A “Hayots Ashkharh” commentator has analyzed American-Russian relations in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks and has concluded that a major change has taken place. The United States is ready to substantially reduce its strategic nuclear arsenal in return for Russian acceptance of the anti-ballistic missile defense plan. The commentator underlines the thought that this new relationship is not only an end to the cold war but also an end to American hegemony in the post-Soviet era. The terrorists proved that even superpowers with all their weapons are vulnerable. Therefore, they must cooperate in order to devote more resources to the struggle against terrorism and Moslem extremism. They must determine which region is under the strategic control of which superpower, and each must make sure that in its respective zone of influence nothing is done against the other superpower. The commentator concludes that the delineation of interests and responsibilities in various regions of the world will lead to the unreserved recognition of Russian strategic control of the Trans-Caucasus. Hence, Russia will become the initiator of conflict resolution and the facilitator of the opening of transit routes throughout the region.
“Azg” puts a different emphasis on the evolving strategic situation. Even now, writes the paper, the United States is assisting Turkey in its quest for a more active role. The visits of Turkish president Sezer to Dushanbe and Tbilisi is an expression of this [American] policy.
“Aravot” in one of its familiar criticisms writes that as a result of Armenia’s weak foreign policy in the last three and a half years, the country finds itself in a difficult spot losing the gains made prior to this period. The paper argues that as a sign of impasse and crisis in foreign policy, the defense and foreign ministers publicly contradict each other.
In an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak”, former Prime Minister Hrant Bagratian who served under President Levon Ter-Petrossian in the early years of independence says that, “We should have worked to ensure the future for the people”. All the accomplishments of that era are disappearing and the country is in a worse situation. Contrary to official statistics, says Bagratian who is an economist, real growth is smaller than during the former president’s administration. It is time he believes to put into circulation the concept of “quality economic growth”. When polarization of income surpasses the rate of growth – the rich get richer faster – the majority of people see it as a non-progressive trend. What solutions does the former prime minister propose? “ We should have a government that makes the right decisions having in mind the developmental needs of the public. The government should be a liberal one”. Bagratian also proposes to have more modest foreign policy goals, not to exaggerate the nation’s potential, not to confuse patriotism with nationalism and to respect human rights and the rules of a free market.
What are the factors that create a danger for national Security? According to a “Zhamanak” commentator, a low level of economic development, a weak legal state and imperfect government structures, social and political polarization of the people, a decline of spiritual values, the existence of inter-ethnic and regional conflicts, decline of intellectual resources and a brain-drain and finally unemployment. These phenomena characterize our society, underlines the commentator. By adopting a national security doctrine it is not possible to address the existing dangers. Such a doctrine should be strongly adhered to and pursued. It should become a way of life and even a fanatical belief.
“Yerkir” voices doubt about the effectiveness of the tax reform bill accepted by the government on November 8. The paper believes that in order to have effective tax collection and fulfill budgetary needs, the shadow economy and the shadowy activities of tax collectors as well as other corrupt practices must stop. Is the government ready to declare war on all those fronts? Without an all-out assault, the wish to have a balanced budget remains just that, a wish.
By Vache Sarkissian