June 2016

Page 1

Volume 1, Issue 12

Power Relations of Diplomacy


April 2016

June 2016

June 2016


June 2016


June 2016

Letter from the Editor

Chief Publisher Eugène Matos De Lara

Dear Readers,

Chief Editor Eric Wilkinson

Director Jillian Fernandez

Academic Advisors Arne Ruckert Dave Van Ginhoven Jennifer Haire Joseph Roman

Associate Publisher Amelia Baxter

This month Border Crossing examines the future of diplomacy, both broadly and in particular cases, and always with an eye to the past. As Edmund Burke articulated in a much paraphrased aphorism: “People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.” There is then great diplomatic potential in evoking heritage, and the case of overseas Australian war memorials substantiates this view. Additionally, this issue explores future diplomatic possibilities for Singapore, Armenia, Turkey, and Washington, D.C. Finally one author controversially argues this month that the future of diplomacy is to be found in middle powers, a contention that, if true, is indicates a significant shift in twenty-first century diplomacy. Amy Clarke opens this month's issue explaining how a middle-power like Australia can utilize its shared history with other countries to foster diplomatic ties. Overseas memorials testify to the historical relations between nations and provide evidence of good faith upon which countries can build their relationships. This “foot in door” provides a foundation for relations and the cultivation of an appreciation of shared national histories is thus conducive to stronger diplomatic ties. As a Research Fellow with the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies at RSIS, Daniel Wei Boon Chua instead wades into the arena of hard-power in his analysis of South China Sea disputes. His guiding question is whether Singapore can play a constructive role in the resolution of these disputes, mitigating the onset of armed conflict. He provides a hopeful examination of how Singapore might use its neutral stance and multilateral platforms to bridge the gap between disputing parties.

Associate Editors Mete Edurcan Guillaume Lacombe-Kishibe Kristina R. Proulx

Iain Watson ambitiously argues the future of diplomacy will be defined by middle powers. Shifting away from Cold War paradigms that cast middle powers in supporting roles to the leading superpowers, Watson argues that middle powers possess certain strengths including the use of multilateral forums, networking, flexibility in multilateral partnering.

Contact us

Shaima Bouzhou interviews Paul Struass, U.S. Senator for the District of Columbia and advocate for full political representation for American citizens in the district. As a special administrative district the political powers of those representing the District of Columbia in the American Congress are less than other representatives. Notably those seeking to empower the district have taken their case to international arena through the Unrepresented Peoples and Nations Organization (UNPO), among other avenues, illustrating how the presence of non-state actors on the international stage could factor into the future of diplomacy.

By email: bordercrossing.info@gmail.com (submissions)

In person: 19 rue le Gallois, Gatineau, Quebec, J8V 2H3 Canada


Tim Winter returns us to the past and how it can inform the future of diplomacy. In his reflections on heritage diplomacy Winter elucidates the importance of heritage and history to contemporary diplomatic relations while despairing at the destruction of material culture by forces like ISIS. Winter illustrates the future of cultural heritage in diplomacy. Fianlly, Sergey Minasyan reflects on the history of Armenia and Turkey, expressing disappointment at the lack of progress in bilateral relations between the countries in 2015. Noting the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and its importance to Armenia, Minasyan remarks on how relations between the two countries mutually define their profiles on the world stage. Whether looking to the past or the future the authors represented in this month's edition of Border Crossing offer insight into where diplomacy is going and from whence it has come. Enjoy! Eric Wilkinson


June 2016


Amy Clarke


Daniel Wei Boon Chua






Tim Winter


Sergey Minasyan


June 2016

Australia’s Overseas War Memorial Programme as ‘Memorial Diplomacy’ Dr Amy Clarke is a Lecturer in History at the University of the Sunshine Coast, specialising in heritage and identity politics. She is currently engaged with research concerning Australian cultural diplomacy and contemporary history, as well as British colonial heritage in the post-colonial Asia Pacific region. She is an Editorial Board Member of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand; an Assistant Editor of the journal Cultural Histories, and the Executive Committee Secretariat Officer for the Association of Critical Heritage Studies.

Amy Clarke
 On April 25th 2015, Australian politicians and invited guests attended a memorial service at the newly completed Australia Memorial in Wellington, New Zealand. This architectural installation symbolising the ANZAC (Australia & New Zealand Army Corps) bond between the two nations was a multi-million dollar gesture paid for by the Australian Government, the most recent in a long list of war memorials constructed in overseas territories with Australian funds. Earlier examples include multi-million dollar memorials in Thailand (Hellfire Pass, 1990s-2000s), the United Kingdom (London, early 2000s), Papua New Guinea (Kokoda, 2000s), France and Belgium (Western Front locations, 2000s-2010s) as well as Turkey (Gallipoli, 2000s-2010s). At one end of the memorial spectrum are what we might consider traditional war memorials such as those at First World War battle sites in Turkey, France, and Belgium; plain neoclassical plinths or cenotaphs, often accompanying a military cemetery or ceremonial landscape. Some memorials take the form of site museums, such as at VillersBretonneux (France) and Hellfire Pass (Thailand). At the other end of the spectrum are memorials such as

those built in Wellington and London; abstract and evocative in design, these structures are situated in the heart of the capital cities of New Zealand and the United Kingdom respectively, serving as reminders of the close relationships Australia has with the recipient nations. Australia has a long history of engaging in armed conflict overseas, often alongside British or American allies or as part of a United Nations peacekeeping force. As such it is not surprising that the Australian Government would seek to acknowledge the service of Australians in foreign countries. In order to facilitate this process, however, the Australian Government needs the explicit approval of the host nations in which the memorials are constructed. Once completed, these memorials serve not only as reminders of the loss of Australian lives in combat situations, but for the host nations they also serve as reminders of Australia’s involvement in their own national histories – for better or worse. Of course, Australia is not the only nation that engages in the construction of war memorials in external territories, but it is a strategy that is of particular importance to Australia given the prominence of military themes in popular


understandings of Australian identity (see Donoghue & Tranter, 2013; Lake, Reynolds, McKenna & Damousi, 2010). The growing trend of Australians going on battlefield pilgrimages to locations in Turkey, Papua New Guinea, and Western Europe is further testament to this (see Cheal & Griffin, 2013; McKenna & Ward, 2007; Scates, 2002) as is the popularity of the ANZAC motif in speeches delivered by high-profile politicians like former Prime Ministers Paul Keating and John Howard (Inglis, 1999; McDonald, 2010). Direct Government Support for Overseas Memorials Given the fact that these war memorials commemorate Australian service in war, one could be forgiven for assuming that these structures are solely concerned with past events or that they were purely for the benefit of Australian veterans and tourists. There is no disputing that this is partly the case. As Joan Beaumont recently observed (2015a), the Australian Government has been engaged in a number of memorial projects in France, Belgium, and Turkey in the lead-up to the centenary of the First World War. It has injected millions of dollars into landscaping and infrastructure at key sites in these countries in preparation for the

