Armenia and the Failed Experiment of Eurocentrism

“We are still interested in external things…the Armenophile expressions of a famous European, a pro-Armenian resolution of a pacific congress, a sensitive speech of a parliamentarian…which have no real significance for the self-defense or salvation of peoples. Thus, during the decades, no one felt that he was becoming a collaborator in the Armenian tragedy, diverting the people’s attention from the only weapon of their salvation – self-defense.” – Garegin Nzhdeh, Selected Works of Garegin Nzhdeh

Eurocentrism and the Armenian National Psyche

It is important to understand what Eurocentrism is, how it can affect one’s perception of the world and how that affects the Armenian nation’s approach to addressing its goals – both the diaspora and the government. 

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, being Eurocentric means to have “…a tendency to interpret the world in terms of European or Anglo-American values and experiences.” The interpretation of “European or Anglo-American values and experiences” is subjective, depending on how you perceive the legacy and contemporary functioning of Europe and America. With that said, it could be argued that Armenians should adopt a certain level of politically motivated Eurocentrism considering that Europe and the United States are the dominating forces in global politics. Some Armenians consider themselves as “white,” or of “European stock,” thus reconciling their idea of Euro-American democracy with the Armenian struggle for indigenous rights, or distancing themselves from the indigenous character of the Armenian identity. The Soviet Union also operated on a policy of abolishing so-called “centuries-old cultural backwardness” of ethnic groups and replacing indigenous practices with a Soviet culture that focused on technological and industrial advancement. The Soviet Union’s negative perception of indigenous expressions and practices also influenced the way Armenia perceives itself today—geared to seek attention from and imitate the developed Western world. As a result of this way of thinking and various anthropological myths, this is where I believe Euro-aspiring identities and Euro-American-Armenian identity frameworks become tricky, contradictory and can even be counterproductive to the Armenian national cause.

America’s economic success and its government establishment was built on the forced enslavement and economic exploitation of the African population for roughly 250 years, while simultaneously committing genocide against the Native American population in the name of manifest destiny. Even today, both groups continue to experience modified forms of the same systemic oppression. From a contemporary foreign policy perspective, the United States and Europe (Europe being more or less beholden to US foreign policy) remain inactive in confronting human rights tragedies as long as their satellite allies, such as Turkey and Israel, continue to operate within the framework of US foreign policy. So, if we are co-opting Eurocentrism (which also extends to the Armenian American identity framework) as part of our Armenian identities, then we need to reflect on the legacies of America, Europe and the neo-colonial consequences of these legacies, which have oriented Western foreign policy against the efforts of the Armenian cause.

Genocide and the Western Savior

The Armenian Genocide prompted a Eurocentric reorientation of the Armenian nation, attempting to disassociate itself from the sea of Islam in which Armenian Christianity found itself. Evident today, the Armenian peoples’ reference to the phrase, “Armenia is the first Christian nation,” is expected to invoke a reaction of sympathy and support, typically expected from Western governments (“Christian compatriots”) and Christian rights groups. Due to diasporan lobbying efforts, 18 European countries have recognized the Armenian Genocide. Promoting Armenian Genocide awareness can create a generation of leaders that will fight for its justice and future prevention. Although awareness and recognition will continue to grow, it is a pursuit that the diaspora has contributed a great amount of time, money and energy to achieve; yet Armenia received zero military support during the recent Artsakh War from any country that has recognized the Armenian Genocide. We can agree that the Armenian people are victims of historical and modern injustice, but how we choose to carry ourselves is our choice. As such, it is time to stop shouting into the ears of Western governments to remind them of former president Woodrow Wilson’s idea of an Armenian state. Who is Woodrow Wilson to take it upon himself to draw the borders of the Armenian homeland? No foreign power should have the right to dictate the homeland of the Armenian nation for their own regional ambitions. Regardless, Wilson’s mandate for Armenia was never realized. More recently, we witnessed the French Senate’s recognition of Artsakh’s independence on November 25, after Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed an agreement to end the war with Azerbaijan on November 9. The French recognition of Artsakh occurred only because they knew Artsakh was barely functioning as an entity. French politicians wanted to maintain favorable ties with their Armenian constituents, believing that the diaspora would react positively without questioning the timing of recognition. Thus, weaponizing victimization will not garner the necessary aid and support from external forces during our times of need.

