January 12, 2011 - 19:13 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The U.S. has displayed indifference, or at least apathy, toward Karabakh situation. This needs to change. The OSCE, largely because of distrust between the U.S. and Russia, cannot bring itself to function as intended (i.e., as a mediator), National Review said in the article authored by Stephen Blank.
Renewed military action would be a humanitarian disaster. Despite Azerbaijan’s high military budget, most analysts still maintain that its military capabilities are not a match for Armenia’s, and that unless Azerbaijan launched only a limited war, it would probably lose after the initial shock of its offensive. Moreover, it is likely that Moscow would then intervene. This would in turn put Turkey in a bind: Russo-Turkish relations today are very good, but Turkey is also allied with Azerbaijan. If Turkey failed to intervene on Azerbaijan’s behalf, it would lose whatever claim to respect it has in the Caucasus, something that it is hard to envisage Ankara accepting quietly.
Because of its conflicts of interest, Russia is incapable of mediating this dispute by itself. If NATO is serious about its summit declaration, and if there really is a genuine reset between Moscow and Washington, the OSCE’s Minsk Process — run by the U.S., Russia, and France — should mediate, and the U.S. and France must take active, even leading roles. Polls show that most Azeris still think of the U.S. as a reliable ally — in spite of the neglect shown by Washington to Baku this year.
The 2008 Russo-Georgian War showed that even small wars in the Transcaucasus can have repercussions that far transcend the region. Failure to take an active role in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh issue not only cements Armenia’s dependence upon Moscow and estrangement from Turkey and Europe; it also undermines the success Azerbaijan has had in strengthening Europe’s position vis-a-vis Russia on energy security. Continued neglect of Azerbaijan, and of the Transcaucasus as a whole, can only erode U.S. standing and damage its credibility in the region, confirming Russia’s belief that the reset policy amounts to an acknowledgement of its right to a sphere of influence over the Commonwealth of Independent States. Under the circumstances, the ongoing failure of the U.S. to play an active role here makes no sense at all — and worse, encourages the drift to war, the article concludes.