June 2016

predicted influx of Australian visitors in 2015. However, these war memorials are also instruments of a future-facing agenda, one that we might recognise as soft power diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, or (as Graves, Fathi, and Beaumont have recently suggested)‘memorial diplomacy’ (Beaumont, 2015b). In the process of negotiating the construction of war memorials in foreign territories, the Australian Government builds or extends on relations with foreign governments, all under the guise of acknowledging a shared history marked by sacrifice and comradeship. The symbolism embedded in the design of war memorials can also help to express this historic relationship; the Australian War Memorial in London, for instance, incorporates a curved wall of West Australian green granite inscribed with the names of battlefields on which Australian and British soldiers fought while the recently unveiled Australian Memorial in Wellington features red and grey bands of stone columns, colours that were chosen to represent the Australian and New Zealand landscapes respectively. Indirect Government Support for Overseas Memorials Thus far the memorials mentioned have been substantial and have been located in places of high foot-traffic (London, Wellington) or seasonal influxes of crowds (Gallipoli, Kokoda, Ypres). These are not the only memorials that the Australian Government has been involved with in recent years, however. Since 2008 the Government has funded an ‘Overseas Privately-Constructed Memorial Restoration Program’, awarding grants ranging from a few thousand to several hundred thousand Australian Dollars to private individuals (Department of Veterans’ Affairs, 2015). This, too, is a type of memorial diplomacy, though it works in a different manner to the high profile cases already discussed. The memorials commonly supported by the

Program are owned or maintained by people that are otherwise unaffiliated with the Australian Government; the Government does not have any longterm input in the form or function of these memorials. Often these structures are rather humble in size and are in locations such as Sabah and Ranau (Malaysia) and Ambon (Indonesia), not the typical battlefieldpilgrimage destinations commonly patronised by Australian tourists. Certainly it could be argued that the indirect nature of the Australian Government’s involvement in these memorials reduces their value as diplomatic instruments, but an alternative view would be that maintaining these memorials in a lowkey manner and via private intermediaries actually works in the Government’s favour. This, we could speculate, is certainly the case in nations such as Indonesia and Malaysia, where a grand display of Australian patriotism and sacrifice in a city landscape might be deemed culturally inappropriate. Key take-aways Australia is a self-professed ‘middle power’ in an economically and politically volatile part of the world, and in recent times consecutive Federal Governments have pursued a pragmatic, realist agenda that balances a firmly-held belief in the value of alliance with the United States with a growing interest in the Asia-Pacific region. The overseas war memorials that have briefly been described here have been directly and indirectly supported by both sides of Australian politics, beginning with the Labor Governments of Hawke and Keating in the 1980s-1990s and continuing through the Conservative Howard Government, Rudd-Gillard Rudd Labor Governments and AbbottTurnbull Conservative Governments. This is not surprising, as building contemporary reminders of Australia’s shared past with other nations serves


multiple purposes from a diplomatic point of view: Firstly, these memorials stand as physical evidence of alliances and partnerships that, if necessary, could be called upon again; such relationships have always been crucial to Australia’s defence strategy. Secondly, these memorials serve as permanent ‘cultural ambassadors’ in foreign landscapes, spreading a message of ‘Australia’ to everyday people and tapping into recent theories on public diplomacy that the Australian Government has openly pursued (see Commonwealth of Australia, 2012; Reilly, 2015). Finally, the overseas memorials operate as a proverbial ‘foot in the door’ for other diplomatic negotiations, opening up avenues of communication with foreign governments that once established can be expanded upon for trade deals, cultural partnerships, or political alliances. These outcomes are the epitome of soft power diplomacy, yet require two prerequisites in order to be successful: a shared military past and a benign global profile in the present that reassures the recipient nations that any military-related commemorations are not acts of aggression. Furthermore, in order for an agenda such as this to be supported domestically, it must align with existing perceptions of the nation’s history and contemporary identity. Australia readily meets all of these criteria, and thus ‘memorial diplomacy’ is an effective tool to retain in the nation’s diplomatic toolbox. References 1 Beaumont,

J. (2015a). Commemoration in Australia: a memory orgy? Australian Journal of Political Science, 50 (3), 536-544. Doi:10.1080/10361146.2015.1079939 2 Beaumont,

J. (2015b). The politics of memory: commemorating the centenary of the First World War. Australian Journal of Political Science, 50 (3), 529-535. Doi: 10.1080/10361146.2015.1079938 3 Cheal, F. & Griffin, T. (2013). Pilgrims and patriots: Australian tourist experiences at Gallipoli. International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, 7 (3), 227-241. Doi:10/1108/IJCTHR-05-2012-0040 Commonwealth of Australia. (2012). Australia in the Asian Century.

June 2016

4 Canberra, A.C.T.:

Commonwealth of Australia. Department of Veterans’ Affairs. (2015). Archived Overseas Privately Constructed Memorial Restoration Program (OPCMRP) Grants. Retrieved from: http://www.dva.org.au/ consultation-and-grants/grants/archived-grants-lists/archivedoverseas-privately-constructed 5 Donoghue,

J. & Tranter, B. (2013). The ANZACs: military influences on Australian identity. Journal of Sociology, 0 (0), 1-15. doi:10.1177/1440783312473669 6 Inglis,

K. S. (1999). The unknown Australian soldier. Journal of Australian Studies, 23 (60), 8-17. Doi: 10.1080/14443059909387444

9 McKenna,

M. & Ward, S. (2007). ‘It was really moving, mate’: the Gallipoli pilgrimage and sentimental nationalism in Australia. Australian Historical Studies, 38 (129), 141-151. Doi:10.1080/10314610708601236 10 Reilly,

B. (2015). Australia as a Southern Hemisphere ‘soft power’. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 69 (3), 253-265. Doi:10.1080/10357718.2014.989809 11Scates,

B. (2002). In Gallipoli’s shadow: pilgrimage, memory, mourning and the Great War. Australian Historical Studies, 22 (119), 1-21. Doi:10.1080/10314610208596198

7 Lake,

M., Reynolds, H., McKenna, M., & Damousi, J. (2010). What’s wrong with ANZAC? The Militarisation of Australian History. Sydney: UNSW Press. 8 McDonald,

M. (2010). ‘Lest we forget’: the politics of memory and Australian military intervention. International Political Sociology, 4 (3), 287-302. Doi:10.111/j. 1749-5687.2010.00106.x


June 2016

Mediating the South China Sea Disputes: Can Singapore Play an Active Part? Daniel Wei Boon Chua is a Research Fellow with the Military Studies Programme at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). In RSIS, he teaches the International History of Asia under the MSc (Asian Studies) Programme. At the SAFTI Military Institute, Daniel teaches the Undergraduate Professional Military Education and Training (UGPMET) for junior SAF officers and the Analysis of Defence and Security Policies (ADSP) for the Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College (GKSCSC). His doctoral research at the ANU focused on the history of foreign relations between the United States and Singapore from 1965 to 1975, traversing fields such as International History, Asian Studies, Cold War Studies and International Relations. Daniel is currently involved in a research project funded by an SAF-NTU Academy Research Grant about the United States' withdrawal from the Philippines and relocation of COMLOG WESTPAC to Singapore. He also has a keen interest in research training and the use of technology for teaching, writing and research.

