US publicizes its strategy on Armenia based obviously on America’s interests

US Department of State official seal

The United States Department of State posted on its website a lengthy document which describes the American government’s strategy for relations with 175 countries, including, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, in the next four years. The 16-page section covering Armenia is dated May 4, 2022. The document is titled, “Integrated Country Strategy” (ICS).

The ICS sets goals and objectives through a coordinated and collaborative planning effort among Department of State, USAID, and other US government agencies with programming in Armenia. The document indicated that the main objective is the furthering of US national interests. It made it clear that the goal of the United States government is to minimize the influence of Russia in Armenia, while maximizing US interests. This is not surprising, as all countries attempt to increase their influence in the world. Given the Russia versus the West confrontation in the Ukraine war, US antagonism to Russia has grown exponentially. This is confirmed by the document’s own statement: “The U.S. role has become more important as regional tensions increase following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

In addition to its anti-Russia perspective, the United States drags Armenia into its hostility with China and Iran, further meddling in Armenia’s foreign relations. The document states: “Strengthen the ability of partners and Allies to resist and counter influence operations and disinformation, particularly from Russia and the PRC [People’s Republic of China]; Counter Russian, PRC, Iranian, and other state, and non-state actors’ strategic, conventional, and hybrid threats and emerging disruptive technologies that threaten U.S. and European security in Europe and beyond.”

The US document also disparages Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union since its other members are Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. The document states: “Armenia’s participation in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) may limit trade with non-EAEU members as it conforms with poorly planned or implemented EAEU standards or imposes unclear documentation requirements.” The document conceals the fact that Armenia signed on March 1, 2021 “the European Union-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA)” to enhance trade and other relations with European countries.

Likewise, the US document disparages Armenia’s membership in the military alliance of the Collective Security Treaty Organization since its other members are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.

The first paragraph of the ICS Armenia document states: The US objective is to “advance American interests by helping Armenia succeed as a secure, prosperous and democratic country, at peace with its neighbors, and more closely integrated with the Euro-Atlantic community.” The document also states that Armenia’s defeat in the Artsakh War of 2020 and continuing tensions along its border “highlight the importance of the U.S. role as a Minsk Group Co-Chair and other diplomatic efforts to improve Armenia’s ties with its neighbors.” This is a misleading statement as the Minsk Group no longer exists, except on paper, since Russia, as one of the three co-chairs of the Minsk Group, does not acknowledge its viability and Azerbaijan totally rejects its mediating efforts. The United States is simply using the defunct Minsk Group as a tool to counter Russia’s unilateral actions in the Artsakh conflict. The second excuse the United States uses to meddle in Armenia’s internal decisions is “to help Armenia normalize relations with its neighbors,” meaning Azerbaijan and Turkey, but not Iran. At this point, Armenia’s relations are much more critical with supportive Iran than with hostile Azerbaijan and Turkey.

To avoid any misunderstanding, I am just as opposed to the undue influence of Russia in the internal affairs of Armenia, which should not be under the thumb of any country and should be able to manage its foreign relations to maximize its own national interests. What Armenia needs is a multilateral foreign policy, developing friendly relations with most countries of the world, including the Middle East (Arab States, Iran and Israel), Asia (China and India), Africa, Europe, North and South America and Russia. Relying on only one power, no matter which one, can only lead to disappointment and undue influence on Armenia.

The US document repeats several times that “Armenia has strengthened its commitment to a democratic path that respects rule of law and human rights, though more progress is required.” Fortunately, the State Department recognized that “more progress is required.” Elsewhere in the document, the United States correctly acknowledged: “The Armenian government has taken some steps to ameliorate social and human rights concerns, but progress has been mixed.” Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan came to power in 2018 espousing the ideals of democratic rule. Regrettably, he has strayed far from the principles of democracy, establishing one-man dictatorial rule, making all governmental decisions on behalf of the Cabinet of Ministers, Parliament, President and Courts. Since Pashinyan has antagonized most Armenians, his popularity at home has suffered tremendously, decreasing from a high of 80 percent in 2018 to a low of around 30 percent. By ignoring the violations of human rights and decline of democracy in Armenia, the United States simply disappoints Armenians in Armenia and the Diaspora, particularly American Armenians, who question the US commitment to democracy beyond paying mere lip service.

When the US government and its embassy in Yerevan remain silent in the face of grave violations of human rights in Armenia, it shows that the United States, contrary to its statements, is not serious about improving democracy in the country. Similarly, when Azerbaijan regularly attacks and kills Armenians, while the United States calls on both sides to reduce tensions, the United States loses its credibility in the eyes of Armenians in and out of Armenia.

