September 27, 2012 - 20:56 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - In America’s eyes, Armenia might be in the most important position of any US ally to pursue anti-Iranian policy, Truman Project’s Daniel Gaynor writes.
In his article, the expert tries to answer the question as to why the U.S. prioritizes cooperation with Armenia.
“Few countries are in better position to shape US foreign policy than Armenia. Armenia borders Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Iran. As a part of the former Soviet Union, it relies on nearby Russia extensively for trade and military backing. The U.S. has a significant stake in all five countries, and Armenia is now coming into view as a potentially potent lever to advance American aims.That is, if the Armenians can be won over.As the US tries to woo Armenia to become a stronger ally in the region, the term “geostrategic” has never been more apt.
Armenia is literally at the center of a number of countries that Washington considers among its top priorities. As President Obama tries to accomplish key foreign policy objectives–like preventing Iran from attaining nuclear bombs or seeing democracy flourish in Russia–he’s got to encourage Armenia to play along. To Armenia’s south, one such issue is unfolding in Iran’s nuclear centrifuges,” the article reads.
“America is racing to develop every diplomatic pressure point it can on Iran, lest Israel launch a preemptive attack and embroil America in a third Middle East war in ten years. One of those pressure points goes straight through Armenia. While the US has cut off formal relations with Iran–Washington talks through Switzerland’s embassy there–it’s no secret that it employs a variety of foreign policy crowbars to influence and destabilize Iran’s ruling regime. Some, like President Obama’s latest round of economic sanctions, are well known. Partnering with Armenia is not, but could have a major impact. Through economic and diplomatic incentives, the U.S. is actively trying to shape Armenia into an ally. As President Obama seeks to economically isolate Iran–his sanctions have cut the value of Iran currency in half–he is trying to regionally isolate the regime, as well. Armenia is key to that strategy.
For Armenia, the game is far less simple. Partnering with the U.S.–with whom it has a good, but not great, relationship–could alienate the few friends Armenia has left in the South Caucasus region. It wants military cooperation with Russia, but economic access to the west. While it has tried to deepen relations with the European Union and the U.S., Armenia’s two best friends at the moment are arguably the U.S.’s most challenging adversaries: Russia and Iran. That’s not necessarily because of shared ideologies, or even shared interests; it’s because Armenia doesn’t have many friends to pick from. Of its four neighbors, two–Turkey and Azerbaijan– have closed off their borders to Armenia,” Mr. Gaynor writes, according to stratrisks.com.