Daniel Wein Boon Chua The South China Sea has been the hotbed of territorial disputes among China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei since the 1950s, and overlapping claims by these states show no sign of resolution today. In fact, reports of China’s active reclamation works and building of airstrips in the Spratly Islands in early 2015 have contributed significantly to rising tensions and war of words among the disputants. As pointed out by Professor Sheldon Simon (2015), neither multilateral diplomacy involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) nor arbitration based on International Law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides claimants with mechanisms for resolving the disputes any time soon. Although Singapore is a nonclaimant state in the dispute, it has expressed a deep interest in the way current disputes at the South China Sea should be resolved. On 12

November 2014, at the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, the Foreign Minister of Singapore at that time, Mr K Shanmugam, stressed the importance of stability and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which is a maritime zone close to Singapore. Singapore makes clear that it does not favour one claimant over the other, and its main concern stems from possible disruption to its trade, which is highly sensitive to hindrances to the sea lines of communication in the South China Sea (Loh, 2014). “From Singapore’s perspective or a non-claimant perspective,” Mr Shanmugam said in June 2014, “it doesn’t matter who owns which islands, but where there are disputes, we want it to be dealt with in a way that doesn’t lead to ships confronting each other, shots being fired, increasing kinetic conflict.” (Huxley, 2014) In fact, since Singapore does not lay claims on the South China Sea, Mr Shanmugam suggested that Singapore could practice active diplomacy by playing the role of an honest broker (Chua, 2014). Even


Singapore’s new Foreign Minister, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, has been cited by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to have played the role of an honest broker successfully in the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru. Dr Balakrishnan, in his capacity as Minister for Environment and Water Resources then, was praised to have been able “to work behind the scenes to bridge gaps between different countries, to help put together a deal that countries could agree upon. So it is an important low-key job” (“Good ministers matter in external relations,” 26 Aug 2015). Singapore as an honest broker Singapore fulfills the conditions for mediating among the claimants of the South China Sea. First, it does not claim any part of the South China Sea and has no vested interest in the success of any of the disputants. No matter what the outcome of the disputes might be, Singapore’s nonaligned foreign policy would be able to maintain a steady diplomatic and economic relationship with China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia

June 2016

and Brunei. But if the disputes escalate into armed conflict, Singapore, along with the region, will suffer. Second, Singapore can be a bridge between China and the four ASEAN claimants. As pointed out by Mr Shanmugam in June 2014, because Singapore is seen as both Asian and “westernised” (“Asean can’t sort out claims but can advocate for peaceful process to deal with them: Shanmugam.” 2014), it can empathise with the positions of the parties. Singapore enjoys strong bilateral relationships with each claimant in the South China Sea disputes. These ties are built on shared interests and personal relations between leaders that have developed over decades. Furthermore, Singapore is small, not a threat to anyone and is able to “speak freely and frankly” (“Asean can’t sort out claims but can advocate for peaceful process to deal with them: Shanmugam.” 2014). Hence, Singapore is in a unique position to broker a resolution in these disputes. Finally, Singapore has a track record of successfully, albeit quietly, assisting in conflict resolution, especially in the North Korean nuclear conflict. On 18 January 2015, North Korean nuclear negotiators met former American diplomats and academics in Singapore for informal talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear missile programme (Chang, 18 Jan 2015). The meeting came after the United States rejected North Korea’s offer to temporarily cease Pyongyang’s nuclear programme in exchange for a cessation of US-South Korean

military exercises in March. The informal meeting also came at the heels of US accusation of Pyongyang’s involvement in cyber attacks on Sony Pictures (Chang, 12 Jan 2015). The January 2015 dialogue was an opportunity for both sides to take “each other’s temperature”. Since Washington and Pyongyang do not have formal diplomatic relations, the US government was not directly involved in the talks. Selecting a suitable meeting place for such an exchange was also tricky. Apart from the meeting in 2015, Singapore also provided a venue for a similar dialogue between North Korea and the United States in 2008, when American nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill met with his North Korean counterpart Kim Kye Gwan. The manner in which the 2015 USNorth Korean talk was conducted is instructive for Singapore’s role as a potential mediator for the South China Sea disputes. In this case, only the American envoys, led by former diplomat Stephen Bosworth, spoke with the media and explained the objectives of the informal dialogue. The Singapore government and the North Korean delegates, headed by Ri Yong Ho, did not issue any statement. On the surface, Singapore’s contribution to the resolution of the conflict might seem insignificant. By providing a venue for the conducting of informal talks, however, Singapore played a part by facilitating a preamble for official dialogues in the future. Because of its positive relations with the United States and North Korea, Singapore was able to provide a neutral and ideal location


for the meeting to occur. Some careful administrative work would have been done behind the scenes by Singaporean officials to ensure that the meeting ran smoothly and without fanfare. That the meeting commenced in such a low-key manner was also critical for its success. The US-North Korean dialogue in Singapore reflects the professionalism, ability and efficiency of the Singapore government to organise such sensitive and high-stake events. How can Singapore mediate in the South China Sea disputes? Singapore can do more than provide a meeting venue for the claimants of the South China Sea. As a member of ASEAN, Singapore can contribute to the development of a Code of Conduct for the resolution of the disputes. Sharing an interest in the stability of the region with other ASEAN states, Singapore can work with the four ASEAN claimants towards a common objective of a peaceful resolution. There is great potential for joint efforts in resource exploration and maritime security among the claimant states, and Singapore can potentially contribute to such multilateral confidence building measures. Through bilateral interaction and multilateral platforms such as ASEAN Plus Three and East Asia Summit, Singapore can discuss the disputes with China at the highest levels and urge Beijing to handle the disputes in ways that will not lead to conflict. In addition, Singapore can leverage on its broad and extensive

June 2016

relations with China, as well as the four ASEAN claimants, to persuade the parties to keep tensions from escalating into armed conflict. Although tangled in historical and sovereignty issues, the South China Sea disputes need not inevitably lead to conflict. A strong argument based on facts and shared interests needs to be made in order to avert future conflicts and miscalculations in the South China Sea. With its experience in diplomacy, perhaps Singapore can provide that voice of reason and clarity.