The fruits of foreign appeasement typically yield pro-Armenian resolutions and humanitarian aid usually after the atrocities have occurred, i.e., the Armenian Genocide and the most recent Artsakh war. Lobbying efforts can also leverage instances of political confrontation between the United States and Turkey, but that is only because the United States wants to reel Turkey firmly back into its NATO grasp. The point is not to conclude that anti-Turkish policy is somehow born from pro-Armenian sentiment or to assert democracy. If Armenians put all their expectations and hopes for the Armenian cause on the Western racehorse, that is a notion that has disastrous consequences for Armenia’s security. Genocide recognition does not translate to security, and Eurocentrism is not a form of ideological currency that will buy Armenia the support it needs. 

Armenian Foreign Policy and the Geopolitical Reality

For Armenia, maintaining friendly political ties and a strategic trade relationship with Europe is necessary, but anything more than pragmatic behavior towards Europe creates unnecessary energy expenditure. Armenia’s diplomatic focus should be oriented towards further developing their economic and defense partnership with India, leveraging India’s conflict with Pakistan over the Kashmir region (a state that does not recognize Armenia’s sovereignty and supports Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict). India and Armenia’s growing information technology (IT) sectors also pose a valuable opportunity for mutual enhancement. In addition, Armenia should be more proactive (with healthy skepticism) in securing Chinese investment, considering China’s past and current investment interests in Armenia’s infrastructure. With Armenia currently being situated on a fault line between the West (North Atlantic Treaty Organization – NATO) and Russia, China will have to be engaged more strategically in ways that will not threaten the current regional power dynamics. Nonetheless, China and India’s rapidly growing market economies are turning them into global economic contenders—a reality that Armenia should appeal to.

Furthermore, Armenia should leverage the synchronized foreign policies of Iran and Russia by significantly building its Russian-endorsed Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) trade relationship with Iran. Armenia is the only EEU member state to border Iran and can serve as a junction to the Russian-dominated trade bloc. Armenia should also be looking to further develop its defense ties with Iran by taking advantage of Iran’s recent frustrations with Turkey and Azerbaijan’s pan-Turkic rhetoric—citing President Erdogan’s poetic call for Azerbaijani unification with their “compatriots” in northwestern Iran (implying annexation and the violation of Iran’s territorial integrity). Relationships with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (both of which are irritated by Turkish foreign policy) also have the potential to grow into more fruitful economic partnerships if engaged strategically. In November, Saudi Arabia imposed a ban on the import of various Turkish goods.

Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan among world leaders of NATO allies and partner countries, Brussels, July 11, 2018

If strategically played, there are multiple Eastern-oriented foreign policy avenues that Armenia has available—taking advantage of Turkey’s growing regional-political isolation as a way to level the playing field against the US-Israel-Turkey military triumvirate that brought Artsakh to its knees. Pashinyan’s mistake of immediately attending a NATO summit in Brussels in July 2018, and a month later, having Armenia participate in NATO military exercises in Georgia, proved unrealistic in its attempt to augment Armenia’s security relations, especially knowing that NATO is the sworn rival of Armenia’s inarguable ally, Russia. Regardless, we saw how NATO was a force complicit in the region’s destabilization—a trojan horse of American and European capitalist interests operating on the basis of promoting “democratic values.” It is more beneficial for NATO to appease Azerbaijan in its grab for Artsakh because it decreases the security and economic risk of the established Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and future oil pipelines (such as the Trans Caspian Gas Pipeline) in the region that serve as an energy source for western markets – expanding the American-European Union (NATO) energy partnership by decreasing their reliance on Middle Eastern oil. With the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh “solved,” it is easier for NATO to secure American-EU domination of energy and resource opportunities in the region for western corporations, i.e. the Anglo-Asian Mining Company – further excluding Russia and Iran from a piece of the energy and resource pie.

