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Pelosi’s Visit to Armenia

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Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States (US) House of Representatives, visited Yerevan on September 18, 2022. Although this visit was planned about a month ago, the fact that it corresponded to a period of border conflicts between Azerbaijan and Armenia increased the importance of the visit even more. For this reason, Pelosi’s visit has become remarkable in terms of showing the attitude of the USA in Caucasus-centered developments and has been closely followed by the international public opinion.

During her visit, Pelosi harshly condemned Baku and claimed that Azerbaijan committed the violation of the ceasefire.[1] Undoubtedly, this statement, aside from the USA’s support for Armenia and the end of the conflicts; on the contrary, it shows that it is in an expectation of exacerbation. Because, referring to the Ukraine War, the US House of Representatives underlined that they were in the middle of a war between “democracies and autocracies” during its speech in Yerevan, and then described Armenia on the side of democracies.[2]

Based on the emphasis on the war in Ukraine, it can be said that Pelosi’s visit had two purposes. The first of these is the discomfort created in the USA by the new status quo created in the Caucasus by the Moscow Declaration that ended the Second Karabakh War and signed on November 10, 2020. As it is known, the Second Karabakh War resulted in the rightful victory of the Azerbaijan Army and the normalization processes in the region gained momentum.

The pursuit of normalization came to the fore with the call of Türkiye and Azerbaijan at the victory ceremony held in Baku on 10 December 2020. This call basically included the regional states to solve the regional problems among themselves and thus the prevention of non-regional actors from intervening in the region. In this context, the “Six Cooperation Platform” formulated as “3+3” has started to be discussed.

Basically, this platform means the liquidation of the Minsk Trio of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). As it is known, the OSCE Minsk Trio could not produce a concrete result in terms of ending the occupation and solving the Karabakh conflict through peaceful means, despite the United Nations (UN) decisions in favor of Azerbaijan during the thirty-year occupation period. As a matter of fact, as of November 10, 2020, Azerbaijan liberated its territories recognized by international law by force and succeeded in creating a status quo in accordance with UN resolutions. The processes carried out for the “Six Cooperation Platform” in the new process led to the exclusion of the OSCE Minsk Trio, and therefore the USA and France, from the equation in the Caucasus. Therefore, Pelosi wanted to turn the recent conflicts into opportunities. In other words, trying to maintain its effectiveness in the global system through crises; that is, the USA, fed by the conflicts, has tried to increase its influence in Armenian politics through the conflicts in Karabakh. The statements of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives also confirm this.

The second point that should be noted about the visit is that Pelosi felt the need to support Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. After the clashes, Pashinyan announced that he wanted to sign a ceasefire agreement and nationalist sections in Armenia started to street protests. This situation causes Pashinyan, who is claimed to have close relations with the George Soros Foundation, to weaken politically. Currently, Pashinyan is known as a pro-Western politician. The “Velvet Revolution”, in which he came to power in his country, can also be defined as a part of the process of color revolutions seen in post-Soviet countries. Therefore, the USA thinks that if Pashinyan is overthrown, pro-Russian factions will come to power in Armenia. There is no doubt that; such a situation would mean an increase in Moscow’s influence over Yerevan. This may cause Washington to face a scenario that it does not want to face. However, it should be underlined that Pashinyan is not as useful a politician as Pelosi thinks. Because the Armenian leader is warmly approaching the normalization processes in the region and knows that opening to the West depends on the success of the regional normalization processes. This means that the USA cannot achieve its goal in this sense.

As stated above, the USA builds its leadership over the global system on crises. For this reason, Pelosi, who created a crisis in the Asia-Pacific Region by visiting Taiwan on August 2, 2022, tried to prevent the end of the current crisis with her visit to Armenia on September 18, 2022. However, it should be emphasized that the issue is not limited to American foreign policy. Because Pelosi’s visits also have an aspect related with the American domestic politics. As is known, midterm elections will be held in the USA on November 8, 2022. On these elections, the entire House of Representatives, one-third of the Senate and 36 State Governors will change. American politics, on the other hand, is shaped mainly by the support of lobbies and diasporas. Pelosi is also a candidate in those elections. Therefore, Pelosi’s visits also aim to gain the support of lobby and diaspora groups. As a matter of fact, Taiwan has been a specially chosen choice due to the large number of wealthy businesspeople living in the USA. On this visit, the Washington administration did not only challenge Beijing; at the same time, the ruling Democrats have strengthened their hand in Taiwan policy, which the Republicans harshly criticized.

Undoubtedly, a similar situation had an impact on Pelosi’s visit to Armenia. Because the USA is one of the countries where the Armenian Diaspora is the strongest. Democrats, on the other hand, care about the support of diaspora Armenians. That’s why Vice President of the US Kamala Harris declared that she would recognize the so-called “Armenian Genocide” allegations during Joe Biden’s candidacy and used this as an election material. Later, Biden, in his statement on April 24, 2022, used the term “genocide” about the 1915 Events[3] and did not hesitate to distort history for political gain. In short, democrats care about the support of the Armenian Diaspora for the continuity of their power. In this sense, the upcoming by-elections have been influential in the realization of Pelosi’s visit to Yerevan.

As a result, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives visited Armenia to return to the equation of the region from which USA was excluded after the Second Karabakh War in the Caucasus, to show its solidarity with the Pashinyan administration, which it saw as close to him, and to get the support of diaspora Armenians before the upcoming midterm elections. However, this visit once again revealed the hegemony built by the USA on crises. Therefore, the USA is no longer capable of building a secure, prosperous, and peaceful order in the international system. It is known that the best response to the attempts of the regional states, especially the Washington administration, to shape the regional geopolitics is through regional cooperation. In fact, the “Six Cooperation Platform” proposal has also emerged as a product of this awareness.


[1] “Pelosi’s Visit Fires Debate in Armenia over Alliance with Russia”, Politico, https://www.politico.eu/article/nancy-pelosi-visit-armenia-debate-alliance-russia/, (Date of Accession: 20.09.2022).

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Statement by President Joe Biden on Armenian Remembrance Day”, The White House, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/04/24/statement-by-president-joe-biden-on-armenian-remembrance-day/, (Date of Accession: 20.09.2022).

Dr. Doğacan BAŞARAN
Dr. Doğacan BAŞARAN, 2014 yılında Gazi Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2017 yılında Giresun Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda sunduğu ‘’Uluslararası Güç İlişkileri Bağlamında İkinci Dünya Savaşı Sonrası Hegemonik Mücadelelerin İncelenmesi’’ başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Doktora derecesini ise 2021 yılında Trakya Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı‘nda hazırladığı “İmparatorluk Düşüncesinin İran Dış Politikasına Yansımaları ve Milliyetçilik” başlıklı teziyle alan Başaran’ın başlıca çalışma alanları Uluslararası ilişkiler kuramları, Amerikan dış politikası, İran araştırmaları ve Afganistan çalışmalarıdır. Başaran iyi derecede İngilizce ve temel düzeyde Farsça bilmektedir.