6 Loh,

Dylan. (12 November 2014). ASEAN must respond in decisive, coordinated way to regional issues: PM Lee. Channel NewAsia. Retrieved on 13 October 2015. http://www.mfa.gov.sg/content/mfa/media_centre/ singapore_headlines/2014/201411/ headlines_20141122.html 7 Simon,

Sheldon W. (April 2015). Explaining China’s Behavior in the South China Sea. Border Crossing, 1 (3), pp. 18-19. Retrieved on 13 October 2015. http://issuu.com/diploflying/docs/ bordercrossingapril2015honesty_dipl

Endnotes: * This article is an updated version of an earlier article published by the author. See Chua, Daniel Wei Boon. (25 November 2014). CO14235 | The South China Sea Disputes: Singapore as an “Honest Broker”? RSIS Commentary. https://www.rsis.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ CO14235.pdf 1 “Asean

can’t sort out claims but can advocate for peaceful process to deal with them: Shanmugam.” The Straits Times. Asia. Retrieved on 13 October 2015. http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/south-asia/asean-cantsort-out-claims-but-can-advocate-for-peaceful-process-todeal-with-them 2 “Good

ministers matter in external relations.” The Straits Times. Opinion. Retrieved on 14 October 2015. http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/good-ministersmatter-in-external-relations

3 Chang,

Jae-soon. (12 January 2015). U.S. downplays upcoming Singapore meeting with N. Korea. Yonhap News Agency. Politics/Diplomacy. Retrieved on 13 October 2015. http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/ 2015/01/13/39/0301000000AEN20150113000300315F. 4 Chang,

May Choon. (18 January 2015). North Korean nuclear negotiators meet former US diplomats in Singapore. The Straits Times. Singapore. Retrieved on 13 October 2015. http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/north-koreannuclear-negotiators-meet-former-us-diplomats-in-singapore 5 Huxley,

Tim. (30 June 2014). A Conversation with Mr K. Shanmugam. IISS-Fullerton Lecture. Retrieved on 13 October 2015. https://www.iiss.org/en/events/events/archive/2014-0f13/ june-d70b/fullerton-lecture-shanmugam-0829


June 2016


June 2016

The Future is Middle Power

Iain Watson is Associate Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS), Ajou University, Korea. He teaches Korean Politics and International Relations at Ajou University, Korea. He has also taught at the United Nations Mandated UPeace University in Seoul, Korea. He has published work on Asia-Pacific geopolitics in various international journals and monographs. He received a Ph.D from Newcastle University, UK and previously taught International Politics at Durham University, UK.

Iain Watson
 The Ebbs and Flows Interest in middle powers has tended to ebb and flow. Perhaps this is because the assumed roles and behaviour of middle powers are reflections of power shifts in the international system of sovereign states. Middle power governments also tend to construct particular narratives regarding the states’ ‘place in the world.’ This has lent itself to particular behavioural expectations such as ‘international good citizen’ and ‘trustworthy team player.’ There does, nonetheless, exist a potential credibility gap between what a middle power wants to be (or at least how it wants to be perceived) and the reality of power distribution in the international system. Yet there is an increasing complexity and myriad of disagreements over what or who defines the principal norms and values of the international state system. This is partly a result of oldfashioned ‘multipolarity’ in the postCold War era, and partly a result of the rise of new middle emerging powers. These powers find themselves often in a somewhat

unenviable position of both reinforcing and yet challenging existing (often Western) institutional norms and values. Cold War Power System During the Cold War, middle powers were traditionally seen as those states, often US allies, with ‘internationalism’ built into their strategic DNA. New middle powers are typically understood as those states that have emerged in the postCold War era and play a key role in the expansion of multilateral organizations. The rise of the new middle powers (or the so-called ‘rise of the rest’) has also added a dimension to rethinking the site and the nature of power. Middle powers are often thought to be thriving in a new world order of unpredictable and yet energizing multipolarity. This has led to a variety of attempts from middle powers to reprioritize global agendas and to ‘soft-balance’ the more strategically inflexible bigger powers. This can mean the ‘me-first’ taking on of big power agendas and using these to accelerate and ‘capture’ potential norm trajectories ahead of


schedule. This has been the case with the climate change and green growth agendas amidst a welter of institutional gridlock and various contrived future-led goals and targets. Although clearly ambitious, middle powers also recognize the dangers of ambition inflation both for state and institutional credibility. In an exhausted world awash with elite-led narratives of ‘urgency’ and big targets, a certain respite from the benign, almost casual, elite-led insistence on the ‘all we need is political will’ might be one of the middle powers’ greatest achievements. Conventional parameters of the ‘measurement’ of middle powers have been, perhaps rather blandly, issues of population size, land mass, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), income per capita, to name but a few. More significant parameters have focused on middle power behavioural attributes often as convenor, mediator, facilitator, and ‘bridge.’ Middle powers can proactively be defined through their efforts of creative diplomacy and as creative powers. This approach would seem to challenge the traditional

June 2016

passive view of middle power leverage as ultimately restricted by big power leverage. Regional Power Traditionally, whilst global powers were assumed to be more concerned with high security and global issues, regional politics were seen as the domain of middle powers interest in ‘soft security’ as non-threatening states. Where or when middle powers were involved in global issues or multilateralism, this was through a strategic ‘bandwagoning’ of the existing regional power ally or the ‘rising power.’ Although freed from regional hegemonic bandwagoning and ‘Sherpa status,’ primarily as a result of the wider and yet uneven processes of regional integration, middle powers are, generally thought to be concerned with domestic credibility issues as they strive to match regional and multilateral commitments with resources. At the same time, where middle powers do move from the regional base to engage in a more multilateral role, this more proactive multilateralism can feed back into greater regional leverage. Middle powers may choose to bypass any such regional restrictions or leverage and leapfrog into a more assertive multilateralism. Yet it is worth bearing in mind that there remain sharp distinctions and controversies over the relationship between regional processes and global processes. That is whether dynamics of regional integration represent a ‘de-coupling’ from or reinforcing of global convergence or global convergence(s). Globalisation has perhaps paradoxically engendered

more opportunities for middle powers. Bigger powers are becoming more vulnerable and sensitive to disruptive issues in their region. This has led to a variety of ‘soft power’ and ‘national branding’ strategies by the bigger powers to reinvent their national identity and, in effect, to reconstruct the geographical and historical boundaries of ‘their near abroad region.’ There is an increasing emphasis by middle powers on searching out of ‘peers’ and ‘like-minded states.’ However, middle power groupings do not necessarily conform to any ongoing regional processes, be these integration or dis-integration. Instead these groupings seem to be enacting a form of cooperation through a collection of ‘bridge’ nations primarily activated by and through connected niche issues. There is also the added dimension that new middle powers act ‘as if’ they will in future become traditional middle powers in the hope of generating a self-fulfilling prophecy subject to international peer recognition. There is also the issue as to whether there are strategic implications a state faces because it is a middle power ‘on the way up’ or a former great power ostensibly in decline. Middle powers can be used by big powers to give the big power more credibility with smaller states, whilst simultaneously middle powers may be portrayed by the big powers as ambitious ‘upstarts.’ This can undermine goodwill of smaller states who may see middle powers as representing them at the ‘high-table.’


