The Strategy of Counterdemanding an Unfavorable Demand

Prof. Demirdjian filed the below short essay in response to “An Urgent Appeal”.

Z. S. Andrew Demirdjian PhD, Los Angeles, 2 August 2021

When the dust settled on the Second Artsakh War of 2020, it has became obvious that Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Russia have converged, have come together and formed a single unit in advancing their common interests of forcing Armenia to accept the ill-conceived corridor  from Nakhitchevan to Azerbaijan mainland through the Syunik  province.

Such an ill-conceived plan would violate the sovereignty of the Republic of Armenia by affording the two genocidal enemies, namely Turkey and Azerbaijan, a foot into the door of Armenia’s territory.

The international community will as usual adhere to their sympathetic bystanding without coming to Armenia’s rescue. Moreover, it has become apparent that Putin has betrayed Armenia in letting it be torn asunder before stopping a lopsided war.

The best way out of this predicament is to resort to what I would call the psychology of “The Strategy of Counterdemand”. Counterdemand is a demand made in response to another demand.

To appear fair and reasonable in the eyes of the world community, Armenia should indicate its willingness to approve the corridor through its territory on one condition that Turkey would also accept to let Armenia have part of the “Black Sea Silk Road Corridor”.

The Black Sea Silk Road Corridor is the route of the western Silk Road through four countries, Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, and Greece. The trail stretches from Meghri (Armenia) to Thessaloniki (Greece). The trajectory of the Black Sea Silk Road Corridor will extend eastwards from Armenia to China, and westwards to the ports of Mediterranean Europe and North Africa. All of the countries found in this big area would favor Armenia’s proposition of reestablishing part of the Black Sea Silk Road Corridor in return to its willingness to approve the Nakhitchvan to Azerbaijan corridor through its territory.

Otherwise, such a long corridor would be absurd to ask, but not if the demand is only from Turkey for a short corridor from Gyumri to Hopa on the Black Sea.

Without any compensation to Armenia, the world community would consider forcing Armenia to give up a corridor through its territory an act of plundering. Armenia does need the support and the pressure on the tripartite to act reasonably and not steal Armenia’s territory without giving something back to this beleaguered country, which is without a true ally.

The strategy of counterdemanding would be akin to throwing the ball into the court of the tripartite. If it works, we gain; but, if it fails, we should find other ways to protect our homeland from the plunderers scheming at the gate of Yerevan.

  1. Dear Sir, i would like to highlight some points that need to be addressed so that we can fully absorb the analysis made. Point 1 If Turkey/Azerbaijan support that silk route, then why not make it through Nakhitchevan and Turkey directly, they do not need us at all? Point 2, the line in your article follows a sea route at the north, there are much shorter alternatives. Point 3 Why Russia wants to create this, when it is against their Oil interests. Point 4, the granting of the corridor is to enable a similar corridor to be granted to Artsakh. Point 5 another precondition to the corridor is allowing Russia to access Artsakh through Azerbaijan Caspian sea side. None of these factors are canvassed in the article. Point 6 By allowing the access, the Russians may have in mind to numb the idea of a Common Army between Turkey and Azerbaijan removing any excuse, however that analysis is not very sound as it does not take into effect future moods. Point 7 Pashinyan should order the destruction of the Azeris in Armenian soil and get prisoners for exchange, the Azeris will counter attack, we will then see if Russia will interfere. Point 8. Your article carries a big lie. Putin did ask for cessation when the WHOLE of ARTSAKH was ours and Pashinyan turned it down.

