I have read the 124-page document entitled “A White Paper – The Karabakh War of 2020 and the Future of Armenia’s Foreign and Security Policies” in its original English version.
In all honesty, the book does not deserve more than the minimal reaction that will be presented in this article. I was disappointed by this, because from the fragmentary comments I had encountered regarding this document, I had thought that it would have provided me with an opportunity to make a contrary and exhaustive presentation, on an important subject.
But in any case, after losing Shoushi in particular, I no longer have the desire – or even the strength – to make superfluous efforts. And I don’t think that the tiny portion of this White Paper that deals with our National Question will find any takers at all. Especially not at this stage of the Armenian History.
As far as the said national question is concerned, the 3 authors of the document express their subjective and biased opinion, in a few paragraphs. With an obvious ideological and political orientation, which they do not really try to hide, but which is predictable and ordinary, not original at all.
The rest, in essence, has little to do with the subject of our National Question. It’s a mishmash, vaguely pretentious, occasionally informative, but largely irrelevant.
* * *
However, with regard to – among other things – the aforementioned national question – which seems to be its main objective, vainly disguised by everything else… – the book is somewhat misleading.
While appearing to base its conclusions on the opinions of numerous “experts”, the document displays the contradictory, diametrically opposed opinions of 45 individuals. The latter are, moreover, arbitrarily chosen, and certainly cannot represent the entire Diaspora, far from it. (It should also be noted that the authors sent their questionnaire to 73 people, 28 of whom did not even bother to reply.)
So, according to the document itself, some of these 45 people expressed an opinion and a position symmetrically opposite and opposed to those of the 3 authors. And it is not known what proportion of these 45 participants thus have an opinion opposite to that expressed by the 3 authors, in their doctrinal conclusions.
* * *
But while we’re at it, let’s sketch out some basic answers, on the substance of the matter.
What the authors are essentially saying is that Armenians need to separate their national agenda from their state agenda.
This is what the ultimate salvation, the urgent rescue, of their state would require.
Since they present themselves as experts, we would have liked to hear these eminent authors cite at least one example, one and only one example, of a single ethnic community in the world, with a state bearing their name, whose diaspora would take care of the national agenda, while their state would have a mysterious separate agenda, which would be emptied of its national content…
The reality is, that it is only stateless peoples, who pursue their national agenda outside the territories on which they aspire to found a state.
Those are called “stateless nations“.
In the case of all peoples who have a State, it is in fact… the opposite!
It is their state that sets the national agenda, and their diaspora only assists their state, if at all, in this regard.
I don’t know about anywhere else, but that’s the way it is on our planet.
* * *
Moreover, the authors of this White Paper are under the impression that the national agenda of the Armenian state is a feverish fantasy of its Diaspora. And that, moreover, it is this one which imposes it to that one.
But…the said National Agenda is embedded, enshrined, formally and explicitly formulated in the very founding Acts of the present Republic of Armenia.
The founding Acts of the present Armenian state are signed, by the way, by the then boss of the Bostonian-Lebanese author of this amusing White Book.
Let us speak even more clearly: the Armenian Question is expressly stipulated in the Declaration of Independence of the present Republic of Armenia. Signed and proclaimed in 1991. By a person named Levon Ter-Petrosyan.
As I said above, I don’t have the strength I used to have, so I’m not going to translate here a precise and detailed article I had written on this subject. But here it is (it’s all there) :
* * *
Now, at the stage of Armenia’s independence, not only did the Diaspora have neither the intention nor the means to impose anything on the re-emerging Armenian state, but the Diaspora was not even that enthusiastic about the idea that Armenia should proceed so quickly, so precipitously, in such a hasty, irrational, disorganized and chaotic manner, to Independence.
Even the Diaspora Party, the original founder of the Republic of Armenia, which had called for the return of the Republic to independence during 70 years of Soviet rule, advocated a gradual, step-by-step approach to independence.
Therefore, rather than scolding – or even insulting – a certain Diaspora, moreover in its current state, urging it to “leave the Armenian state alone”, the authors concerned would be better advised to submit a very simple and expeditious recommendation to the government and the Parliament of Armenia: modify, rewrite and reformulate the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Armenia. At the very least.
No big deal, right… ?