Turkey is proving to be somewhat of a NATO wild card in its recent purchase of a Russian S-400 defense system, warranting the recent US sanctions. But Turkey’s pursuit of a more independent foreign policy could land them back firmly into NATO’s grasp due to their suffering economy if the sanctions prove too much for them. NATO will continue to coerce Turkey to firmly secure American-EU energy ambitions on Russia’s doorstep at the expense of indigenous Armenians. While Turkey is still learning how to strategically juggle its relationships with NATO and Russia, Armenia will need to align itself as closely as possible with the Russia-Iran axis; because if Turkey attempts to augment its Russian defense systems in the context of a tight knit Russia-Armenia-Iran axis, then Turkey and Azerbaijan’s attempt to undermine Armenia in any way will be futile if the axis is strong. Turkey’s ownership of a Russian defense system means that Russia knows the system’s vulnerabilities, making it in Armenia’s interest to pledge its loyalty to the axis. If Armenia wants to isolate Turkey and Azerbaijan, then trying to appease the West will only backfire, leaving Armenia isolated instead. It was that sort of self-created diplomatic isolation that locked Armenia into the perfect storm for Azerbaijan to declare war. Armenia’s security will depend on if its infatuation with the West (US, EU, NATO) can be scaled back so it can practically address its geopolitical reality.

Thus, it is always important for us to reflect and broaden our framework of logic when it comes to Armenia’s place in global politics, because we cannot afford to misappropriate our time and energy on ideas that have consistently proven to yield unfavorable results.

Salvation from Within

So, what does “building ourselves from within” mean? This is a critical question that we should be asking ourselves. Current conversations (and arguments) on social media are dictated by which political party is best suited to lead, who are the traitors, who are the heroes and so on. This is about thinking of the bigger picture. Our culture and politics have undergone drastic assimilation under the name of Eurocentrism in ways that have actually affected the security of Armenia. If we, as Armenians, are to build a prosperous nation, it will not be through imperialist means but through rendering our abilities to the homeland, investment in citizenry, education reform, interethnic solidarity, projects for a military-industrial complex, a more critical understanding of international affairs and establishing a strong group of dignified and pragmatic diplomats to address the difficult geopolitical reality in which Armenia exists.

To move forward as a nation, we must heal first. We must not keep our wounds open just so we can show the world the injustices that we’ve suffered. It is not worth the infection. Let the wound scar and serve as a reminder that we are the guarantors of our future. Only through healing will we live on and prosper.

“As a first step, we should recognize that the Armenian people’s fight for national self-determination is first and foremost the duty and task of the Armenian people themselves. We do not believe in benevolent friends, the inevitable triumph of justice, or covertly and cleverly manipulating the superpowers. If we are to achieve national self-determination, then we ourselves, the Armenian people, will have to fight for it. We believe in the power of organized masses and in the capacity of our people to determine their own future. We believe in revolution.” – Monte Melkonian, The Right to Struggle: Selected Writings of Monte Melkonian on the Armenian National Question

Alex Avaneszadeh

Alex Avaneszadeh

Alex Avaneszadeh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from California Lutheran University and is a graduate student at Tufts University pursuing a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy.
Alex Avaneszadeh

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  1. Armenia has been part of the Russia-Iran axis for thirty years. It failed to operate effectively in 2020 and hoping for greater success from more of the same is doomed to failure and, unfortunately, the most likely outcome. Opening borders and attempting regional integration is a better strategy than playing global politics.

    • This is not true. We have been allied with them to some degree, but we need to develop a serious form of cooperation with them. The West never came to our aid even as Pashinyan endlessly courted them. The USA had the most embarrassingly dysfunctional presidential election when it should have payed attention to the Caucasus.

  2. Overall this was a great article. However, there a few things I disagree on.

    1) The Soviet Union considered Armenians, along with Georgians, Russians, Ukrainians, Germans, Jews, and Belarussians to be “advanced people.”

