Professor Robert Farley: It would not be surprising to see Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict unfrozen in 2018

2017/12/robert-farley_1513685921.jpg
Read: 1576     20:17     19 December 2017    
Exclusive interview by Defence.az with Robert Farley, professor at University of Kentucky Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce (USA) and expert of defence and national security.

- Why, do you think, Russia and the USA have returned to the state of “cold war”?

- I think the dynamics of the current confrontation are quite different than the Cold War. Russia is much weaker, militarily and economically, than the Soviet Union, and so competition does not have quite the same scope. That said, relations now seem to be as hostile as at any point since 1991, although we can still see intelligence cooperation, as noted regarding the events in St. Petersburg.

- Can the current confrontation develop into a real war between the US (NATO) and Russia? And what can the consequence of the war be for our world?

- It is possible to imagine an accidental war stemming out of activity along the borders of the Baltic states; miscalculation on either side could produce conflict that would then escalate. Even if such conflict did not lead to a nuclear exchange, it would still be dreadful for the people affected, and for the world economy.

- Do you not think that the US and NATO leadership is provoking Russia? In the 90s, Washington and Brussels promised not to push the Alliance's borders to the east. But today NATO is already at the borders of Russia. Or is it Russia's payment for losing the Cold War?

- I think that there is an element of collecting the fruits of victory. But I think that there's an overlooked point; most of the states of Eastern Europe desperately wanted to join NATO and the European Union, explicitly because they feared that Russia would again become aggressive. I think that Western leaders did not appreciate how difficult it would be to exclude Poland, the Baltics, and other countries from NATO because of a deal that had been struck with Russia.



- Is it possible to move the Russian-American confrontation to the post-Soviet space?

- I think we are already there; the US and Russia are competing in areas (Georgia, Ukraine, Baltics) that were formally part of the Soviet Union. In this sense, Russia is still playing defense.

- You named five conflicting regions in your article in National Interest, which could hypothetically lead to the Third World War. You also indicated the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh. How explosive is the situation around Karabakh now?

- I doubt that the NK situation could lead to a great power war, but it does complicate the position of Turkey. From what I understand the current situation is, indeed, potentially explosive; it would not be surprising to see the conflict grow unfrozen over the next year, because of different calculations of power in the local countries. But even if a local war breaks out, I doubt it will have larger consequences.

- Should we expect the activation of Washington in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict? Or does Washington intend to leave this conflict at the discretion of Russia?

- I do not think that Washington is happy to leave the settlement to Russia, but the problem at the moment is that it is unclear that Washington has any idea what it wants. The State Department, which has most of the expertise on NK, has been sidelined and is being gutted. This means that diplomats who have experience in the region and know the area are leaving government. If conflict does break out, or if Russia does try to force a settlement, it is unclear that the United States can answer in a very coherent way.

by Bahram Batiyev


Tags: #interview  



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Professor Robert Farley: It would not be surprising to see Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict unfrozen in 2018

2017/12/robert-farley_1513685921.jpg
Read: 1577     20:17     19 December 2017    
Exclusive interview by Defence.az with Robert Farley, professor at University of Kentucky Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce (USA) and expert of defence and national security.

- Why, do you think, Russia and the USA have returned to the state of “cold war”?

- I think the dynamics of the current confrontation are quite different than the Cold War. Russia is much weaker, militarily and economically, than the Soviet Union, and so competition does not have quite the same scope. That said, relations now seem to be as hostile as at any point since 1991, although we can still see intelligence cooperation, as noted regarding the events in St. Petersburg.

- Can the current confrontation develop into a real war between the US (NATO) and Russia? And what can the consequence of the war be for our world?

- It is possible to imagine an accidental war stemming out of activity along the borders of the Baltic states; miscalculation on either side could produce conflict that would then escalate. Even if such conflict did not lead to a nuclear exchange, it would still be dreadful for the people affected, and for the world economy.

- Do you not think that the US and NATO leadership is provoking Russia? In the 90s, Washington and Brussels promised not to push the Alliance's borders to the east. But today NATO is already at the borders of Russia. Or is it Russia's payment for losing the Cold War?

- I think that there is an element of collecting the fruits of victory. But I think that there's an overlooked point; most of the states of Eastern Europe desperately wanted to join NATO and the European Union, explicitly because they feared that Russia would again become aggressive. I think that Western leaders did not appreciate how difficult it would be to exclude Poland, the Baltics, and other countries from NATO because of a deal that had been struck with Russia.



- Is it possible to move the Russian-American confrontation to the post-Soviet space?

- I think we are already there; the US and Russia are competing in areas (Georgia, Ukraine, Baltics) that were formally part of the Soviet Union. In this sense, Russia is still playing defense.

- You named five conflicting regions in your article in National Interest, which could hypothetically lead to the Third World War. You also indicated the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh. How explosive is the situation around Karabakh now?

- I doubt that the NK situation could lead to a great power war, but it does complicate the position of Turkey. From what I understand the current situation is, indeed, potentially explosive; it would not be surprising to see the conflict grow unfrozen over the next year, because of different calculations of power in the local countries. But even if a local war breaks out, I doubt it will have larger consequences.

- Should we expect the activation of Washington in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict? Or does Washington intend to leave this conflict at the discretion of Russia?

- I do not think that Washington is happy to leave the settlement to Russia, but the problem at the moment is that it is unclear that Washington has any idea what it wants. The State Department, which has most of the expertise on NK, has been sidelined and is being gutted. This means that diplomats who have experience in the region and know the area are leaving government. If conflict does break out, or if Russia does try to force a settlement, it is unclear that the United States can answer in a very coherent way.

by Bahram Batiyev


Tags: #interview