And it is during this interesting process that we will see what Armenians, in Armenia and the rest of the world, really think about the matter at hand. And not just 3 authors of a vast, pompous thing, and 45 participants in their questionnaire – an unquantified proportion of whom are totally, frontally, head-on opposed to their opinion -.
It is not necessary to continue, on this level.
By arguing, for example, that the national agenda in question, not only is not a danger to Armenia’s national security, but it is rather an the ultimate guarantee for it. The blatant and current proof of this is the continuing aggression, the invasion of Armenia itself – still ongoing, if not yet to be followed – after the loss of Artsakh.
And this famous special road, this reserved “corridor” between the Turks of the South Caucasus and their brothers in Anatolia, it is demanded by all these Turks, why? Because of our national agenda?
So the Turks want such a highway between them, through Armenia, because… they feel threatened by our national agenda?
Panturquism would therefore be a means of defence for the Turks. A legitimate measure of self-defence, against the terrible Armenian threat…
It is so clear. Just as it was for the Meds Yeghern. Which, as everyone knows perfectly, was in fact caused by… the Armenians.
Because of their national agenda, of course !
While from 1907 to 1913, the armenian Party, considered to be the one of radical nationalists, had resigned itself to establish a relationship of collaboration with the Turks. It even turned a blind eye to the massacres in Cilicia, the precursors of “1915”. Important members of the said Party became downright Ottoman deputies. Sitting in the Turkish Parliament…
It was the happy and so promising “Era of Peace”. The time of reconciliation. The time to turn the page, to finally look towards the Future…
These are exactly the same words we hear now, yes.
But, that was at the beginning of the 19th century…
We’ve been there.
So have the Turks…
* * *
Insofar as the national agenda of the Armenians is necessary and indispensable for the viability of the Armenian state (we do not yet claim to speak of survival, nor of durability, but only of viability…), the proposal of the authors of the White Paper in question consists of wanting to save the Armenian state, by killing it.
By putting and en to its agony more precisely…
* * *
In a particularly strange paragraph, the authors of the White Paper in question themselves dictate what would be an acceptable response to their opinion, should we ever have the audacity to disagree with it.
They themselves peremptorily frame a possible (unthinkable?) refutation of their position.
Instead of being offended, let’s play their game, come on. Why not?
So here it is, an alternative to their proposal for Armenia’s final national suicide would be the following scenario:
1) We proceed to the demarcation of that newly created, Armenia-Azerbaijan border line.
We are not talking about a Peace Treaty, but about the demarcation of a border, based on a ceasefire agreement.
This official formality will therefore establish a boundary that will be as final as any boundary agreed upon in these circumstances…
In fact, a border resulting from a ceasefire agreement, not a peace treaty, is more accurately called a front line.
In any case, this procedure is unavoidable. Since at this stage it is impossible for us to start the war again.
By the way, when the authors of the White Paper refer to the cease-fire agreement, they systematically call it the “10 November Declaration”…
This is very strange, in a document issued by experts.
Indeed, there was certainly a declaration on November 10, 2020.
But it was to announce a formal agreement, signed the day before.
So why talk about a November 10 declaration, when it is in fact an agreement, a formal document, signed by Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia.
We will not discuss here various possible conjectures, in an attempt to explain this strange procedure of the authors of the White Paper in question…
However, let us emphasize here that the aforementioned border demarcation is an obvious corollary, an inevitable and unavoidable consequence, an element of the implicit but obvious content, of the ceasefire agreement signed on 09 November 2020.
When territories are ceded – and received – they must be clearly defined
2) As soon as this is done, Russian soldiers will position themselves all along the eastern border of Armenia, just as they are already doing on the western border. The residue of Artsakh is also surrounded by Russian soldiers now.
Therefore, considering that it is not likely that Georgia or Iran will attack Armenia militarily, the threat of war will be dissipated. And this is for an indefinite period.
Otherwise, Nato (via Turkey) will have to fight this time directly against Russia… In which case good luck to them all. We have already given, thank you very much!
But in such a scenario, it is not only Armenia that will be confronted with an “existential”, even apocalyptic, test.
3) We will then set about the task of rehabilitating Armenia, in all respects.
Noting that the ceasefire agreement signed on November 9, 2020 puts an end to all economic hindrances inflicted on Armenia so far.