The Notion of Power The notion of power itself is perhaps becoming problematic, with various indications that power is perhaps ‘something’ easy to get but more difficult to keep. In response, middle powers use these concerns and turn them to their advantage by accelerating the diversity of niches (to avoid zero-sum choices). So-called ‘pivot’ middle powers aim to get more enmeshed (rather than traditional autonomy) to capture network ‘centrality’ and ‘hub-ness.’ This means that middle powers are not static bridges but engage in an array of flexible pivoting within alliances. This strategy aims to avoid being locked into ‘forced’ choice. Networks therefore both cross cut territory and recreate the spatial construction of territory so that territory is no longer seen as a ‘container’ within which state agency takes place. Networks are defined as any set (or sets of) ties between any set (or sets of nodes) and no assumptions are made about the homogeneity of the nodes. On the contrary, heterogeneity and difference in issues, values and network positionings are necessary ‘binds’ for cooperation. Centrality may allow a state to possess social power by more easily accessing resources and information from other nodes because of this central position. The (rather pejorative) term ‘occupying’ the geographical centre, does not necessarily guarantee power or leverage. Yet the more numerous an actor’s ties are,and the more connections created, then the more influential the actor becomes. Middle powers are often called upon to take

June 2016

on more of the burdens and responsibilities of their bigger power ally, and they use this ‘call’ as itself as leverage . This is in contrast to the ‘asset’ or ‘attribute’ approach. However, the very notion of what it means to position and to have leverage is now opened up. Middle powers not only act within political spaces but reinvent these spaces through their particular strategies. This is a reflective middle power leverage based on interests and identity that challenges some of the more entrenched approaches to explaining (and guiding) middle power agency.

References 1 Bremmer, Ian (2014) ‘Winners and Losers in a G-zero world’ http://www.diplomaticourier.com/ian-bremmerwinners-and-losers-in-a-g-zero-world/ 2 Cooper, A.

(2015) ‘MIKTA and the global projection of middle powers: Toward a Summit of their own?’ http:// globalsummitry.oxfordjournals.org/content/ globalsummitry/1/1/95.full.pdf 3 Cooper Andrew

and Jongryn Mo (2015) ‘Middle power leadership and the G20’ http://csis.org/files/publication/ 110818_hgcy_working_paper_No_1102.pdf 4 Naim,

M. (2009) ‘Minilateralism, the magic number to get real international action’, Foreign Policy, http:// www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/06/18/minilateralism

Conclusion This can have a number of policy implications. Firstly, middle powers are more proactive in generating inclusive minilateral forums to respond to specific and yet interlinked issues. Secondly, middle powers are increasingly able to avoid ‘false’ choices through network connecting with like-minded states. Thirdly, flexible partnering between ‘different’ states can generate greater cooperation and trust. This is in contrast to the relying on established institutional multilateralism that has been based on practices of socialization and ‘similarities’ but which is now increasingly gridlocked and beset by credibility gaps as a result of their previous success. Paradoxically, it is in these gaps that middle powers can also have their most impact.


June 2016

“Shedding Light on a Shadow Senator”

Shaima Bouzhou 
 Washington, D.C: one of the most powerful locales in the world, where influential decisions and policies are made every day. This political capital of the United States is located in the District of Columbia, which is not considered a state, but a federally controlled district. Congress retains full authority over the District. Consequently, the district lacks congressional representation and residents seek affirmation of their civil and political rights. What are DC’s ambitions and how is it currently organized? I spoke to DC’s (shadow) senator Paul Strauss about the matter. As DC's shadow US Senator elected by DC residents, Senator Strauss is not allowed to vote on legislation or debate on the floor of the Senate. His legislative role is limited and consists mostly of the placement of written statements in the official record of proceedings or presenting testimony to selected committees such as the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee in the Senate. There are many things Senator Stauss cannot do on behalf of his constituents. That said, Strauss

explains that “my ambitions for DC are essentially to make the ambitions of my constituents real. DC residents voted for Statehood as a solution to the problems of their lack of political equality. My goal is to allow the District of Columbia to realize our ambitions.” The Rule of Law In the Anglo-American system of the rule of law, the law is dependent on and independent from the state. It follows the theory of positivism that prioritizes state sovereignty. This is somewhat reflected in Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution that is the basis for the establishment of DC as a federally controlled district to ensure that the political capital of the nation cannot be influenced: [The Congress shall have Power] “To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States.”

political rights dates back to the 14th Amendment which established citizenship rights for “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” Also, the 23rd Amendment creates voting rights for DC residents in presidential elections. The citizens of DC are restricted in their right to participate fully in society’s public affairs since their interests are not represented in Congress according to Strauss. In relation to the impact of DC’s lack of political equality, Strauss asserts that “it has an extremely negative impact. First, the denial of political rights is not only psychologically demoralizing but is harmful to the economic wellbeing of the District of Columbia. In some specific cases Congress has used its power over DC to abolish important life-saving public health programs, and repeal and weaken firearm safety laws. The lack of votes on budget issues means that DC does not get adequate resources spent on its needs.”

The District of Columbia’s chief argument for f equal civil and


June 2016

Ethics of justice believes that everyone is equal before the law and that no polity should be above the law. Every citizen thus enjoys, by theory, equality before the law. Under the legal notion of due process, as indicating a positive requirement of the state (i.e. it must act to ensure fundamental rights), the US must respect all legal rights owed to a person. This notion of fairness and accountability keeps the rule of law in tact and makes a nation democratic. Citizens of DC find this a contradiction to the long-time status quo of the district, hence their support for shadow senators to make a change. An International Podium Diplomacy establishes relations and endeavours to ensure the preservation of positive relations. As a tool diplomacy can be effective and even necessary. The cultivation of relations at the international level to further one’s agenda would potentially promote change, and Strauss has done exactly that. He not only draws attention nationally but seeks international attention for DC’s issues by involving diplomats and NGO’s. Diplomacy can influence US policy by drawing international attention to an issue most people are unaware of. For example, Strauss states that in 2007, the OSCE passed a resolution condemning the US for mistreatment of DC's residents, and it was significant in persuading a Republican US Senator to change his position. DC, represented by the popularly elected Statehood Congressional

Delegation in conjunction with the New Columbia Statehood Commission, has been admitted as a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO); an international, nonviolent, and democratic membership organization with members including indigenous peoples, minorities, and unrecognized or occupied territories. UNPO promotes its members’ human and cultural rights, aiming to preserve their environments, and to find nonviolent solutions to conflicts which affect them. Now why would the issues of DC in the United States have relevancy on international fora? Through this platform, DC seeks to raise awareness. Strauss explains that “The United States’ government frequently uses international pressure to encourage democratic reforms in other nations. It is time for other nations and peoples to use this same pressure to make the US live up to the ideals it claims to represent. - When the United States, a nation who holds themselves out as a true democracy violates democratic principles, its relevance goes beyond the borders of its capital district.” Strauss’ ultimate ambition is to influence change in the political structure on a domestic level and subsequently the creation of a 51st State and they believe that the UNPO could assist in this process. Solutions are most likely to be found through dialogue. Co-operation and partnership are key elements in the development of strategies to achieve such an ambition.


