Why Is Armenia Terrible at Foreign Policy? The Failure of Multi-Vectorism and the Need for a New Doctrine

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EVN Report


Armenian foreign policy thinking for the last 20 years has suffered from severe poverty: a poverty in ideas, policy-making and vision. The current parliamentary elections that saw dozens of political groups presenting their party platforms on foreign policy did not incite encouragement or confidence. It was, collectively speaking, an exercise in stating the obvious and clinging to the generic. The government that Nikol Pashinyan will form after securing a constitutional majority during the recent elections must make a definitive decision: either it continues the failed doctrine of the past, or it undertakes a paradigm shift and alters Armenia’s failed foreign policy establishment. The foreign policy doctrines and international relations policies of the various administrations of the Republic of Armenia have struggled to achieve three major goals crucial to the international prestige and national interests of the Republic. First, Armenia’s international status, and its ability to use “soft” or cultural power, as well as harness the power of its Diaspora, has remained underdeveloped and ineffective. Second, Armenia’s posture and leverage vis-a-vis Azerbaijan, an authoritarian state that consistently violates international and human rights laws, has been ineffective, marginal and inconsistent with serving the national interests of the Republic. And third, the foreign policy doctrines of the last three decades have collectively failed to advance the foreign interests of the Armenian state and the domestic interests of the Armenian people, demonstrating the failure of the main doctrine that has shaped Armenian foreign policy: complementarity, also known as multi-vectorism. Noting the limitations and shortcomings in Armenia’s foreign policy doctrines, foreign policy bureaucracy, and foreign relations, all of which became more than evident in a collective failure during the 2020 Artsakh War, Armenia’s new government must construct a new foreign policy doctrine defined by “strategic engagement.”[1]


Foregin affairs; Foreign policy; Foreign Relations


International Relations | Other Political Science

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