by Bahram Batiyev
Interview by defence.az with Robert Legvold, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University and director of the “Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative”.
- The relations between Russia and USA/NATO are rather strained nowadays. Do you think a military clash between the US/NATO and Russia is possible?
- A direct military clash between NATO and Russia appears less likely today than at the height of the Ukrainian crisis in summer 2014, not least, because on the eve of the presidential election in Russia, Putin would not want it. But, alas, events are not always within the control of Moscow or Washington, and the tragedy of the moment is that we are again in a Russia-West cold war where the risk of a military conflict is again thinkable.
- Should we expect Washington to become more active in the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict around Karabakh?
- The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict appears a distant matter for Washington. The Trump Administration may invest some effort into trying to promote progress on the Ukrainian issue. It almost certainly will devote no top-level attention to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.
- Can that be because the Armenian Diaspora is quite active in the USA?
- The Armenian Diaspora remains a powerful influence on the Congress – less so the White House. But both are preoccupied with other issues.
- How do you assess the prospects of military action between Azerbaijan and Armenia in 2018? And how will the US and Russia behave in this situation?
- As we have seen in the past, there is always the danger of an incident between Azerbaijan and Armenia that then blows up, with the danger of serious escalation. I don't see a steady evolution toward a crisis on either side, but, if there is trouble, I think the Russians will be actively involved, diplomatically, if not militarily.
The United States may be momentarily attentive, but offer words only.