Western powers display great deal of sensitivity with respect to the events unfolding in Ukraine. They accuse Moscow of disintegrating the neighboring country and threaten Russia with sanctions, claiming that the former is actively bolstering separatism in Crimea and Ukraine’s Eastern provinces. It is by concrete actions that the Western nations, led by the U.S., are proving that they will not accept violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Fascinating aspects thus emerge, when processes developing around Nagorno Karabakh are viewed from this perspective.
Different Approach To Same Substance Events: Geopolitical Duplicity
The world is experiencing deep geopolitical crisis in a true sense of this word. Events unfolding in different parts of the world and subsequent international reactions evoke questions. There are two aspects to be highlighted here. First, big powers apply different criteria to the events of identical nature and substance, depending on the region where processes are developing. Second, the problems that arise are not addressed with equal rigor and different means are employed.
Recent developments in the Middle East and Eastern Europe can be referred to as an example. Leading nations of the world failed to demonstrate unequivocal position on Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon. Lebanon was bombed. Military coup was allowed in Egypt. Iraq fell to occupation. Syria has succumbed to civil war. Weapons shipments from abroad were made. Furthermore, armed confrontations between radical factions in the abovementioned Muslim states were condoned. The process is ongoing, with speculations about the possibility of the countries concerned being fragmented into smaller entities.
These developments happen against the backdrop of arms shipments to radical groups active in the Muslim countries of the Middle East. The big powers are aiding the organizations with political views conformant to their interests; as if, they could not care less about the fate of the nations where bloody clashes occur.
Attitude on developments in Ukraine is totally different. The West has harshly denounced joining of Crimea to Russia through a referendum. The U.S. and all EU member states accused Russia of trying to divide Ukraine. This was followed by immediate sanctions against Russia. President Obama and German Chancellor Merkel frequently initiate telephone calls with President Putin, express their protest and explicitly warn him of looming problems he might face.
Most recently, in his interview with the CBS television channel President Obama said, ”Each time Russia takes steps to destabilize Ukraine, there will be consequences”. America’s head of state went on to say that neither side wanted a war but Moscow might face tougher sanctions. Additional measures are not excluded which include supplying official Kiev with arms. The West also considers rendering financial and informational support to Ukraine.
Apparently, Washington and Brussels are not willing to accept violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. They seek to punish Russia, whom they regard as an aggressor, by employing all the means available. Great deal of responsibility that rests with the West emerges when this situation is viewed from the much broader perspective. It is not about objective and stable criteria but rather the double standards that are applied to the geopolitical processes.
Attitude of the Western nations toward the events in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict is a compelling example. What processes did take place in the inalienable part of Azerbaijan – Nagorno Karabakh – and the surrounding territories? Let us first take a short journey into history and cite concrete facts revealing objective substance of the events.
The so-called ”Nagorno Karabakh Republic” (NKR) was declared on 2 September 1991 within the confines of the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Republic and Shaumyan (village) district of the Azerbaijan SSR. In response, Azerbaijan annulled the autonomy status of the Nagorno Karabakh on 23 November 1991.
However, the State Council of the USSR has dismissed that decision as unconstitutional on 27 November 1991. On 10 December 1991 a referendum, prepared well in advance, on the independence of the Armenian minority of the ”NKR” was held. Declaration of independence of a mono-ethnic ”Nagorno Karabakh Republic” was adopted on 6 January 1992. And by doing so, Armenians had provoked a ”hot phase” of what was known as a ”cold war” that resulted in mass deaths of innocent Azerbaijanis and of the Armenians held hostage to Yerevan’s aggressive illusions.
Mistakes Made: Lessons Learned?
Is there a similarity between those events and current developments in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine? Substance, motive and essence completely coincide. So, what the reaction was of the international community, led by the West, to the resurging separatism in the Nagorno Karabakh? It was obviously unlike the one on Crimea. Rather, it was completely different. Emboldened by that, the Armenians went on to expand their occupation into several districts beyond administrative area of the Nagorno Karabakh. It was implemented surely thanks to foreign interference. This is a particularly thought-provoking aspect of this issue.
Arms shipments by the big powers for the needs of the Armenian army and foreign terrorists were silently condoned. Let alone sanctions, no Western power had either investigated illicit arms trade or weapons donations to the terrorists or denounced those actions or took measures to counter that. And these developments were taking place against the backdrop of adoption of four resolutions, recognizing Armenia as an aggressor, by such an organization as the UN.
UN is yet to adopt that number of resolutions on Crimea. No other organization has drafted similar documents. Yet two set of sanctions have already been imposed by the U.S. and EU, and the process is set to expand. In the meantime, Washington demands that Moscow pulls its troops from the Ukrainian border and Crimea, whereas officially Russia has not deployed any troops there. Uniforms of the military personnel on the ground bear no insignia, but regardless, Washington insists that those men are regular Russian troops.
On the contrary, Armenian army participated in combats in the Nagorno Karabakh and surrounding districts. They neither disguised their uniforms nor concealed their affiliation. And even today, those Armenians depict the crimes of those years as heroism. When asked about Khojali massacre former President of Armenia L. Ter-Petrosyan even quoted Napoleon by saying, ”All is fair in war”. Why did Washington and Brussels remain idle to such aggression and atrocity? Why no sanctions were even mentioned?
Instead, Azerbaijan was warned that situation might exacerbate if it resorted to warfare. Official Kiev is hearing totally different rhetoric. It is promised with all the help needed. During the interview with the CNN former national security adviser to the U.S. President Zbigniew Brzezinski went as far as suggesting that the American officials need to ”turn Ukraine into Vietnam for Russia”.
These are the lessons of history. As long as any nation approaches the geopolitical processes solely from the standpoint of its geopolitical interests, the fate of the humanity will always be uncertain. Ideas and elaborations of the President Ilham Aliyev clearly describe the current situation. During last meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers President said, ”…4 UN Security Council resolutions are being violated. Such gross violation of justice and law has never occurred under any similar circumstances. International norms are breached. Security Council resolutions are ignored. Resolutions by other international organizations – Council of Europe, European Parliament, OSCE, and Organization of the Islamic Cooperation are not implemented… Hence the question, why? How much longer do we have to face the double standards? The reasons are questionable. Why are not leaders of the so-called leaders of Nagorno Karabakh suffering from sanctions? This is injustice, these are the double standards. Major powers and international organizations have to address these questions. The need for this is more evident against the backdrop of the events in Ukraine”.