1. the past 20 years have reshaped the face of this geiohaprgc area. Correction/clarification: Nothing can reshape geography. Geography is the only constant thing. Mountains don't change their location or altitude. Rivers don't change their direction or presence. Valleys and plains don't move.2. Geography of the Caucasus was, is and will be the same. Forever. The regional actors may change (Assyria, Rome, Greece, Byzantium, Iran, Ottoman Empire, Russia, Mongols, etc.), but not the geography. Geopolitics dictates us to accommodate to the geography. Geopolitics forces us to act in certain ways in foreign and security policies.3. Geopolitics is a very, very, very complex game. It is also very dispassionate subject. Most people don't understand it. M. Saakashville, despite being a brilliant politician (domestic politics in Georgia), lacked the fundamental concepts in geopolitics. He and his entire crew failed to understand that: (a) Russia is the dominant player in Caucasus, (b) Georgia was, is and must be a buffer zone for Russia. The war of 888 was a disaster for Georgia and a fantastic (albeit incomplete) move by Russia. It was a logical result of Russia reasserting its influence to protect its southern border.4a. Russia's interests boil down to protecting its southern border: (a) to dominate the countries in Caucasus (especially their foreign and security policies), (b) to prevent foreign powers to establish military bases in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, (c) control or affect the energy transport routes in Caucasus, (d) other issues.4b. USA's interest is to prevent Russia from becoming a global power which threatens its worldwide interests, by making sure it is does not control the heartland (the key geopolitical concept): (a) encircle Russia, (i) for our purposes, force it to retreat from its southern border established since Ivan IV, (ii) establish its own military presence (it began in Georgia military advisors or potential NATO membership, but 888 prevented it), (b) make Europe less dependent on Russia's energy supplies, thus creating and protecting alternate routes (BTC, Nabucco, etc.). (c) other goals.4c. Armenian leadership does NOT understand how INSECURE Russia is. Russia is the most powerful regional player (not a global power anymore), but it is also very, very insecure. Stated differently, Russians are scared. Really scared. But they don't show it, because they are real masters in this big and complex game. They have a long tradition of geopolitics dating back to 15th century. Thus, Armenia is not getting as much as it can from its geiohaprgc location.4c(i) Russians (still) think globally. Armenians, due to their history, do not think globally. Their mentality is provincial; after all they had no statehood (except 1918-1920), and were a backward province of Ottoman Empire and/or Russian Empire. I suggest the Armenian Military General Staff and its Foreign Ministry think globally, act locally. What goes on in the Southern Sea of China, the US withdrawal from Iraq, the India-Pakistan conflict, US placing a military base in Australia, China building naval bases in Africa and Pakistan, the price of water in 10 years, the location of the US navy in the past 2 weeks, the likelihood of Israeli strike on Iran without consulting the US, are important for Armenia. But I bet if I asked the president, the ministers of defense or foreign affairs these questions, they will be dumbfounded. I wish I am wrong, but .4c(i) (1) For example, what are the consequences of a US or Israeli military strike on Iran? What opportunities does it provide to Armenia? Is Armenia ready to gain its advantage, if any?4c(i) (2) For example, during the next Russia-Georgia war (since Russia did not accomplish its final goal), what should Armenia do? I don't have all the inside discussions in Yerevan, during 888, but, looking from afar, I see that Armenia failed to take advantage of the potentially wonderful opportunity. Again, I am not privy to any secret discussions between Moscow and Yerevan. But theoretically I see at least two things Yerevan could have done to gain more influence in the region.4c(i) (3) For example, Russia is happy with the status quote in NKR. Its the most powerful weapon against Nabucco project or Transcaspian gas pipeline to scare Baku with NKR. All the talk about EU, UN and this and that is a distraction. Meetings, interviews, conferences are for the uninformed. That's why Russia has not solved the issue and will keep it on the back burner (a) to scare Baku, (b) to scare Yerevan. Thus, no party will join NATO. Russian southern border is more secure.4d. The aforementioned are some basic interests. It is short. In order to detail all the actors, their interests, their actions, the shifting alliances and possible outcomes requires a long book.P.S. I suggest you read Sir Halford John Mackinder. He is the father of geopolitics. He wrote 100 years ago, but he is still pertinent.
Haruka | 2012-10-20