    2) The Soviets always considered Armenians and the other people residing in the Caucasus to be “Asiatic”, not European. The Europhilia among Armenians cannot be explained by our time in the USSR, because Armenians looked to Europe at least a century before that.

    3) Garegin Nzdeh’s quote was terrifyingly accurate. We as a people have not learned a single thing in over a century.

    4) Monte Melkonian correctly addressed how NATO used Turkey to benefit its own interests in West Asia. Remember that Turkey joined NATO because it feared Soviet expansion. Stalin asked for Turkey to return Western Armenia and Georgia in 1945. Britain and the USA stopped that, unfortunately.

  3. Sorry, a nonsensical and confused article, using Turk/Azeri talking points (“The United States committed genocide and slavery what about that?”), then citing Njdeh and bashing the west and praising Russia. Really? Njdeh perished (got murdered) in a Russian prison, not a western one. You now why? Because he was an Armenian patriot who stopped Russia handing over Syunik to the Turks/Azeris, you know, the SAME THING RUSSIA IS DOING TODAY!!!!

    Ah yes, Eurocentrism is a real problem. Too bad you missed that in Njdeh’s world, Eurocentrism is as bad and on equal footing as Russophilism, which this article pushing blindly. In fact I would say history has already proven that it is far worse, because all we got under the hands of Russians is poverty and mediocrity, not to mention that the mentality of Armenians of Armenia turned into a beggar-thief mentality, instead of a hard-working patriotic one like we in the diaspora had, even under “backwards” Arab nations.

    Artsakh and Syunik under Russian/Turk hands means, Armenia no longer has a reason to exist. And the person responsible for that is not “a person” named Pahinyan, it is collection of traitorous THIEVES calling themselves the “Armenian Government” of the past 30 years, and who are the perfect evolution and product of the Soviet Mentality!!!!

    And now we have the answer as to why we the traditional diaspora was never allowed to take in the building of Armenia from day one. How else would those hungry “Authentic Armenian” Soviet Beggar-Thieves enrich themselves if there are non-hungry “Akhpars” watching them?

    Praising Russia after what just transpired in theory is laughable, that is, according to how we think in the diaspora. But the Soviet Beggar Thief of Armenia exists precisely to make sure Armenia can never economically progress and become a real country. The Armenian Soviet Beggar Thief wants Armenia to always be dependent on any other nation but itself, because that might mean that the diaspora might gain some power and put a stop to their decades old thieving schemes.

    From where I’m standing, Armenia itself needs leverage against Russia, which now has acted more like an enemy than an “ally”: if we lost Artsakh and if that is “permanent”, we no longer need to “get closer to Russia”, nor do we have any need for the Soviet Poverty Club called the “EEU”, especially since 1. Russia was part of that plan all along, and 2. The Artsakh wound can no longer be used to make us “cooperate”. The only way Armenia can save itself now is to get rid of its phony government of thieves and tear up any agreements, and boot any Russians, Turks and Azeris with their paws over Syunik, and make sure any and all projects on that region is completely in the hands and profit of the Armenian nation, meaning Armenian people as a whole and not the Thieves of Armenia aka “The Armenian Government”.

    • 1) You insulted Hayastancis, unbelievable.

      2) The stereotype of the Armenians in negative light existed in the Levant and Europe long before the 20th century. Lebanese, Syrians, and Germans all have had negative stereotypes about us since the 19th century. I do not care what others think of us.

      3) Russia is far from mediocre, being a powerful empire for centuries and a powerful communist nation for 70 years is quite impressive. You know damn well that Russia would be ten times as powerful if it were not sanctioned endlessly by the west and stretched thin by NATO-induced conflicts. Prior to 2014, Russia was growing so fast.

      4) Have you met ARF members and chapters in the diaspora? Just ask any Beirutsi like myself how corrupt they are, or remember the 1933 church shooting in Chicago.