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Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh $917 million of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

11 Comments

  1. İncreasing us relations in armenia mean aggrasive lran would change its policy on armenia while turkey azeris georgia fellow anti armenian policy if we add lran into the bucket cause lf we betray lran for western policy they will let us pay huge price including russia

  2. “It made it clear that the goal of the United States government is to minimize the influence of Russia in Armenia, while maximizing US interests. This is not surprising, as all countries attempt to increase their influence in the world.”

    For the first part: that’s the perfect opportunity for Armenians to get the ball rolling to kick the anti-Armenia, pro-Turkey, pro-Azerbaijan, asinine buffoon state of Russia out of Armenia. A state which has spread misery to Armenians for more than 100 years and made it look like “they saved us”.

    For the second part: that is not true. I can name at least one state that not only doesn’t work to increase it’s influence in the world, but it actually actively works to harm it’s standing while working tirelessly to increase the influence of OTHER states in the region, namely a decrepit state by the name of “Mother Russia”. That state is calling itself “Armenia”.

    What we have then, is the absence of an ‘Armenian’ government in Armenia, and instead what we have is a bunch of treasonous foreign agents pretending to be a government, comprising of a bunch of knuckleheaded bozos with “yan” ending last names, which is essentially a branch of the Russian government, or more specifically, the extended mafia family of Putin the manlet dictator of Russia.

  3. Not picking a side is what got Armenia to where it is today. Armenia is not and will not be a self sufficient country. You can’t serve two masters. Complimentary politics failed miserably. The more we deal with the West the more problems we will have with Russia and Iran. Armenia cannot exist without Russia and Iran. I suggest Armenians wise up before we lose Armrnia again or suffer another genocide.

    • If your claim is true, that gives us two possibilities. Let us forget the betrayal of Russia against Armenia from 1918-1990 for a second, and start with 1994 with the victory of Artsakh against Russia’s step-child it had with Turkey, “Azerbaijan”. So… either 1. Armenians are very DUMB to the point of retardation. Or 2. Russia is a vile P.O.S. country it always was.

      So which do you choose?

      Since I know Armenians of Armenia are ignorant as a result of a “Russian education”, and they may not be exactly “smart” either, but they certainly are not “dumb”, so my choice is of course number 2. And my argument is that there is too much evidence to ignore that Russia is and always was anti-Armenia. It is not based on an isolated incident, but a slap on Armenia’s face by Russia over and over and over.

      Russia brokered a fake “ceasefire” in 1994, to NO BENEFIT for Armenia. This was at a time when the US and/or EU was of no consequence in Armenia. Yet, all benefit was for Azerbaijan. More importantly than that, from that period forward for the next few decades, Russia never supported Armenia in a way that would render any Azeri/Turk attack on Armenia useless, but in fact happily armed Azerbaijan and sarcastically refused to recognize Artsakh while conjuring up puppet states like Abkhazia and Ossetia as “independent nations”.

      And of course we were once again “saved” by Russia which brokered another “ceasefire” in 2020 when again, ALL BENEFIT WAS FOR AZERBAIJAN AND THIS TIME COMPLETE HUMILIATION FOR THE ARMENIAN PEOPLE FOR NO VALID REASON OTHER THAN HATRED OF THE ARMENIAN PEOPLE. With what fortitude and logic you guys still toot the Russian horn, I find beyond disturbing.

      Your so-called “savior” could have stopped the war in 2020 with one sentence. Instead it did the opposite and openly took the side of Armenia’s mortal enemies. You know why? Because that whole fake “war” was orchestrated by none other than Russia itself, using rabid Turks/Azeris/Jihadists hungry for Armenian blood and moronic traitors hungry for riches in Armenia.

      I also find it laughable when you guys claim “Pashinyan is a sorosakan western agent” which is why “Russia didn’t care about Armenia”. Oh let me see… Pashinyan has thus far made zero trips, zero calls to the USA, but what 20 trips and calls every other day to Russia? Oh yeah I know! Old Soros has actually taken up residence in the Kremlin!!!!

