One would not be mistaken to think that Carl Schmitt, the infamous German jurist, was right in stating that humankind is often vainly attached to the ‘illusion of an undisturbed peace.’ Only a few weeks ago, as nations across the globe were mourning their dead, struggling to keep their economies on life support, and vying to obtain a cure to COVID-19, a new deadly armed conflict in the Caucasus took us all by surprise.
The next pages of the play were performed in the fullness of their usual emptiness and banality. All world powers on the map condemned this conflict on Twitter. There were calls for truce and for peace. In the end came the promise of yet another peace deal that is inherently unjust to one side—the Armenian side. This should come as no surprise as since the very beginning of this particular conflict, and all the others in the past decades, world powers and international media have held on to a moral equivalency between the two sides that could only be justified by cynical political and financial interests. Whether willful or unconscious, this moral confusion is, to say the least, ignorant of historical facts and at best, dangerous, malicious and irresponsible.
The acts of aggression committed by Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey and their well-trained jihadi fighters imported from the Syrian war theater, were unprovoked, unjustified and contrary to all international laws and conventions. Barely a century after the genocide that resulted in the cruel death of at least 1.5 million Armenians, the very existence of the Republic of Artsakh as a nation-state and its people is once again threatened by the same perpetrators. To add insult to injury, the latter have up to this day failed to formally recognize or even apologize for their monstrous acts of the last century. And make no mistake. The armed conflict waged against Armenians today is the continuation of the same war of uprooting, attrition and annihilation as yesterday.
This is nothing new. Time and again, as a NATO-member, Turkey has received a free pass to provoke and wage wars of aggression and annihilation at multiple fronts, namely in Cyprus, in Syria, in Libya, against the Kurds, and in European territorial waters. Turkey’s proxy war with Armenia and Artsakh fought through Azerbaijan is yet another injustice that the international community sanctions with its silence. The same international community has failed to unanimously recognize, condemn and honor the memory of the Armenian Genocide.
Today, to the shame of the entire world, Armenia and Artsakh stand alone. The war of annihilation waged against Armenians not only in their ancestral homeland but also abroad in the Armenian Diaspora by Azerbaijan, Turkey and their jihadis is supreme evidence that there are no true friendships in international relations, only interests. The promise of an international community on whose solidarity persecuted peoples could count is empty and naïve. At the sight of this war barely a century after the Armenian Genocide, world powers have either remained silent or implicitly and explicitly aligned themselves with the enemies of the Armenian people with no shame.
After decades of incessant talk of international law, diplomacy and humanitarian values, one could naively expect that in the name of solidarity, the international community would finally rise to the occasion. That would mean doing the morally right thing and holding aggressors like Azerbaijan or Turkey accountable when we have to. Otherwise, all those talks and laws are but a Great Illusion. In the face of aggression and cruelty, those bystanders who stand in silence won’t and shouldn’t be judged kindly by history books. What will we tell our children? Where were we when our Armenian brothers and sisters were facing an existential threat yet again?