Armenia’s incumbent head of state Serzh Sargsyan arrived to disrespectful greeting by the South American leaders. Argentina’s president refused to meet him and President of Uruguay saw him in his village house. If on one hand, it is associated with Sargsyan being weak and amateur. On the other hand, it is about Armenia seen as irrelevant. Why would distant nations seek cooperation with a country whose geopolitical status is dire in its own geographic location? In other words, in the absence of issues translating into productive cooperation, discussions are held merely for the sake of etiquette and encompass general topics. In this sense, S. Sargsyan’s Latin America journey was nothing short of just another political failure.
Irrelevant State: Signs of Geopolitical Fiasco
Latin America is located really far away from Armenia. It is very unlikely that people living there have ever heard of such a nation. Moreover, a tiny country with a non-systemic and obstructive policy can hardly be of significance to anybody. The reason is clear. Foreign policy pursued by Yerevan is not even welcomed in its immediate neighborhood. Even Armenian experts admit that this policy will not produce any positive outcome. Official Yerevan is coming under fire of criticism for its meaningless foreign policy that is deprived of content.
In light of all this, Serzh Sargsyan’s visit to the Latin America was nothing more than a formal move. And it was absolutely natural that the armenian president would encounter a total fiasco. Media reported on the fact that Sargsyan was not received by the Argentinean President. Cristina de Kirchner chose to watch the football game of the Argentinean national team than seeing Sargsyan. Surely, it had to with insignificance of the issues pursued during Sargsyan’s visit. It was a testimony that neither Armenia as a state nor that Sargsyan as its head posed any significance for Argentina. Furthermore, the topics to be discussed in Buenos-Aires by Sargsyan were known in advance, and Kirchner deemed unnecessary to take time for that.
According to reports of the Armenian media, Sargsyan intended to focus mainly on two issues. One of them was the anniversary of the Armenian genocide and the second one was an offer to cooperate with the Eurasian Economic Union. Those were the themes of his visit to Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. However, lack of interest towards these subjects signified attitude to Armenia’s geopolitical posture. It is obvious that Latin American countries view Armenia not as a serious partner but a miniscule country whose whims are being condoned, for now. This is the very capacity that Yerevan may become handy because in the times of dramatic geopolitical changes the outposts can serve transitional purposes.
Indeed, many Armenian experts are speaking out on this subject. This is how Akop Badalyan sees Sargsyan’s effort to build a connection between Argentina and the CIS and the Customs Union, ”…Armenia suggests itself as hay in the dishonorable Eurasian hut. This of course can create a small economic bubble but it would soon burst” (see: Акоп Бадалян. Армении больше нечего сказать / ”Lragir.am”, 8 July 2014).
Apparently, some in Armenia itself already recognize policies of the official Yerevan as counterfeit. Armenian experts question, “What else could S. Sargsyan offer?”, while response is even more fascinating – nothing! Indeed, what can a country deprived of significant economic potential, lacking substantial energy resources and isolated from energy and transportation projects offer to nations sitting at a great distance? Badalyan who says that, “Russian immigration cards are being distributed on European flights arriving to Yerevan” is particularly emphasizing that Sargsyan is like a ”parrot”, repeating Kremlin’s instructions.
Although armenian president spoke of the so-called genocide and Customs Union it failed to evoke great interest. And this is only natural. Although Armenian experts succeed in gradually justifying their “genocide” claims, it is universally known to be bogus. Likewise, Sargsyan cannot produce credible arguments. In his interview with the Argentinean “Clarin” newspaper, on the issue of opening up the archives he responded by saying ”let the Turks come as and see the thousands” (see: Серж Саргсян: Наш народ обеспокоен тем, что наш стратегический союзник продает оружие Баку / ”1in.am”, 10 July 2014). However, gathering of a crowd to a certain venue cannot serve as an historical appraisal. It is bogus, a ”conscious bluff”.
Sargsyan: Between Foreign Instructions and Factitious Artificial
From the aspect of the Eurasian Economic Union experts do not believe that Armenia can be appealing, given the lack of common borders or geopolitical relevance. Thus, remarks of Sargsyan on the Customs Union are something that Kremlin wishes to hear. The point is that Russia is taking significant steps to boost its presence in the Latin America, where it has to engage in a fierce rivalry with the U.S., France and China. Moscow aims to be recognized more as a leader of a regional organization. Therefore, positioning itself as a spearhead of the Eurasian Union can be a winning hand. This is why Sargsyan is trying hard to bolster Kremlin’s image in this capacity.
Ultimately, these facts attest to desperate situation Sargsyan finds himself in, and to factitiousness of the game he plays. He is incapable of upholding the interests of his country and to conduct an independent policy. Nobody respects a politician acting at the behest of others. This is precisely how he was treated in the Latin America.
Armenia is really a country with a failed foreign policy. It lacks normal relations with all the neighbors. Having had signed association agreement with the EU, Georgia said it could revisit its economic ties with Armenia. Tbilisi stressed that it was unclear under what regulations the customs-free goods from the EU arriving to the country could enter the Customs Union member state of Armenia. Armenians saw it as Georgia’s warning.
Relationship with Iran can become more aggravated. Official Tehran announced that construction of power line from Megri was economically non-viable. Nakhichevan route is closed for Armenians. Presumably, betterment of ties between Armenia and the West would cause deterioration of Tehran-Yerevan exchange. And Russia is unlikely to contribute to mending of fences on that front.
Armenia’s relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan are commonly known. Ankara’s and Baku’s cooperation with Yerevan would be inconceivable without withdrawal of the occupying forces from the Nagorno Karabakh. Fascinatingly, the U.S. reminded the Armenian side that they had to withdraw from 7 occupied districts, citing a possibility of another conflict being provoked by a certain nation in the region. This nation is well-known. Events in Ukraine are emblematic of perilous aspects, whereas Armenia in fact, is a country with a failed regional and global-scale foreign policy. Which Latin American country can lend a helping hand? None, of course? Foreign policy cannot be saved by merely inviting a foreign dignitary to the ”genocide commemorations”.
This testifies to core reasons that underlie indifference Sargsyan encountered on the distant American continent. How else could the leader of an outpost state be welcomed? With hindsight, this Armenian politician hardly had learned his lesson… Just like before, expected benefits of such a behavior for the Armenian state are vague. Armenians have truly failed in establishing an independent state. Today, their leaders falling asleep in the office lobbies of foreign heads of state, is a testimony to the fiasco of the Armenian statehood.
What is next for Armenia? Armenians are the ones that should carefully think about it. What is undisputed is that Azerbaijan would become more determined in liberating its occupied territories. Some years ago Armenians rejected even the idea of returning an inch of the occupied lands. Now their patrons from the U.S. are telling them, ”You must leave from 7 districts” (see: Акоп Бадалян. Знаки США Армении / ”Lragir.am”, 9 July 2014). Let there be no doubt that number of liberated districts will grow. Diplomacy and military stand ready to act to that end upon the instructions of the Azerbaijani leadership.