Strauss finds that “given the severe human rights violations committed by some of the world's most authoritarian regimes, it is easy for some to look at the US political mistreatment of its capital’s residents and decide it is not a serious problem. But democracy is an ideal which cannot be betrayed.” This is what makes DC special; it is a distinctive and specific case. What DC has in common with the other 42 members of UNPO is the desire for full representation as a civil and political right under national and international fora. DC has therefore been admitted to UNPO as an ‘unrepresented people’. Given the current political climate and lack of support for the DC case, I asked which politician running for President of the United States in the 2016 election would perhaps be in favor of DC’s ambitions. “Bernard Sanders and Hillary Clinton are the most supportive, but Donald Trump, interestingly enough is also supportive. Most of our opposition comes from the far right wing of the American political spectrum.” What DC ultimately needs is legislation passed by Congress that affirms statehood for DC. DC’s current plan divides the federal center of Washington from the residential non-governmental portion of the District of Columbia. This twojurisdiction solution requires the approval of Congress. All in all, DC’s case for voting representation and self-determination is slowly gaining momentum domestically and internationally. Regardless , Strauss

June 2016

will continue striving for full equality in DC on the basis of his focus for “real equality for all Americans.”

1 Washington’s

Top News. ‘DC joins international group of ‘unrepresented nations’’ (10 November 2015) <http://wtop.com/dc/2015/11/dc-joins-international-groupof-unrepresented-nations/> Accessed 11 November 2015 2

TIME. Will D.C. Finally Get a Vote? (13 July 2007) <http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/ 0,8599,1643500,00.html> Accessed 12 November 2015 3 The Washington Post. Why is D.C. trying to join a group for oppressed ethnic minorities? (5 November 2015) <https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/why-isdc-trying-to-join-an-group-for-oppressed-ethnic-minorities/ 2015/11/05/163f9050-83f5-11e5-9afb-0c971f713d0c_story. html> Accessed 6 November 2015 4 WJLA.

The New International Standing for DC Residents. (10 November 2015) <http://wjla.com/news/news-talk/the-new-internationalstanding-for-dc-residents> Accessed 11 November 2015 5 'UNPO

Welcomes New Member, District of Columbia' (9 November 2015) <http://unpo.org/article/18703> Accessed 11 November 2015



June 2016

Heritage Diplomacy: Culture Beyond Soft Power Tim Winter is Research Professor at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University, Melbourne. He has published widely on heritage, development, urban conservation, tourism and heritage diplomacy. He is President of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies and been a consultant for the World Bank, Getty Conservation Institute, and World Monuments Fund, and been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge, The Getty and University College London, Qatar. He is currently writing a book on heritage diplomacy.

Tim Winter
 The recent destruction of cultural heritage by ISIS in Syria and Iraq has been a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities of culture in times of conflict. Coverage in the Western media has focused largely on the inadequacies of international legal instruments to prevent the illicit trafficking of objects or the challenges of implementing in situ protective measures. Much less attention, however, has been given to the diplomatic dimensions of protecting mosques, archaeological sites, and their objects. As the cultural arm of the UN, UNESCO has been at the forefront of promoting awareness about the plight of the region’s cultural heritage. But with the protection of culture now recognised as a human rights issue, is it not the responsibility of all to act? Whilst UNESCO has been highly successful in internationalising such an ethos and securing a widespread commitment to protecting expressions of culture deemed to be of ‘outstanding universal value’-the threshold for world heritage listing-its attempts to respond to the ongoing crisis in the Middle East have, in part, been shaped and restricted by the

diplomatic interests of its member states. This is evident at the recent annual meetings of the World Heritage Committee. As with other UN fora, consensus and concession are the drivers of compromised resolutions, including those that were drafted in 2014 concerning the addition of Syria’s seven world heritage properties to the ‘List of World Heritage in Danger’. As members of the committee, India, Senegal, and Malaysia all raised concerns about infringements on state sovereignty and the risks of UN mandate creep. In that regard, we see that efforts to protect cultural heritage-even those deemed to be the ‘irreplaceable treasures’ of humanity-are no different to other arenas of international discourse and policy, such that world heritage is subject to the global politics of strategic alignments and the diplomatic dynamics that arise from trade blocs or east-west postcolonial relations. I cite this as an example of a theme, that of heritage diplomacy, that warrants far greater scrutiny than it has received to date. Although we are seeing an unfolding of ideas about


what constitutes diplomacy (see the variety of subject area covered in the 2013 Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy) little critical attention has been given to the ways in which the material world shapes and drives diplomatic practice. In tackling such questions, my own interest lies in understanding the ties between international diplomacy and the material culture through which we inherit the past. It might be suggested that cultural heritage is a subset of cultural diplomacy. I will argue heritage diplomacy needs to be read as distinct from cultural diplomacy. Heritage is more than a form of ‘soft power’ that revolves around a series of cultural exports. One of the defining characteristics of the modern heritage conservation movement is ‘international cooperation’. 1878, the moment when the Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) in Britain decided to include foreign projects in its program, stands as a landmark date in this story. Shortly after the founding of the Society, William Morris travelled to Italy, and upon observing the removal of mosaics from the baptistry of St Mark’s Cathedral

June 2016

initiated a public conservation campaign. Although successful in Britain, SPAB’s efforts were met with indignation in Italy. At a time when assertions of national sovereignty and colonial power vis à vis the material past were at their height in Europe it would be some years before cultural institutions across the continent would be comfortable with accepting assistance from their counterparts. Looking further afield, as Europe’s powers moved beyond just plundering the material past of their colonial territories towards a greater concern for preservation, key cultural sector institutions emerged, along with expertise, laws, and diplomatic structures; all of which meant Europeans shaped the discourse of heritage conservation as it spread across the world over the course of the twentieth century. In the aftermath of World War II, the arrival of international organisations such as UNESCO would ensure cultural heritage featured in both national reconstruction and international reconciliation. Decolonisation and formation of new nation-states also meant material pasts were put to work in the forging of national identities in regions with deep histories of cultural exchange and flows. Since then, the use of cultural heritage within such nationalisms has remained strong. But as the anxieties of early postcolonial national building have subsided, new spaces have opened up for international cooperation. This trend is evidenced in the World Heritage system today wherein countries in Asia, the Middle East,

and Latin America are enacting heritage conservation collaborations that straddle national borders and territories, and linking these to investments in economic development. Significant to heritage diplomacy in the last decade has been the growing influence of the non-West. To use the language of international trade, many countries are moving from being net importers of cultural aid to being net exporters. And with culture now firmly ensconced in developmental frameworks proclaiming sustainability, human security, and economic growth, cultural heritage-in all its tangible and intangible forms-is proving particularly expedient at the all important ‘community level’. In Asia, South Korea, China, and India are among those joining Japan in more strategically embedding international cooperation programs in cultural heritage within their foreign policy programs and overseas aid programs. Similar examples could be given for the Arabian Gulf, where Qatar is funding multi-million dollar projects in archaeology and conservation for other countries in its region. Looking forward, where funding for overseas cultural aid from Europe and North America is likely to face pressure and cuts, states outside these regions appear to be increasing their investments in heritage diplomacy, in some cases at extraordinary rates. Culture beyond soft power It was suggested above that heritage diplomacy needs to be seen as more than cultural diplomacy or soft power.