      5) Greece joined the EU and NATO and yet Turkey still occupies Northern Cyprus and violates Greek airspace daily. The EU has not prevented Greece’s economy from tanking.

      6) Do you remember how Dro and Nzdeh waited for the British to help them, only to be backstabbed? The British and Germans have been the ones funding and protecting Azerbaijan and Turkey for over a century.

      7) The Soviets never planned to give Syunik away to Azerbaijan, since they knew that it would connect it to Turkey via Nackichevan and threaten Soviet existence. Lori was ceded to Armenian SSR thanks to the Bolsheviks.

      8) You always seem to bring a monstrous kind of vitriol to the comments section, and it is really annoying.

    • Don’t be a fool…..russia is the only guarantor of Armenian statehood! We are sandwiched between two enemies! If not for Russia the Armenian state would be no more!

  4. Dear Armenians
    We have been suckerpunched! We must not depend on any other country except ourselves. The inhabitants of Armenia, Artsakh, and the Diaspora must determine our destiny. Together we must work together to restore our Hayastan. Any means possible with lots of $ and great wisdom must be used. It will take decades but with the help of God we will be victorious!!! There is no doubt…our neighbors will come and go but our Hayastan will survive!!!

  5. You’ve made some good points, however there are points that are totally wrong. My Grandfather Dr. Haik Assatrian (considered the founder of Armenian Geopolitics) devoted his life to prove Armenians were a major element of the great Indo-European migrations of B.C. 2500, our language is a branch of that racial group. You made great points but let’s cut though the chase, we as a people have not had a unifier in 2000 years going back to Tigranes the Great (remember he was betrayed by his 2 sons and wife) ; and lets talks about betrayals ( our national symbol) lest we forget Musheh Mamigonian (who was by far a greater warrior than Vartan) or Gagik II who had the Seljuks on the ropes and pushed them back to the Caspian (imagine how history would have been had he not been betrayed) , let’s move forward to October 1944, Sofia Bulgaria, Njdeh and my grandpa got fingered by an Armenian Bolshevik and were sent on an extended vacation in Stalin’s GULAGS; do you get my drift by now? So until we come to term of what we are and fix , we will be a good little vassal state no different than the last 2000 years as presently begging an unwilling Russia to be her good little vassal. At the end of the day, the only salvation for Armenia due to that sad corner of the word (the crossroads with no traffic lights) our forbearers chose to call home is N. Korea. Yes, Armenia should have been by now the N. Korea of the Caucuses and then Mr. Trump would be coming to visit and shake hands with the Armenian leader on the Turkish Armenian Border…
    PS stop wasting money on that stupidity called TUMO (name one thing that was invented there that saved Armenian lives in that embarrassment of a war we just had); Armenia needs Nukes, and Rocket scientists not musicians and dancers as; old Priam said, after the death of Hector, to his reaming sons “all I have left is heroes of the dancing floor”

    • Armenian Bolsheviks were hardcore fighters and men willing to defend Armenia’s existence. Using “Bolshevik” as an insult is quite immature and derogatory. Remember that Monte was a communist, not a bourgeoise capitalist.

    • I agree with all that you said we should first understand the reasons of our failures of the past “traitors “and should depend on the small but true Armenian people who believe in their national interests be that North Korean model or other model Armenian people need to learn to be proud of who they are and fight for what they inherited and have.

  6. Recommendations make a lot of sense: integration with India and possibly with China, strengthening EEU ties with Iran, etc. And Salvation from within is THE principle on which all policies should be designed.

    In order to create and implement policies, the political leadership needs to understand the realities. I want to express my disagreements with some of the premises that the author has built his reasoning upon.