  2. Dear professor,
    We all understand the game. But there is still one crucial factor that has not moved on the board. That is the Russian army -not the Kremlin. Kremlin is run by turkophiles but the Russian army general staff is boiling with anger. There will be major changes in Russia and this will be a surprise. From our side we have lost faith in the ENTIRE leadership of Armenia. And I mean the entire dirt bag. We have to move as Cilician Diasporans and stop this mess. I think it has been discussed before in previous conversations about the corridor and so forth. But we cannot allow the so called treasonous regime of Kocharyan, Sarkissian and Nikolig to represent the massive world of Armenian Diaspora. Therefore if his majesty Nikol signs on the dotted line, then he knows that within 10 years nobody will be left in Armenia. It demonstrates the lack of will and lack of diplomacy to push forward and build alliances with India, Iran, Japan, Vietnam, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, France, Poland, Sweden to name a few. These are nations who are anti-Turkish. The regime is blissfully dormant. Why? Because they don’t take our advice and only they are the “intelligent patriots”. Well we lost billions in investment morally and financially in Armenia and Artsakh to hand it over to the Turks . What did Serge Sarkissian lose? Nothing .
    My dear Armenians, do not agonise over what has happened, every Armenian developed a minor stroke because of the war. Regroup for cilicia and leave them in their own misery. Last but not least, a year has passed since the Beirut explosion and still the “beggars” from RoA are asking for help from Beirut and the Middle East! So imagine how low these creatures are! May God Bless every Armenian Diasporan who helped for Beirut. May every Armenian live a life of plenty in Cilicia and the ashes of the past will give birth to a new independent government and army far away from the corrupt officials of RoA and Russia. We are the ones who walked the desert and built communities. We ARE THE TRUE ARMENIANS full stop.
    Fellow Armenians, change is on its way but not from the Caucasus, so for all the fellow listeners to Dikran’s website start thinking laterally and move away from defeatism.
    Sincere greetings to all.

  3. In his article Prof.Demirdjian points out that “The best way out of this predicament is to resort to what I would call the psychology of “The Strategy of Counterdemand”. Counterdemand is a demand made in response to another demand.”
    I am not sure if the Professor took into consideration the following bitter realities of international relations/realpolitiks:
    1) In int’l politics you have no pemanent enemies, no permanent friends, only permanent interests.
    2) In int’l politics “Might Makes Right”.
    3) In Int’l politics you can’t put on the bargaining table any “Counterdemand” when you have an army that fought heroically a war for 44 days but lost. The Army acknowledged (July 2020) to PM Pashinyan that they cannot win a war against multiple enemies (Azerbaijan, Turkey, Israel) and advised the Armenian government to avoid war by using diplomacy.
    4) We need to study history to avoid repeating the same old mistakes and accept, at least temporarily the notions that “The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”. Our enemies will grab more and more Armenian lands to further their political agenda. In the absence of a strong Armenian Army no one will listen to our preachings of moral principles. International politics is an amoral game. Therefore before adopting “The Strategy of Counterdemand” we should divert our effort to building a strong army that will be ready to defend Armenia’s sovereignty and thus strengthen our position when we sit down at the bargaining table and enforce to our enemies the message that they should think twice before imposing on Armenia any demands.
    Noubar Harry Serabian, editor

  4. Armenians played a leading role and were masters of the Silk Road for centuries! It would be a crying shame if Armenia is not included in the Chinese led initiative of the modern Silk Road.

  5. It is very strange that Europe or any of these western nations disregard Armenia yet they spend billions in Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria.

  6. This message is to all Armenians all around the world.
    Armenians must be doing something terribly wrong to have so many countries around us to dislike us. We have no great politicians, we have no visionaries and dedicated leaders.
    If the new generation of Armenians are taught the truth about our past history and the present situation we are in, they may look at things differently and find true genuine solutions for our country’s future.
    Jano Kostanian

  7. If Russia is reneging on its agreement to protect Armenia by staying in the Russian protective umbrella at the time of independence in the early 1990s, then what will prevent Armenia from looking to the West for alliance. I am not sure; but could Armenia, for example, seek to join NATO as Turkey did? Or similar approach with the west? That would force Russia to pay more attention to the sovereignty of Armenia.

    Would like some more educated comments on this subject.

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