Whereas cultural diplomacy points towards the export or projection of particular cultural forms (e.g. television, film, cuisine, fashion) heritage diplomacy brings into focus multi-directional cultural flows and exchanges. In many cases, cultural heritage becomes activated diplomatically because it speaks to notions of shared culture, even one culture. Equally, once linked to developmental infrastructure aid, urban planning, tourism development, post-disaster reconstruction, and so forth, heritage also acts as an arena of spatial and social governance, one that crosses borders and takes on the characteristics of hard power. To illustrate this further it is helpful to identify the ways heritage acts both in diplomacy and as diplomacy. The former highlights the various ways in which cultural heritage figures into existing diplomatic ties built around trade, the bonds of colonialism, conflict or other strategic alliances. In such instances, heritage diplomacy often revolves around the forms of conservation aid, whereby one country provides assistance to another; the Netherlands to Indonesia, Japan to Afghanistan, the US to Iraq. This takes on multiple forms. In addition to actual conservation work, assistance can also include technology transfer, the training of professionals and institute building both of which are commonly referred to as capacity building, - or in the case of physical heritage sites, the development of management plans and upgrading of infrastructures related to urban planning or tourism development. In such cases,

June 2016

collaboration or the establishment of aid relations is not dependent upon any substantive sense of mutual or shared culture. But if we return to the example of UNESCO’s world heritage committee meetings, we begin to see some of ways in which heritage acts as diplomacy. Terms such as flows, crossroads, cultural links, bridges, and histories of pilgrimage are now liberally used to justify inscription on the World Heritage List. Support for the nomination of Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah in 2014, for example, primarily came from those members of the committee able to proclaim historical or cultural affinities. Speeches by Portugal, Jordan and others were carefully worded to highlight their historical connections around religion and trade; narratives of a shared heritage that pre-dates the modern nationstate. World heritage has thus become an important platform for establishing connections from the past as the basis for future cooperation. Indeed, it is an arena that explicitly encourages states to be internationally disposed, wherein norms of cooperation rely upon internationalised cultural nationalisms and the building of bridges through the identification of shared pasts. As noted above this means we have seen a shift towards countries collaborating over serial and joint nominations and using heritage as a mechanism for bilateral relations. Looking beyond this intergovernmental forum of cultural governance, culture in all its forms is

being used as an agent of diplomacy. Food, archaeological remains, dress, music, or monumental and vernacular architecture can all tell of cultural connections, flows, and exchanges, but here it is worth differentiating between cultural relations and heritage diplomacy. The latter only comes into play at particular moments and in particular contexts; where such cultural forms come to be directly or indirectly incorporated into foreign policy, or become subject to governance structures driven by international agencies committed to their conservation and management. Architecture, archaeological remains, traditional dance forms, food and textiles are all presented as shared heritage by former colonial powers and rising regional powers alike in the name of creating forms of historical and cultural conjoining, a process that gives significantly more diplomatic weight to their contemporary international relations. Claims by India and Saudi Arabia of being cultural and religious centres, for example, are diplomatically expedient when conducting relations with neighbouring countries that ‘share’ the cultural pasts of Buddhism and Islam respectively. Elsewhere, the British museum is using a discourse of cosmopolitanism to justify its ownership of the Elgin Marbles, such that notions of postnational cultural significance are invoked via expressions of antiquity as a shared European heritage, conjoining Britain and Greece in ways that seek to smooth out diplomatic tensions over where the archaeological remains should reside. Together, such examples vividly


illustrate why heritage as diplomacy is considerably more potent politically, than merely heritage in diplomacy. Heritage futures An international concern for preserving, managing and utilising the cultural past has been one of the defining features of the modern era and contributed to global economic and political integration over the last century and a half. The desire to preserve and curate material culture has at once brought nations together and simultaneously kept them apart. While we know much about the deliberate destruction of culture in times of conflict, our understanding of material culture as a constituent of diplomacy remains much less developed. Cultural heritage will continue to be folded into new political relations via debates concerning sustainability, human rights, urbanism, inter-cultural dialogue, and security. Reading such trends in terms of heritage diplomacy also reveals how this landscape is now shifting under conditions of global change, as states and other actors increasingly utilise cultural heritage and the governance of culture in their broader political and economic relations and strategies. References 1 For further details see: Meskell, L., Liuzza, C., Bertacchini, E. & Saccone, D., (2014), Multilateralism and UNESCO World Heritage: decision-making, States Parties and political processes, International Journal of Heritage StudiesNo.ahead-of-print, pp. 1-18. 2

For further details see: Winter, T., (2015), Heritage Diplomacy, International Journal of Heritage Studies, Vol. 21 No.10, pp. 997-1015.

June 2016


June 2016

Armenia And Turkey: What Will Be After 2015? Dr. Sergey Minasyan is the Deputy Director and Head of Political Studies Department at the Caucasus Institute in Yerevan, Armenia (since March 2006). He holds a PhD in Military History (2002) at the Institute of History under the National Academy of Science and Doctor of Political Science degree at the Institute for National Security Studies at the Ministry of Defense of Armenia (2013).

Sergey Minasyan Introduction 2015 has become a very important historical and political milestone for Armenia and Turkey. It is the centennial of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire and has been commemorated in Armenia and the Armenian diaspora. The commemoration might have been a great opportunity for any kind positive change in Armenian-Turkish relations. Unfortunately, it seems that 2015 has instead been a lost opportunity that will enlarge an existing historical, political, and psychological gap between two nations and societies. It seems that Armenia and Turkey are returning to the vicious circle of common alienation and even hostility.

sealed its borders to Armenia and failed to establish diplomatic ties. Moreover, in Armenia and especially among its large and influential diaspora, public attitudes to rapprochement were diverse and conflicting. Many people believed reconciliation should not take place unless Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide. Turkey’s denial of the Genocide fostered general distrust of Turkey in Armenian society, as did the fact that Turkey backed neighboring Azerbaijan in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, including blocking land communication to Armenia and providing a great deal of arms and weapons transfers to Baku.