    Below are some of my considerations that the author captured differently:
    1. US and Europe are not as much allies as they seem to be (facts can be provided)
    2. Russia’s foreign policy is not independent form the US goals
    3. Armenia has declared allegiance to her Russian overloads and did not adopt Eurocentric foreign policy
    4. Armenia did try to create the Iran – Armenia – Russia axis (facts can be provided); Russia was not enthusiastic (see items #2), Iran was cautious.
    5. Armenia declared her support to India’s cause in Kashmir issue and expressed her desire to cooperate in military-industrial field.
    6. Azerbaijani Republic did not declare a war (they just attacked), and they did not start the aggression because Armenia has found herself in isolation. Ethnic cleansing of Artsakh has always been a part of in this country’s policies. Aggression against Artsakh was just an implementation of this policy. It was bound to happen. Our leadership has been either blind or corrupt not to see it.

  7. A few more ideas, where I disagree with the author
    1. Soviet union was NOT abolishing the “indigenous” practices (consider Belarus, Turkmenistan); Armenian identity was strengthen during Soviet Union times, Compare Yerevan in 1920 and 1935 – you might think it is not the same nation…
    2. Armenia does not want to be Eurocentric – Israel Ori and his group considered Eurocentrism as a part of Armenian identity. He spent most of his conscious life trying the convince European courts to sponsor Armenian cause, Only Peter the Great agreed to help. Armenians are in their vast majority Russian oriented.
    a. IF we are Eurocentric how one can explain the UK’s free trade agreement with Turkey right after the latter’s aggression in Armenian Artsakh?
    3. Genocide did not make Armenians Eurocentric, we are just grateful to all nations and not only Europeans that helped our people to survive. Great Britain did not help though, but US did.
    4. The reason that French parliament recognized Artsakh was not to please their voters, it was an act against Turkey’s aggressive and opportunistic policies in the Mediterranean.

    • I’m glad that you pointed out #1. The Soviets, as I posted in my comment above, considered the Armenians to be an advanced people. Trying to look at the Soviet era as “colonialism” is bizarre and ahistorical.

    • Armenia not going anywhere from it geographical location. Armenia is surrounded by muslim countries. There are central asian republics who are Turk br race and by religion they are muslims. Rather looking for far distant countries, Armenia should build good relation with neighbors. Never ever India or China will help Armenia. Because both countries prefer muslim countries either central asian republics or middle eastern countries because of oil. So best policy is to build good relation with neighbors that will give incentives economically

  8. I am from India, excellent article but I would like to make certain changes…
    As much as I like Armenia, and hate turkey and other Islamist states who want return of caliphate.
    There are few things Armenia needs to do
    1. Increase population to atleast 10 million
    2. Start focussing on science and technology , Innovation is the key to success , you will produce your own quality weopons. Look at the example if Israel, they were surrounded by Islamist jackle states, who attacked Israel together with massive force at times. But Israel survived with its great technology , ofcourse USA helped it , but USA also helps it for a reason.
    3. Don’t expect India to help, indian politics is extremely indian centric, India has never taken any side, its more concerned only about buisness and technology transfer to India.
    4 strong Chinese centric politics will rather be better.
    5. Don’t ever again trust Russia, Russia will always keep Azerbaijan ahead of Armenia, because of its large area, and oil.
    6. Armenia has to go Israel’s way…

    • Ironically speaking, if every Armenian thought like our Indian friend here, Armenia would truly be a real, prosperous, independent and viable nation. But we Armenians are easily fooled, hardheaded and naive, we can never match the competence, intelligence, fortitude and success of Israel, at least not any time soon. It seems Armenian “leaders” were never smart enough to form a real alliance with Russia. But a large part of our failure is also based on “Russian Charity” unfortunately. Russia starves Armenia in order to feed it, not the other way around. And that “feeding” entails bones for Armenians to chew on, not steak. Steak is only reserved for Turks and Azeris. The pathetic existence of Armenia was a carefully planned project by Russia a hundred years ago, and nothing has changed until now. Armenia is stuck in the “poverty club” with Russia.

  9. Thank you to everyone and their comments in response to my article. Contemporary Armenian eurocentrism in the context of the Armenian Genocide and the Soviet legacy is definitely part of a much broader discussion in terms of their influence on Armenian policy and national ideology. There are definitely more facets to be discussed.

