Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Armenia's weakening importance in the US.

Since Robert Kocharian became the president, the importance of Armenia in the US has steadily diminished. There has been a defeat after a defeat the most important being the scrapping of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act (banning military aid to Azerbaijan).

The best way to gauge this trend is to count the dollars. That is, the dollars that the US government gives to Armenia. It has steadily declined and it is going to decline in 2008 as well.

While this would not be a big tragedy, the problem is that the money flowing to Azerbaijan now constitutes a larger amount even though Azerbaijan is a much richer country. Since the two countries are in a state of war with an everyday possibility of Azerbaijani aggression against Armenia, it would be logical for the US to have a balanced approach in military aid.

Unfortunately, the Armenian government has not been able to convince the US in that. For 2008, the US government will allocate 900,000 USD to Azerbaijan and 300,000 USD to Armenia! That basically means that the US endorses Azerbaijan's militaristic rhetoric.

Only a month ago Foreign Minister Oskanian expressed his satisfaction with the 2007 performance made by his ministry.

It looks like the bar is set very low for him. After such failures, any other employee would be fired. Heck, it's time to boot the administration for its failures, too.

See the Armenian Assembly's report on the aid cuts here.


Onnik Krikorian said...

Except that Armenia gets $235 million in MCA money instead, and Azerbaijan gets nothing. Personally, I favor money allocated in this way for concrete sustainable development projects rather than continued handouts decided politically.

Besides, Azerbaijan is in the center of attention because of oil. That's it, really, and perhaps represents the diminishing power of the Diaspora lobby with a Bush presidency more than anything else.

U.S. military aid is largely insignificant and just politically symbolic. Armenia receives far more assistance from Russia, and the Yanks wouldn't be allowed to do much more without pissing of Moscow anyway.

Point about U.S. endorsing Azerbaijan despite its bellicose militaristic statements accepted, though. However, in this region Armenia is always going to lose significance and importance over Azerbaijan and Georgia.

That's it, really.

nazarian said...

For those interested, see

for the awarded contracts for Millennium Challenge Account. It's quite interesting to see how much of the money goes where.

Haik said...

Well I disagree with the MCA money. It is not a success but a shame.
They trade with Azerbaijan as a partner but give us money as to a bagger. those are two different things. Personaly I would die but not become a bagger.
If we didnt go with the 1998 path we would probably be a transit country now cashing from nothing.

Frieda said...

But I wonder why America has decided to build it's largest Embassy in the region in Armenia?

nazarian said...

freida, probably because the land and labor were cheap so why not... This kind of expenditures can become pork barrel spending. They allocate a large sum of money and then have their buddies bid on the contracts and win.

There are signs of that in the MCA spending contracts. The largest contracts are awarded to foreign consultants.