By Prof. Z. S. Andrew Demirdjian, Los Angeles, 28 February 2023
“Multidimensional problems require multidimensional thinking.
To find simple, actionable, single-task solutions, we need
multidimensional thinkers to strike at the heart of things.”
― Richie Norton
The moment of truth is approaching to portend additional problems for the existence of the Republic of Artsakh. The trilateral agreement of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia of November 9, 2020, will expire in November of 2025. It will have many negative implications for Artsakh, if Armenians adhere to a wait-and-see attitude –for none of the political analysts is sure how President Vladimir Putin would help Armenians out of this impending calamity since his political sympathies seem to be with Azerbaijan.
Without preparation, Armenians may very well find themselves again between the devil and the deep blue sea. Once the Russian peacekeeping forces are withdrawn, President Ilham Aliyev will continue to resort to more illegal measures to subdue Artsakh. His honesty is suspect for he has many times violated the spirit of ceasefire agreements with Armenia.
Emboldened by the victory of 44-Day War and Putin’s tacit green light, Aliyev would resort to his bag of tricks to bring Artsakh under his control. Even ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Armenians cannot be ruled out from Aliyev’s Gengis Khan-like behavior. If Armenia intercedes on behalf of Artsakh, this will mean another large-scale war.
This is not a farfetched scenario, given the present humanitarian crisis of 120, 000 Armenians, laid in siege for nearly three months in their own ancestral homeland while the West turns a blind eye to Azerbaijan’s brutal treatment of innocent men, women, and children.
The future does not bode well for Artsakh since most of the international community is hesitant to stop Aliyev’s brutal tactics which are considered “a war crime of societal torture.”
Multidimensional approach is the concerted method to tackle problems from different angles at the same time–such as guaranteeing the survival of Artsakh, recognition of its independence, and having security measures for a peaceful and prosperous existence.
Unlike a one-dimensional approach that puts all eggs in one basket, multidimensional approach tries to solve a problem through various strategies and perspectives–concurrently.
Multidimensional approach to solving problems was practiced by the famous Greek physician Paracelsus. To treat a patient, he applied a “multidimensional approach” involving physiology, astrology, psychology, etc. to find a cure.
In the 1960s, Ludwig Von Bertalanffy popularized the concept of multidimensional approach by calling it a “systems approach,” in which to solve a problem one had to tackle the various key elements surrounding an issue or a thing.
Central to Bertalanffy’s idea was the simple approach to any system of Input, Process, Output, and Feedback. He wrote that a system is a complex of interacting elements and that they are subject to, and interact with their environments. Additionally, they can acquire qualitatively new properties through emergency; thus, they are in a continual evolution.
In the 1980s, systems approach was applied extensively in business, medicine, economics, etc, and in 1990s the multidimensional approach was used in multitasking.
The multidimensional approach is different from multitasking in one important way. While multitasking is done by one individual facilitated by the computer, multidimensional approach is carried out by a group consisting of experts or specialists.
Multidimensional approach avoids switching plans; it is a steady approach to solving a problem by a group of specialists for the wellbeing of, say Artsakh, the beleaguered people subjected to cruel treatment by Azerbaijan. In this concerted approach, all plans and strategies are placed on the front burner, without one plan cannibalizing another in time and resources.
What to do before the coming of the storm? The Armenian multidimensional approach will have to consist of skillful diplomacy, readiness for defense, and enlistment of the Armenian Diaspora. In addition to opening the Berdzor (Lachin) Corridor, Armenians should undertake the following tasks concurrently:
- Artsakh government has to persuade President Putin that keeping Russian peacekeeping forces for another term of five years would be beneficial to Kremlin, for his image, and for keeping Russia’s foothold in South Caucasus. Besides, Artsakh needs more time to re-arm, to rebuild.
Although Lieutenant General Rustam Usmanovich Muradov, the Russian Commander of the Peacekeeping Forces in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) is a Lezgin from Daghestan, his middle and last names are Turkish: Usman and Murad. He is also showing affinity to Azerbaijan by not enforcing the mandate of the peacekeeping mission to make Azerbaijan unblock the Berdzor Corridor. Replacing him with an objective commander would be of great help to the people of Artsakh. Gen. Muradov has been acting like an unconcerned tourist about the plight of 120,000 Armenians.
- Putin should be warned that pulling off the Russian peace-keeping forces from Artsakh would create a vacuum which will be filled by Western powers.
- Reactivate the Minsk Group, which was created in 1992 to spearhead the OSCE’s (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Artsakh-Azerbajan conflict as it has been agreed upon in a previous conference.