    As a brief response to some of the counterpoints regarding Soviet influence, it is important to know that from the early 1920s until the late 1930s, the Soviets implemented the Korenizatsiya (Nativization) project that sought to maintain and encourage the teaching of the titular nation’s languages, and the placement of their ethnic groups to political positions in the administrations of their respective Soviet republics. The point of all this was to reverse any trace of previous imperial Russian chauvinism and to diffuse hostilities of the non-Russian Soviet peoples. This policy backfired in a way since these ethnically-run Soviet republics began to behave in proto-nationalist fashions, as well as many ethnic Russians feeling marginalized due to these policies. As a result, Stalin reversed the Nativization project and began implementing a policy of Russification that changed Armenian cultural expression (dance, music, orthography, religion, etc.). Thus, for the majority of the Soviet Union’s existence, the “strengthening” of Armenian culture is a facade idea that was actually a state-sanctioned endeavor to impose Russian cultural policies, which were viewed by the Russian Soviets as “advanced”. Basically, the Soviets engaged in cultural revisionism (arguably cultural genocide) of not just Soviet Armenia, but of other Soviet Union ethnic groups to form a single Soviet consciousness molded together by Russification. This Soviet “Russification” is an interesting phenomena. Russification in the Soviet context meant perpetuating cultural propaganda that ironically resembled Europeanesque aesthetics and expressions including balletesque dancing, classical music, romantic music, operas etc. These European expressions served as a blueprint to appropriate the non-Russian “folk cultures” of the Soviet republics, often in unauthentic orientalist ways – attempting to “advance” Soviet ethnic groups from their primitive (usually meaning indigenous) expressions to a unified Soviet cultural consciousness. These sovietized European expressions (sounds like an oxymoron) of culture were viewed as more civilized in conjunction with Soviet ambitions for industrial and technological advancement. Thus, post-Soviet Armenia seeks to relate to and join the circle of contemporary Europe not just via Christianity (which is another conversation), but also through its cultural revisionist experience during the Soviet Union. In my opinion, Europe and America don’t really care too much to leverage any related cultural-religious experience to Armenia or Armenians as much as it does its own national interests (like most countries in my opinion).

    The foreign policy recommendations I made have only been pursued by Armenia to a small extent with no serious intentions on building trust with its regional partners, such as Russia and Iran. This is because Armenia’s attention has been elsewhere, which has created an atmosphere of mistrust from these partners, leading us to believe that these partnerships simply “lack benefit” in nature. Not saying my recommendations are the key, but simply saying that Armenia should consider orienting more of its attention to those opportunities.

  10. As someone from SEAsia, this article is really good. Looking at the other comments, I should say “Stop clinging to your glorious pasts, Armenian.”

    Armenian should face geopolitical reality of present time, especially Armenian citizens who don’t know any better and still living in delusion that Armenia is still a strong country like in the past. Take Israel as an example.

    Azerbaijan faced the same situation back in before 2000 when they lost the previous war. Your best bet is to learn from Israel and Azerbaijan.

  11. Well-argued and largely persuasive. Thank you, Alex. While the article deals mainly with matters of foreign policy and geopolitical orientation, “eurocentrism” is also applicable to human value systems; i.e. Enlightenment values of participatory democracy, human rights, pluralism, tolerance, civil rights, etc. Many influential currents have argued for a cultural sensibility leaning toward Enlightenment values, which need not exclude a foreign policy that is Eastern-oriented. Ground these with a healthy dose of self-reliance, and you have the makings of an integrated strategy.

  12. The Europeans let us down in the early 1900s and that resulted in our genocide! Rely on no one! We need to stand on our own two feet!

  13. Wanted to add that we can fight the Turks asymmetrically using covert means. We can bring both turkey and Azerbaijan to their knees without them being able to tell where the attacks are coming from… connect the dots I’m not going to go any further in explaining what it is I am
    Talking about ; )

  14. I’d tend to agree with the analysis that a Eurocentric or US/western alliance-oriented foreign and alliance policy won’t deliver the security needs that Armenia has. Sympathy alone doesn’t cut it when faced by wealthy and armed enemies on your borders, and the Europeans are too internally-focussed with no ability to deploy hard power even in their own borderlands.

