Tuesday, May 15, 2018
A Color Revolution in a Teacup
In case you don’t know, Armenians are one of the most ancient nations on Earth. The country of Armenia started out as the Kingdom of Urartu around 9000 BC, and persists to this day, although most Armenians now make up a diaspora nation, like the Jews. Up until the 1990s Armenia was part of the USSR, and benefited greatly from this inclusion, but after the USSR dissolved it has languished. Virtually all of the industry that the Soviets built in Armenia shut down, and the specialists that worked in it filtered out to greener pastures elsewhere. Armenia deindustrialized and became largely agrarian, its economy focused on commodities such as apricots, wine and brandy, plus a bit of tourism.
Armenia’s difficulties have to do with certain problems caused by its location. Armenia is landlocked, with no access to major trade routes. It borders countries that range from useless to hostile: Georgia is more or less hostile and also economically useless; Turkey is useful but hostile; so is Azerbaijan (inhabited by Azeri Turks); Iran is useless (and the north of it is also inhabited by Azeri Turks). Throw in a region disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh) which is inhabited by Armenians but claimed by Azerbaijan, and requires the presence of Russian peacekeepers for the maintenance of the status quo, and you have a prescription for economic and political limbo.
Things were looking a bit sad in Armenia, but then it joined the Eurasian Economic Union, which is a free trade zone that includes Russia and other former Soviet republics. It provides a very large area for the free movement of capital, goods and labor, and there are plans for it to provide security guarantees. Thanks largely to its membership in the EAEU, last year the Armenian economy grew at a blistering 7.5% and people in Washington, DC and Langley, VA sat up and took notice. The American establishment views such Russia-centered success stories as most troubling. It was time to rope Armenia in.
Helpful to this effort was the fact that Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, hosts the second largest US embassy compound in the world, staffed to perfection with trained regime changers. Add to this the presence of Western NGOs, lavishly funded by George Soros et al., to assist in the effort. All of them pushed in the direction of, to put it bluntly, dismantling Armenia and turning it into just another denatured territory managed to perfection by international bureaucrats and bankers. In particular, they pushed through constitutional reform that changed it from a presidential republic to a parliamentary one (a dumb move for a country that is in a permanent state of near-war because of hostile neighbors and contested territories).
Add to this the fact that Armenia is a bit soft-headed. It is the bane of diaspora nations that the home country ends up pretty much fully stocked with imbeciles. Take a population of rats. (Mind you, I am not comparing Armenians to rats; I am comparing Armenia to a laboratory experiment.) Let all the rats smart enough to successfully run a maze—or, in the case of Armenia, learn a foreign language, get a passport and a visa, and find a job in a foreign country—escape, and a few generations later a lot of the rats that haven’t escaped are dumb as shit.
And so the Color Revolution Syndicate went to work. After a few days of street protests that paralyzed the capital the parliament was sufficiently intimidated to elect as Prime Minister one Nikol Pashinyan, a politician whose parliamentary faction polled at below 10%. The effort was aided by the fact that the former Prime Minister was rather feckless and didn’t seem to like his job anyway. The newly chosen Prime Minister was said to be a pro-Western reformer.
I previously thought that the Color Revolution Syndicate was pretty much dead. Indeed, all of the major nations have developed immunity to it. Its last victim was the Ukraine, which is still going through various stages of collapse. Russia is now clearly immune. Western champion Alexei Navalny, who had been indoctrinated in Color Revolution political technology at Yale and was once slated to overthrow Putin with the help of a large mob of idiotic adolescent followers, is now a pied piper used by the Kremlin to rid cities of adolescent idiots. Hungary has just banned Soros along with all who sail in her. But the Color Revolutionaries are refusing to just crawl back into the woodwork. After all, they still have money to spend on destabilizing regimes that get too cozy with Moscow or refuse to play ball with Washington. And so, they decided to pick a small, soft target: Armenia.
But even in Armenia things didn’t quite go as planned. The Color Revolution planners neglected to take into account certain parameters of the Armenian political equation. First, Armenia gets a lot of its money from Armenians who live and work in Russia. Second, about half of the Armenian population is, to put it in a politically incorrect yet accurate way, Russian: it speaks Russian, it is culturally attuned to Russia, and it is yet another nation that is part of the large family of over 100 distinct nations that call themselves Russian. Third, Nikol Pashinyan is a fickle fellow. He started out as a nationalist, then became pro-Western, and tomorrow he will become whatever it takes depending on which way the wind happens to be blowing. He has charisma, but he is basically a lightweight: a college dropout with no experience in government or business, but opportunist instincts to spare.
Pashinyan’s malleable nature became obvious as he lobbied his candidacy before the Armenian parliament. At first, he didn’t have much of a platform at all and just made vague pro-Western noises. Realizing that this won’t work, he shifted gears and became decidedly pro-Russian. To be sure, after assuming prime ministership, his first meeting as head of state was with Vladimir Putin, and the public pronouncements were all about the ties that bind the great and not-so-great nations of Russia and Armenia. He then attended the EAEU summit in Sochi, looking a bit wet behind the ears next to all the seasoned statesmen assembled there, but got reassuring shoulder slaps from the various Eurasian worthies. The basic message seemed to be, don’t screw this up, and you’ll get to keep 7.5% annual GDP growth and will look like a hero.
So, what did Washington, Langley, Soros and the rest of the Color Revolution syndicate get for all that effort and the tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars they spent trying to refashion Armenia into a Western vassal nation or, failing that, to tip it over into failed statedom? I am pretty sure that even they don’t know the answer to this question. The brilliant Western geopoliticians looked at a map and, seeing a small, weak, vulnerable country strategically positioned between Russia and Iran, thought: “We should go and mess with it.” And so they did. But looking at their results, they could just as well have stayed home, made a successful trip to the outhouse, and celebrated victory.