- Try to have the European Council President Charles Michel continue the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan through the skillful mediation of this diplomat.
- If CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) fails to come to Armenia’s rescue, then Armenia would have no choice but to turn to the West for assistance, such as to US, France, EU, even to NATO.
- Initiate alliances with other nations, such as with Uruguay, the first country to recognize (1965) the Armenian Genocide or court Argentina, India, etc., to strengthen Armenia’s political position for, unfortunately, Russia has left the Armenians in the lurch many times. There are 195 states some of whom may like to ally with Armenia.
- Armenia and Artsakh should strengthen ties with Iran by cooperating on local as well as international projects, such as allowing Iranian herders the right to lease land in the Syunik Province (Marz) to graze cattle, finis the joint project of the transit route to the Black Sea, and co-producing automobiles and other machinery in Armenia.
- Replace the derelict Armenian military officers who served in the 44-Day War in 2020 and who have been accused of negligence. They deserve capital punishment for the war casualties and loss of land because of their negligence, complacency, and focusing on personal gains.
- Start a serious training of women to serve in the armed forces. There are many young, patriotic women who would be ready, willing, and able to serve the motherland.
- Begin dismantling the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant to get rid of Armenia’s Achilles heel. Azerbaijan may blow up the plant.
- Invite Diaspora’s retired military personnel to help with the training of soldiers and strategy.
- Request the Diaspora to establish a fund to support the armed forces of Armenia and Artsakh.
- Through crowdfunding, designed by the Diaspora, purchase attack drones from China or India until local production is established.
- Establish an R&D (research and development) department to either assemble or manufacture UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) for combat.
- Purchase anti-drone laser weapons and anti-molecular-nano weapons from China. They are inexpensive but can determine the outcome of a future aggression by Azerbaijan. A mini atomic bomb, based on Molecular Nanotechnology, for example, can be purchased for about $150 million [Considering the material that goes into a mini atomic bomb, it would sell anywhere from $10 million to $150 million in the black market].
- Form a virtual “cabinet” consisting of Diaspora political talents, retired US Armed Force personnel, university scholars, journalists, etc. for advice on important national security issues.
- Offer “instant double citizenship,” to Diaspora Armenians to beef up Artsakh’s population and entice the participation of Diaspora Armenians.
- Distribute part of Artsakh’s government lands to locals as well as to the Diasporans free or at a nominal charge to boost the population.
- Establish an auxiliary virtual cabinet to advise the heads of states of Artsakh on matters pertaining to the economy of Armenia and Artsakh.
- Begin a campaign for Artsakh’s independence recognition. Based on UN requirements, Artsakh has had for almost 30 years what it takes to become an independent state: a stable population, democratically elected government, a defense force, etc. Diaspora Armenians should enlist US, France, or Russia to help Artsakh remain independent of Azerbaijan.
- Diaspora should train Armenian volunteers to help the Artsakh people when another war breaks out.
- The Diaspora should concentrate on persuading friendly nations to recognize the independence of Artsakh. While Argentina, for example, would find it difficult to justify sending troops to help Artsakh, its government, however, would be more amenable to recognize the independence of Artsakh.
- The Diaspora’s involvement in finding solutions to save Artsakh from Azerbaijan should top its agenda.
Mind you, the small window of opportunity to save Artsakh is closing by the day. All Armenians should rise to the occasion and assist besieged Artsakh.
With a wayward Russia, Armenians are facing catch-22. Despite Armenia’s loyalty to Russia, the bear does not protect Armenian interests and rights. When Armenia tries to survive by looking to Western powers to come to the rescue, Russia not only frowns upon it but subjects the country to a brutal treatment to teach Armenians a lesson.
The assumption that Russia is Armenia’s sustenance or savior has been shattered by the failure of CSTO to rally behind Armenia when it was attacked by Azerbaijani forces in September 13-14, 2022. As far as Armenians are concerned, CSTO proved to be biased and toothless.
To add insult to injury, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently justified Azerbaijan’s war against Armenia for Armenia’s failure to sign a lopsided treaty with Azerbaijan. Russia has become Azerbaijan’s ally.
Just focusing on removing the siege on Artsakh is a narrow approach at the expense of other important problems. Working on getting rid of the siege is important, but it should not be done at the expense of neglecting other issues.
A worldwide Armenian Diaspora organization would have a vital function to avoid duplication of effort of the different parts of the national system of the Armenian communities around the globe.
A viable group should share interests and mission toward solving major pressing problems. Banking on Diplomacy, Defense, and the Diaspora working all three of them concurrently and cooperatively would sooner or later solve Artsakh’s existential problems of independence, security, and prosperity through a multidimensional approach.