    • İf armenia betray to lran and Russia for EU US UN Nat0 policy lran will punish armenia with russia you must realize that recently pro lran groups in lebanon attacked armenians while armenians in middle east suffer switching side for west sake no smart move first save them bring to home armenia then do otherwise they will be target hunt

  4. Armenia’s natural place in the world today is in a very close union with the Russian Federation. Armenia was resurrected in the early 19th century by the Russian Bear. For the past two hundred years, as well as for the past 30 yesrs, Armenia has been able to live in a Turkic/Islamic neighborhood like the south Caucasus only because of its ties to the Russian Bear. Nevertheless, the post-Soviet years have revealed, or should have revealed beyond any doubt that Armenians are NOT ready for independence. The reality of the matter is that Armenia’s independence from Russia will only translate to Armenia’s dependence on Turkey. If for any reason Russia decided to pull out of Armenia today, Armenia will disappear from the world map on the very next day – despite any effort by the diaspora. Armenians need to be mindful of the fact that on the global stage, the existence of an Armenia ONLY serves Russia’s and Iran’s interests, and no one else. Western powers, including the US, have been very detrimental to Armenia and Armenian society in general. If it is to recover from its post-Soviet ailments, Armenia must seriously limit its exposure to the toxic West.

    For better or for worst, Armenia is wed to Russia. Yerevan must deepen its ties to Moscow. Armenians need to start thinking about entering into a union with Russia. For better or for worst, Armenia must also maintain good relations with Iran. Yerevan must develop better ties with Tehran. All other so-called solutions or remedies for Armenia’s ills today are simply a waste of time and energy…

  5. I reiterate: Every single one of Armenia’s tragedies going back at least 100-plus years has been a direct consequence of the kind of cognitive dissonance, political illiteracy and narrow worldview expressed here.

    The reality of the matter is, Armenians are simply incapable of self-rule. Armenian society is seriously dysfunctional. Armenia is therefore condemned to suffer yet another historic catastrophe. Let’s therefore pray and hope that when the next catastrophe happens, Russia will still be around to lend a helping hand, one more time. Otherwise, Armenia will disappear from the world map, one more time. Any Armenian today that can imagine an Armenia in the south Caucasus without Russia is delusional. An Armenian that is anti-Russian is either mentally disturbed or an agent of Western and Turkish influence.

    The sooner Russia absorbs Armenia, the sooner will the nightmare of the past 30 years be over.

    • “Every single one of Armenia’s tragedies going back at least 100-plus years has been a direct consequence of the kind of cognitive dissonance, political illiteracy and narrow worldview expressed here.”

      So Armenia’s idiotic “government” as opposed to our views here is “brilliant” and “politically literate” in comparison? Armenia’s complete policy is to be an obedient slave of Russia. You are contradicting yourself now, because your narrative is falling apart.

      “The reality of the matter is, Armenians are simply incapable of self-rule.”

      Another contradiction. Armenia has thus far been doing EVERYTHING ordered by Russia without exception. Not even a “protest” or “lobbying” for Armenia’s interests. Armenian “government” = Russian department. Any criticism you are doing of Armenia, you are criticizing your beloved Russia.

      “Armenian society is seriously dysfunctional.”
      Yes, although diaspora Armenians have our own set of idiotic policies, do not presume to confuse diaspora Armenians with the hayastantsis that Njteh warned us about – the “trkanman nikolakans” traitor class aka yes men and puppets of Turks and Russians, with the “nakhkin” supporters not far behind.

      “Armenia is therefore condemned to suffer yet another historic catastrophe.”

      The only catastrophe that Armenia has suffered in modern times is RUSSIAN POLICY.

      “Let’s therefore pray and hope that when the next catastrophe happens, Russia will still be around to lend a helping hand, one more time.”

      Complete lie. Russia NEVER “helped” Armenia against its enemies for you to claim “one more time”. Quite the reverse. In the first war anti-Armenia Russia was taken by surprise, and proceeded to do nothing for Armenia to go in the right direction of recognition and independence, while happily arming Azeris. In the second war, Russia was going to make sure Armenians did not succeed again.

      “Any Armenian today that can imagine an Armenia in the south Caucasus without Russia is delusional. An Armenian that is anti-Russian is either mentally disturbed or an agent of Western and Turkish influence.”

      And any Armenian who constantly toots a Russian horn and tries to prevent any rational discussion regarding the blatant and obvious anti-Armenia policies of Russia that has given Armenians a lot of suffering is not only mentally disturbed and delusional but also a traitor and a Russian agent.

      “The sooner Russia absorbs Armenia, the sooner will the nightmare of the past 30 years be over.”

      Wow. So finally you show your true colors. If you were an Armenian official this statement would have gotten you a charge of high treason. So much can be revealed with this one statement of yours… first the nightmare was the past 4 year, now it’s 30 years? Ah yes, it’s so cool for “Azerbaijan” to have independence but Armenia must not exist as a sovereign state. So you also admit the “nakhkins” were the same garbage as what we have today? Dude, whoever you are, get some professional help.

      Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the United States military for tearing Manlet Vladimir Putin a NEW ONE using Russia’s own cousins. If there ever was any poetic justice, we are witnessing it in Ukraine. As the Ukraine is anti-Armenia just like Russia, may Ukraine be destroyed and Russia crumble.