4) We’ll see what happens next, if anything… In due course…
Sorry for the authors of the White Paper, because this scenario is certainly not suitable for the West. For NATO, that is…
* * *
The authors of the White Paper in question seriously underestimate the powerful and profound nationalist backlash among Armenians that will result from the humiliating, catastrophic and dishonorable defeat they have just suffered.
Perhaps this is what the Armenians needed, a new vitality. To shake themselves, to find themselves, to live a new and salutary Zartonk, like the one that had blossomed in the 1830s, after several centuries of morbid torpor, of national nothingness, of enslavement, of collective self-abrogation.
The return of the pendulum will give the right time, again.
However, for an indefinite period of time, the subject matter of this White Paper is likely to be “fashionable”.
For there are two reactions in a situation like the one the Armenians are experiencing right now: Vichy, or De Gaulle. And on the spot, it is rather Vichy which prevails… This is an integral part of the process of Defeat. Which is however not irreversible.
It is fear (there is no better word, in this case applicable), a banal feeling of fear, that one wants to present as the Voice of Reason, the Way of Realism. As if…
By considering that Armenians are incapable of assuming a situation of “permanent war”, the authors of this White Paper advocate a permanent capitulation. A continual retreat, a perpetual national withdrawal, ad infinitum.
Is that really a solution?
The thirteen months that have passed since the loss of Artsakh, against the backdrop of the conciliatory and pacifist posture of the Armenian government, prove that: no.
And that not only is this not a solution, but on the contrary, it makes the situation worse and more difficult.
With every concession, the attacker and invader demands a new concession.
The slightest gesture of appeasement is seen as a sign of weakness, a new opportunity for aggression.
This would leave the “solution” of total submission. What a good idea!, since the current Turkey claims to be an Ottoman country…
But then… the brilliant Future that we have been promised since the loss of Artsakh, rather than the future, would be a dizzying return to the past. To the time of that imaginary happy cohabitation of five centuries between Armenians and Turks, under the Turkish Rule.
It was such a wonderful, ideal time. A utopia that became a tangible reality. But which, quite unfortunately, the national agenda of some Armenians violently destroyed. Causing the deplorable Tragedy that we all know… What a shame…
Thus, even the modern revisionism of our History would only be a recycling of the usual revisionism that the negationists, the genocide-denialists, have been serving us for a long time. And that some Armenians have never stopped believing.
* * *
Libaridian is true to himself. This is his moment of triumph, so let him savor it a little. It’s only fair…
A quarter of a century later, there is clearly no point in arguing with him and Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s supporters like him. Everything has been said, on this internal front.
So at this point, yes, bravo. They won. Congratulations. As far as this round goes…
But the case of the other two authors in question is different.
(I’ll spare the kindly “Armenia’s Ministry of Defense expert in 2018 and 2019” here, who admits that herself, in the document at hand. So her boss at that time, whom she served with her wise expert advice, is thus the guy who valiantly launched the provocative, bellicose slogan “new war, new territories!“; at the very least and among other things, a trigger for the masterful beating that ensued, that was inflicted upon us. An element of the staggering poker coup, of the enormous bluff of the “revolutionary” regime, which generated all those incredible losses, this unspeakable carnage… The same Minister of Defence, who thus benefited from the advice of the author of the White Paper in question, is moreover, at this very moment. in prison. In connection with what he would have done – or not done -, in that capacity, before and/or during the disastrous war of 2020. No, that’s okay… we’ll put all that aside…)
In the case of two other authors, therefore, despite all the intense efforts they make to give their words an appearance of a “cerebral” approach to the current state of things, the undersigned is under the impression that their actions are the result of the extreme emotional shock that all Armenians are experiencing in the catastrophic situation that has been going on for more than a year now, and that continues to worsen.
(Yes, I can pass for an expert in psychology, if the 45 respondents to the questionnaire used for this White Paper, as well as the 3 authors concerned, are experts on all the subjects addressed in it).
If this is the deep motivation of this book (which cannot have any other significant effect), then, why not. Let’s hope that it worked for them.
If not, I would recommend that they… drink.
It is a less laborious way of trying to ease the suffering of the soul, and it is possibly more effective than publishing such a document.
Of course, it is not a cure, the relief is – each time – only temporary. But it is better than nothing.
Let’s take that as a victory, at this stage.
Montreal, November 24, 2021