently in unprecedentedly fateful times of our nation’s contemporary history. We bear the collective responsibility for the future of our nation. Future generations will either praise or curse us, all depending on the actions we shall take now to prevent the potentially complete elimination of Armenian statehood on our historic lands.

Pashinyan and his administration are currently traveling on a catastrophic path of self-deceit and capitulation, unless the entire nation succeeds in standing up and preventing that catastrophe from happening.

Multipronged diplomatic efforts must certainly continue to be pursued, except that they must be honorable and based on self-respect. However, such efforts can be only one component of a well worked out multilayered national strategy.

Certainly, honorable and self-respecting does not qualify the defeatist and mafia-appeasing approach that Pashinyan has shown so far towards Erdogan and Aliyev. Quite to the contrary, his current behavior will assuredly embolden such despots to push for even more humiliating concessions, in return for nothing given to Armenians.

When Turkey closed its air space to Armenian flights by demanding that the Nemesis monument dedicated to Armenian heroes be dismantled in Yerevan, Pashinyan acquiesced by calling the erection of that monument a “mistake.” Even worse, quite incredibly, his High Commissioner of the Diaspora, Zareh Sinanyan, arrogantly declared last week in the National Assembly that Armenian efforts for genocide recognition by Turkey are now “outdated” and “must be abandoned.” Arrogant Sinanyan obviously understands nothing about Armenian national sanctities and even less about the diaspora. To top it all, Pashinyan just rushed to Ankara to pay his respects to the newly elected despot Erdogan. To justify his haste, he claimed that in the middle of that multinational crowded gathering he will be begging for a few minutes of so-called “consultations,” which surely never took place. Such behavior is far from being honorable. It is actually embarrassing and counterproductive for Armenians.

To be able to successfully conduct a strategy of honorable diplomatic negotiations, Armenian authorities, whether they are headed by Pashinyan or when the latter is democratically replaced by a more capable new leader, must develop without delay, two presently missing essential components to their otherwise seriously defective current strategy.

First, Armenia must develop without delay an effective international news media agency, capable of constantly influencing and shaping international public opinion by voicing consistently Armenian viewpoints and arguments concerning history and the daily events.

The major victim of this deficiency today is Artsakh. The legitimate right of Artsakh to exist as an independent Armenian republic was acquired as early as in 1990, when it successfully held on December 10 the legally required referendum to separate from the Soviet Union. In the absence of effective Armenian media support, that undisputable fact is now completely forgotten. In addition, the argument that given the obvious Azeri genocidal behavior towards Armenians, Artsakh has the full right to request the Kosovo model precedent, for separation from Azerbaijan, has never been forcefully advanced nor promoted in international forums.

The second and actually the most serious deficiency of Armenian diplomacy, is the lack of a relentless effort to build Armenia’s own military readiness to counter with punitive intensity any incursion on its borders. This effort needs to be today’s overwhelming priority for Armenia. The current regime as much as all the previous ones are seriously accountable and guilty for their neglect to maintain Armenia’s defense system at a state of highest sophistication and 24-hour readiness on every day of their administration.

All excuses or arguments about having been hindered by some mysterious political obstacle is simply void and unacceptable. Armenia was, and now is, capable of both creating its own inhouse military industry, as well as creating channels of supply from the outside world. When there is a will, there is a way. Without being privy to any particularly privileged information I happen to be able to confirm the validity of those statements.

The question that now begs to be answered is, what is it that prevents Armenia’s present administration from implementing immediately a serious emergency program to correct the above deficiencies?

There are conceivably some difficulties. However, the one evident and most important reason is the failure of today’s administration to establish as much of a moral as a structural real and practical collaboration and coordination between the three inseparable components of the Armenian nation, Armenia, Artsakh and diaspora.

Going back to where we started in the celebratory years of Armenia’s independence, followed by Artsakh’s own independence and victorious war of the 1990s, Artsakh was inseparable from Armenia, and the diaspora was wholeheartedly and enthusiastically engaged in support of its newly found dual homelands. That relationship is now broken. It has unfortunately now fallen to a level of quasi-desperation and emotional isolation among the three core components of our nation.

The Yerevan-based Armenian government is the only entity that is equipped and has the moral authority and obligation to bring those three components back together. It needs, however, to act immediately by declaring that effort an act of national emergency. This needs to be carried out with participants working in a quiet and serious environment. Discrete planning and the identification of well-targeted concrete objectives must take complete precedence over speeches and show chasing antiquated manifestations.

To succeed, this needs to be a serious long range and permanent effort.

When Armenia’s authorities show themselves capable to confront such a national challenge, there are good reasons to expect that much needed human and financial resources will become available, and the Armenian nation will then be capable of conducting truly honorable diplomatic international negotiations. Such negotiations will then be successful as they will be continuously supported by an effective international opinion-shaping news media, and they will be strongly backed by a sophisticated and impenetrable military defense structure that will defy any incursions in Armenian territories.

We need to show the strength of our national will.

Aliyev will then rapidly go back to his private business and will forget all about Artsakh and unfulfilled dreams of territories further to the west.

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