      Oh and final note… Viva Pax Americana!!

  6. What the US stands for is utter nonsense. US foreign policy interest is in direct line with Israeli interest. Its that simple. An allegiance to the US in the long term is more detrimental for Armenia as the USA will do nothing when Turkey, Azerbaijan, and of course Israel, plan the further carving up of Armenia itself. It’s incredibly amazing that America is so concerned with Armenia’s democracy and human rights, yet completely ignores Azerbaijan’s 30 plus year rule by the same despotic thug thief mafia style family, who is a human right violating machine. This all gets overlooked because Azerbaijan is PRO ISRAEL, pretty much anti Iran and has western funded oil investments that needs protection, hence the eradication of Armenians from their ancient homelands.

    Russia , on the other hand is a better long term play for Armenia, as is Iran, but neither should be totally trusted. Its just that they have more history, share some culture and have more interests that are in alignment to each other. However, I remember the oil pipeline that was to be built from Iran that Russia immediate thwarted. As for the CSTO, its a bunch of complete useless Turkic nations and a corrupt Europeans despotic ruler that Armenia got strong armed to being a part of or else. So it had no choice. The CSTO is another useless Russian dog and pony show as was seen when Armenia was asking them for war assistant. the CSTO leaders could ignore Armenia fast enough. Also the cheap Russian weapons angle didn’t pan out either as the last war proved that the weapons used were useless old non exploding Russian junk. BTW i remember before the 2020 war there was a massive, 100k soldier, Russian/Armenian military drill that focused on drone style war. What happened to that?

    Having said all that, the real answer to Armenia’s problems is Armenian unity: One Armenia, Artsakh and diaspora all working as one team. This is something neither the USA or Russia wants..This unity would solve many of Armenia’s problems. The diaspora’s only interest is a secure strong prosperous Armenia. Unfortunately it takes great will from Armenia proper and as the past corrupt leaders didn’t want any outside influence to their theft of money and elections so shunned the diaspora. However the current Pashinyan regime isn’t any better with its complete incompetence and treasonous actions. Pashinyan actually loathes Artsakh and the diaspora, especially those that criticize him, and therefore wants nothing to do with neither. Its also no coincidence that a major loss of epic proportions happened, as soon as Pashinyan takes over, this after 30 years of Armenia maintaining the status quo. And yet still no accounting of the war by Pashinyan. BTW dont count on it.

    • What the US stands for is what every other nation on Earth stands for: its own interests. That is, except Armenia, of course. How do you know the US will do nothing and sit back and watch Armenia disappear? You don’t. And neither does anyone else. Stop blaming the USA for the stupidity of every Armenian government that has ever existed. Azerbaijan being “pro Israel” has absolutely nothing to do with the west supporting Azerbaijan and everything to do with Azerbaijan being an energy producer.

      And you know why Azerbaijan is an energy producer which gets rich in peace in order to attack Armenia? Because of the stupidity of the Armenian “government”. And you know where that stupidity comes from? Russian indoctrination, threats and subjugation.

      And you contradict yourself in claiming that “Russia is a long term play”. Is that what the Armenians said 100 years ago when Russia armed the Turks against Armenia and helped create a fake state named “Azerbaijan”, and threatened Armenia in 1994 to stop the invasion of Azerbaijan or else, and which continually armed Azerbaijan for 30 years for the next war and now openly and arrogantly takes the side of the Turks and Azeris against Armenia?

      Russia is what the mafia in charge says it is. And that mafia is in bed with Turks and Azeris and has all kinds of business deals which it will not abandon any time soon. That’s how it always was and that’s how it always will be, and Armenia will continually pay the price for it, until some smart Armenians take charge and stop saying “yes” to everything ordered by Russia.

      And your constant claim of the need for unity is nice, but it’s a pipe dream. A sizeable chink of Armenia’s population are unpatriotic, ignorant and Nikol supporters. You want “unity” with that? No thanks.

  7. Armenia is too small, too poor, too remote and too isolated. Armenians are too politically inexperienced and incompetent. An Armenia on its own will therefore not survive in place like the south Caucasus. Needless to say, the US is too far and too problamatic. We can’t trust westerners because they are in Russia’s and Iran’s backyard primarily to cause trouble and exploit energy – nothing more, nothing less. The existence of an Armenia on the world map only serves Russia’s and Iran’s interests. The choice Armenia therefore has is rather simple: fully enter Russia’s orbit and deepen relations with Iran. Any other solution or remedy to Armenia’s many post-Soviet problems, which are existential in nature, is an exercise in self-deception..

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