"What does Armenia need? Rule of Law"

October 12, 2018

Among the Armenian people I have met, there is no disagreement over the fact that Armenia needs help. They are blockaded by Turkey, they do not possess the same oil sources as their neighbors, their unrecognized sister country of Artsakh is another drain on their economy, and the country for years has been rife with corruption in both the public and private sector. 


Over the past few months, the new prime minister Nikol Pashinyan has already made considerable progress in dealing with corruption, but none of the Armenians I've spoken to have any illusions that the republic's troubles are over, and most seem to agree that in needs money most of all. But what would that look like exactly, and why does it take precedent?


Rule of Law.

One Armenian I met from New Jersey believes that what Armenia needs most of all is foreign investment. The problem is that foreign investors will always shy away from countries that have no stability. Over-regulation or under-regulation are all secondary barriers to investor trust which businesses can always adjust to eventually. But in order to adjust, you need time, and for time you need stability. Provided that Pashinyan's anti-corruption measures are not undermined by the Republican Party and their majority in the parliament, Armenia only has to stay the course.


Recognition of what exactly?

Calls for recognition of the Armenian genocide by various celebrities have usually been vague. Just what exactly would recognition entail? Monetary reparations? Giving back land? I asked my friend if the Armenians would be satisfied if Turkey willingly ceded some historically Armenian land as opposed to money (Mount Ararat, or Van). He was frank in his answer: "If we got this land back, what would we even do with it? Artsakh is enough of a drain on our economy. In fact, a few years ago there was an increasing number of people who talked about abandoning Artsakh entirely." If anything needs to be recognized it would be Artsakh itself. On the other hand, rather than accepting it as a fait accompli, this may simply provoke Azerbaijan into taking desperate action. It is unwise to overstate just how useful "UN recognition" is in situations such as these. Without military power to back up such "recognition", Armenia would simply be in even more danger as they learned 100 years ago when Wilson recognized the following borders of the first Republic, but did nothing to enforce it on the reviving Turks. 



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