The Lessons of the Zurich Protocols Since Armenia’s independence in 1991, its three successive presidents have invariably expressed their country’s readiness to normalize relations with Turkey without preconditions. This is despite unsettled historical issues between these two nations, namely the 1915 Genocide of Armenians by Ottoman Turkey, and the disappointing record of the last decades in which Turkey

However, the last attempted rapprochement (so called “football diplomacy”) culminating in the October 10, 2009 signing of the Armenian-Turkish Protocols in Zurich, was initiated by the Armenian government and consistent with Armenia’s interests and commitments to ratify and implement the Protocols. Though the Protocols were initiated in 2010 they have not been ratified by the Turkish government and the “football diplomacy” stalled due to


domestic opposition in Turkey as well as Azerbaijani efforts to stymie the process. As a result, in April 2010, the Armenian side had to suspend the process of political normalization with Turkey. As the central aim of this unsuccessful rapprochement attempt was full-scale reconciliation with Turkey, Armenia was prepared to compromise and make bold decisions. However, Yerevan insisted that any negotiations or agreements must stay within the bilateral format and steer clear of third-party involvement, such as Azerbaijan. Armenia made it clear to the Turkish authorities that attempts to tie the Armenian-Turkish normalization process to the conflict over NagornoKarabakh would frustrate the rapprochement. But Erdogan’s government demonstrated an unwillingness to break its own political and geopolitical interests and make a breakthrough in its relations with Armenia. As a result, Ankara’s refusal to ratify the protocols without preconditions, continuing blockade of Armenia, and open support of Azerbaijan in the

June 2016

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict led to heavy criticism among Armenians; some opposition and influential Armenian diaspora groups called for rejecting the protocols outright, insisting that keeping them alive only blocks efforts at Genocide recognition. Officially, however, Yerevan insisted that the logic of the protocols remain the foundation of any future progress in ArmenianTurkish relations as they are the result of difficult and painful compromises reached in bilateral negotiations. If and when Turkey became ready to make real steps toward Armenian reconciliation, Yerevan was ready to restart the process of normalization. According to this approach, in 2014 Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan unexpectedly invited Turkey’s next president to visit Armenia in 2015 to pay tribute to the victims of the Genocide. The invitation was issued partially as a response to then-Prime Minister (and now President) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s condolences to Armenia and the diaspora on the 99th anniversary of the Genocide. The main aim was to, assuming Erdoğan accepted the invitation, to revitalize the Armenian-Turkish process of normalization. Despite the complexity of the past, Armenia once more declared its readiness to normalize relations with Turkey without preconditions. However, Turkish leadership rejected this offer and instead decided to organize a parallel spectacular and pompous celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Dardanelles on April 24, 2015 – the

very day when Armenians the world over traditionally commemorate the tragic days of the Armenian Genocide. When many countries and governments stood in solidarity with Armenians and the Armenian state during the commemoration such cynical “messages” from the Turkish government, aimed at turning the world’s public attention from the Genocide memorial events, again led to a vicious circle in the ArmenianTurkish relationship and almost took them back to square one.

around the world mainly as a result of that tragic event.

The Commemoration’s Influence The 100th anniversary of the Genocide in April had a very strong psychological impact on Armenian society and the diaspora. For Armenian society, international recognition of the Genocide is not only about moral compensation but also about security; recognition of the Genocide by various states, including Turkey, is seen as a pledge against future genocides and a way to reduce the feeling of insecurity still experienced by many Armenians. For Armenia and Armenians, recognition of the Genocide is also perceived as important to recovery.

This is why diaspora-led efforts to secure Turkey’s recognition of (and possible restitution for) the Genocide will continue, even if Armenia and Turkey make tangible steps toward normalizing relations and opening their borders. Campaigns for international recognition of the Genocide began before modern Armenia was created; for example, the European Parliament passed a resolution on the Genocide back in 1987 when no one could so much as imagine that Armenia would become an independent state four years later. Turkey will continue to invest considerable resources into trying to offset the activities of the Armenian Diaspora rather than focus on its own foreign policy agenda. According to Osman Bengur, a Turkish-American expert and a former Congressional nominee, “By some accounts, approximately 70 percent of the Turkish Embassy’s time in Washington is spent trying to persuade leading Americans to support the Turkish position on the Armenian question.”

The Armenian struggle for international recognition of the Genocide and atonement from the Turkish government for the crimes committed by its predecessor depends on more than the commemoration of symbolic dates or the dynamics of Armenian-Turkish relations, like 1915-2015. The Genocide and its international recognition are key elements of Armenian political identity, which became scattered

Unsettled relations with Yerevan expose Turkey to pressure from world leaders such as the US and the EU. Some actors in Brussels and Washington use the Armenian question as a tool to pressure Ankara on a range of issues from EU membership to the status of Iraq’s Kurdish-populated northern provinces. This might be a growing concern for the Turkish political elite and society. As the end of the


June 2016

commemoration of the 2015 centenary of the Genocide approaches, increasing efforts to have the Genocide recognized by the many European states, including the new resolution of the European Parliament, inevitably created an unfavorable atmosphere for further Turkish-Armenian reconciliation efforts. In this context the continuation of traditinal Turkish policies towards the Genocide only fuels further Armenian mistrust of any kind possible attempt at Armenian-Turkish reconciliation and makes Ankara more vulnerable to Western pressure. On the other hand, however, if in the current global political condition (i.e. Russia’s tensions with the USA and EU) the West seeks to revive a containment policy against Russia, it may seek Turkey’s cooperation to help deny Russia a position of influence in the South Caucasus. One of the elements of such a strategy could be a renewed focus on Armenian-Turkish normalization, as the Turkish blockade and Ankara’s support for Azerbaijan reinforce perceptions of insecurity in Armenia and cement Russia’s military and political presence in the South Caucasus region. Accommodating these revived Western efforts may serve Ankara’s long-term interests. Although Turkey and Russia are large-scale trade and economic partners and sometimes even exhibit a common tactical convergence (such as during the 2008 Russia-Georgia war), they remain “competing allies” from a strategic perspective, as we can be seen in their antipodal

approaches toward the crises in Ukraine and Syria. Conclusion In 2008 and 2009, Armenian-Turkish reconciliation began because circumstances were favorable; the U.S. and EU strongly endorsed reconciliation efforts, there were some hopes for democratic change and opening in Turkey that would make it possible from a domestic Turkish perspective and the RussiaGeorgia War secured Russia’s blessing, speeding up the process. But in 2015 situation has been changed dramatically and become more complicated from political and security perspectives. Many new factors have hindered attempts at normalization, including growing mutual distrust (accelerated by continuous Turkish rejection of the Genocide), mounting support for nationalist groups, a complicated domestic situation in Turkey accompanied with growing regional ambitions of the Erdogan’s government, continuous pressure from Azerbaijan, and a dramatically changed global context (especially Russia-West tensions in the frame of the Ukrainian crisis).

perspective on relations with Turkey is again moving closer to that of the diaspora. But even under these conditions Armenia has already taken its initial step and is still waiting for a responsible Turkish reaction. Whereas relations with Turkey are a major security issue for Armenia, for Turkey the Armenian Question is an issue of historical liability that affects its international image and relations with its Western allies. References 1 See: Alexander

Iskandaryan, Sergey Minasyan, “Pragmatic Policies vs. Historical Constraints: Analyzing Armenia-Turkey Relations,” Caucasus Institute Research Papers, Yerevan, # 1, January 2010. 2

Osman Bengur, “Turkey’s Image and the Armenian Question,” Turkish Policy Quarterly, vol.8, No 1, p.45.

Under these circumstances, it will be very hard for Armenia to continue with normalization without visible and serious steps from the Turkish side. Mistrust of Turkey has grown significantly even among those political circles in Armenia that were originally very pro-rapprochement and argued in favour of it in discussions with nationalists and diaspora actors. The Armenian


June 2016


June 2016