The US proposes deeper defense ties with Armenia: A new direction for security cooperation in Caucasus

The US proposes deeper defense ties with Armenia: A new direction for security cooperation in Caucasus
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The shift in the Armenian-American relationship: from diplomacy to military collaboration.

The analyst Robert Ananyan tweets about the latest developments on the Washington-Yerevan axis, highlighting the USA and Armenia's deeper defense cooperation.

In a pivotal moment for Armenian-US relations, Yuri Kim, the US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, recently voiced the importance of bolstering security and defense cooperation with Armenia during a Senate hearing concerning the crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Kim's remarks came on the heels of the Armenian Prime Minister's proclamation that singular security dependence on Russia was a strategic blunder, emphasizing Armenia's intent to recalibrate its security alignments. Kim noted, "We need to increase the scope of assistance we provide to Armenia. The US support should be increased as much as would be acceptable for Armenia."

This statement is historic. A US official of such stature has never publicly expressed a desire to amplify defense ties with Armenia. The implications of this cannot be overstated, especially in the context of November 9, 2020. Following this date, Russia's role in Armenia's security framework has been under scrutiny, with many asserting its actions have not been in Armenia's best interests but rather aligned with Azerbaijani objectives.

Concurrently, the Biden administration has taken affirmative actions regarding Armenia, from recognizing the Armenian Genocide to endorsing internal democratic reforms. This proactive stance has, in the past, garnered support from the UN Security Council during instances of Azerbaijani aggression.

The US's renewed focus on Armenia isn't mere rhetoric. It indicates a genuine commitment to the nation's sovereignty and security. A pressing question remains: What form should this Armenian-American military collaboration take?

One potential pathway is for Armenia to adopt the status of a non-NATO ally with the US. Such a status doesn't impose the reciprocal defense commitments typical of NATO members but bestows significant military and security benefits. This could include preferential access to US military equipment, collaborative research, joint military exercises, intelligence sharing, and even crisis-based military assistance.

The Armed Forces of Armenia are transforming, and a comprehensive collaboration with the US could be monumentally beneficial. Such a collaboration would ensure security security surrounding Armenia and solidify the US as a reliable military ally, possibly even more so than Russia and the CSTO.

Currently, the Armenian-American peacekeeping exercise is underway in Armenia. This serves as a precursor for future endeavors. As the Armenian Prime Minister rightly pointed out, the country's sole reliance on the CSTO needs to be revised. It's now imperative for Armenia to take concrete steps towards rectifying this.

Concluding Ananyan states that the trajectory of Armenian-US relations is poised in a promising direction. Observers and stakeholders alike await with bated breath the developments of this burgeoning alliance.