    The risks, though, of tying the future of Armenia to a Russian or Russian/Iranian axis are real.

    Russia faces internal and geopolitical risks in the very near future with the end of the Putin power system, with great uncertainty for the survival of anyone (country or break-away region) allied to the the Russian state which may be in serious disarray for a decade or more.

    The other risk is a Turkish alignment with Russia in this scenario is that if the Turkish state decides to pursue an official or unofficial Finlandization strategy – economic dependency leads to political dependency as night follows day. This could happen if the Turkish state made the borders more or less supple to trade and economic activity, allowing Armenia to profit from through trade from Turkish/Azerbaijani economic integration. This set of risks is potentially easier to mitigate if Turkey were not part of a Russian axis, through Russian and Iranian preferential deals and Armenian pressure to keep its borders with Turky non-porous, but is infinitely more dangerous as an evolutionary development of a “sphere of influence” for Turkey within a bigger alliance. I don’t believe that Ankara or Baku have the imagination to follow through with this strategy, but given the situation in Armenia, it’s hard to see how to strategically defend the longer term Armenian state in this scenario.

    • You are on the right track with an analysis based on economics, but you vastly underestimate the incompetence of Armenian “leadership”, inept and ridiculous Soviet Thieves of Armenia who don’t and have never had any clue about economics of a nation, not that they ever had the time for it… since independence, each and every one of them have been looting the future of the nation in order to have an “escape plan” one day, living in the lap of luxury in Europe someplace with their relatives and offspring while Armenia itself goes into the abyss. Most Armenians knew all this, but we avoided any internal conflict for the stability of the nation. We paid the ultimate price for looking the other way by losing Artsakh at the hands of our “ally and protector” Russia.

      Only an fool believes that Russia wasn’t behind Armenia’s catastrophe in Artsakh, but history can repeat itself a million times and we hardheaded and naive Armenians will never learn. And just as in the past where Russia armed Turkey in order fro the Turks to invade Armenia, taking all the western territories, and Russia next step in as the “savior of Armenia” in the east – “just in the nick of time to save Armenia”, the exact same formula was applied again. The objective? For Russia to shack up in Artsakh in order to control the upcoming economic projects in the region, with the beneficiaries being, who else? Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan. No Armenia in sight of course. For Russia and Turkey, this is all about economic gain, and anything ‘Armenian’ in the way is disposable.

      Just the “9 points of defeat” imposed on Armenia out of nowhere is enough to prove all this: Russia and Turkey want a road through Armenia which Armenia can never benefit from economically or any other way. In other words Russia’s message to Armenia: “you do not exist and you are my colony”. And a road through Armenia has exactly ZERO to do with any “war” that just transpired.

  15. In India Narendra modi is an intelligent politician. When Turkey Supported Kashmiri People, Immediately Modi engaged in diplomatic relationship with Armenia and Greece not because of affection on Armenian people. It is counter policy to keep Turkey and Pakistan on bay. He raised to power from a small Tea boy to PM who is currently leading 1.3 billion people. Naturally he might have played dirty politics engaging in riots between different sect of people. So don’t raise expectation on our country. Our Country is not going to help anybody. Our PM make friendship where there is profit. So you take it or ignore it, you have to survive on yourself, as someone said either you go shoulder to shoulder with Eurocentric policies or Russian policies. There are only two options for Armenia. There is a third option which is very difficult. Extend friendly relationship with neighbours specially Turkey, who may open borders for free trade. It is a win win solution for both Turkey and Armenia.

  16. Zartir Lao, if you want to know why Armenia is still weak, then ask nobody else than the leaders of the nation in which you reside, the USA. Armenian Americans are going to have to understand the West’s role in destroying West Asia for its own benefit, leaving Armenia with powerful Turkic neighbours that are left untouched despite their lack of “democracy”, a useless term made irrelevant by the good old folks from the US of A.

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