미국의 對나고르노-카라바흐공화국 정책 어떻게 변화했나?

[아시아엔=메흐멧 파티흐 오즈타르수 <아시아엔> 부편집장] 코카서스 지방에 위치한 나고르노-카라바흐공화국에서는 지난 20년간 아르메니아와 아제르바이잔 사이의 분쟁이 끊이지 않았다.

2016년 4월에는 블라디미르 푸틴 러시아 대통령이 두 국가의 대통령을 한 자리에 불러 중재에 나섰으나 별다른 성과를 거두지 못했다. 1990년대 이후 코카서스 지역에 대한 미국의 소극적인 정책은 나고르노-카라바흐의 현 상황에서도 계속 되고 있다. 아제르바이잔의 석유에 대한 관심이 나고르도-카라바흐 문제를 확대시키고 있기 때문에 미국은 아제르바이잔과 아르메니아 양국에 서로 다른 지원정책을 통해 더 이상의 분쟁이 야기되지 않는 정책노선을 취해왔다.

특히 21세기 들어 부시 정부 이후 미국의 이 지역에 대한 정책은 나름대로 안정을 찾았다고 말할 수 있다. 2000년까지 BTC프로젝트(아제르바이잔 석유운송 프로젝트)에 참여한 미국은 이 운송파이프라인이 아르메니아 수도 예레반을 통과하는 것을 허가했다. 이에 아르메니아인들과 미국 내 아르메니아 로비스트들이 거세게 항의하기 시작했다. 급기야 미국정부는 두 나라에 대해 균형정책을 취하겠다는 입장을 표명해야 했다.

그 시기 미국과 러시아간의 갈등에는 두 가지 원인이 있었다. 첫 번째는 카스피해의 석유를 서방으로 운송하는 BTC(Baku- Tbilisi-Ceyhan) 프로젝트다. 미국은 이 프로젝트에서 러시아와 이란보다 우월한 역할을 맡길 원했다. 두 번째는 나고르노-카라바흐 지역의 분쟁이다. 러시아와 프랑스에 의해 설립된 민스크그룹(Minsk Group)에서 공동회장직을 맡은 미국은 나고르노-카라바흐 문제를 해결하기 위해 클린턴 정부와 부시 정부 기간 동안 여러 가지 중요한 접근을 시도했다. 아르메니아와 아제르바이잔 양국도 미국의 이같은 제안과 시도를 필요로 하는 것처럼 보였다.

하지만 9·11테러 이후 미국은 코카서스지역과의 협력이 중요했지만, 결국에는 미국-아제르바이잔, 러시아-아르메니아라는 두 축이 만들어져 아르메니아는 러시아 영향권에 놓이게 되었다.

코카서스지역에 대한 오바마의 수동적인 정책

부시 행정부가 끝나갈 즈음 아제르바이잔과 아르메니아의 갈등에 관한 미국의 관심은 점차 줄어들다가 오바마 정부가 들어서면서 방향이 바뀌었다. 미국은 아르메니아와 터키 간의 국교정상화를 위해 새로운 접근을 시도했다. 한편으론 터키의 지원을 받아 나고르노-카라바흐 문제에 대한 합리적인 해결방안을 찾으려 했다.

압둘 귤 터키 전 대통령과 세르지 사르키샨 아르메니아 대통령은 2008년 예레반에서 열린 터키-아르메니아 간 축구경기를 함께 관람하며 두 나라 국교정상화에 착수했다.

하지만 러시아는 이후 2015년까지 아르메니아에 압력을 가해 터키-아르메니아 국교정상화 노력을 끊임없이 훼방놓았다. 결국 터키-아르메니아 간의 화해가 좌절되고 국교정상화는 무산됐다. 이로 인해 미국의 아제르바이잔-아르메니아-터키 3국 사이에서의 역할은 더 미미해질 뿐이었다.

최근 수년간 인종 및 지역갈등, 특히 나고르노-카라바흐 문제와 관련해 미국의 수동적인 역할은 새로운 문제를 야기할 우려도 없지 않다. 이 지역에 대한 러시아의 위임통치권한의 지속적인 강화는 냉전체제 이후 새로운 소련의 부상을 예고하는 것일 수도 있기 때문이다.

 

Analyzing the American policy for Karabakh

Mehmet Fatih OZTARSU

Vice Editor-in-Chief, The AsiaN

Nagorno-Karabakh, a succession of Soviet heritage and dispute area between Armenia and Azerbaijan, became a tool that maintains the severity of Caucasus over than 20 years.

In April 2016, after the biggest conflict of the recent years, Russian Leader Vladimir Putin assumed the role of mediator by hosting the presidents of the two countries, Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev. This mediation effort was also inconclusive like the other ongoing efforts.

The inactive Caucasus policy of the United States that increased the severity in different fields since the 1990s are still being discussed in the context of Nagorno-Karabakh. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the followed policy of the United States, which pursued a dominant policy against Russia and Iran, is changing the balance of the region as the US is not going on its previous policy.

The United States that pursued a successful path in supporting alienate two countries without giving affront through following different supportive policies towards Armenia because of its interest to Azerbaijani oil made a significant expansion about Nagorno-Karabakh issue. At the beginning of the 1990s, incorrect policies were followed, but especially during the George W. Bush-era, it can be said that there was stability. For example, as a result of intensive efforts by Armenian lobby in the very first years, because of the claims such as Azerbaijani blockade in Armenia and creating a threat in Nagorno-Karabakh, the US aid to Azerbaijan was barred.

The financial aid possibility was declared invalid only for Azerbaijan with the Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act. Until 2000, the United States’ taking part in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Project which transferred the oil of Azerbaijan to the world and allowing this project pipeline bypassing Yerevan was protested by Armenians and the Armenian lobby in the US. Recognizing the sensitivity of both sides, Washington took a stand considering Armenian lobby, Armenia-Azerbaijan equation in order to follow up a strong balance policy. Ultimately, the United States was not as experienced as Russia about these countries.

In that time there were two reasons for the tension between the United States and Russia. The first one is the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Project which helps to transfer Caspian Oil to West. The United States preferred to play a dominant role against Russia and Iran with this project. The second one is the Nagorno-Karabakh parleys. The United States that was conducting the co-chairmanship in Minsk Group which was established by Russia and France as addition to several countries to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, showed very important approaches to the issue during Bill Clinton and George W. Bush eras. It was apparent that Baku and Yerevan needed the suggestions and attempts of the United States except for Russia.

After the September 11 terrorist attacks, the cooperation with Caucasus, which was becoming increasingly important for the US, against terrorism created Washington-Baku and Moscow-Yerevan axis and Armenia came under the influence of Russia during this natural alliance. However, it can be said that the US did not neglect Yerevan during its economic aid to Armenia and mediation activities about Nagorno-Karabakh issue. But there is no other effective US policy approach even towards the Balkan conflicts during Clinton era.

Obama had a passive policy in the Caucasus

The US policy with a decreasing interest to Azerbaijan and Armenia conflict towards the end of the Bush era changed direction with the former president Barack Obama era. According to the new approach, the United States would actualize the normalization process between Armenia and Turkey, then would find a reasonable solution to Nagorno-Karabakh issue with the support of Turkey. Because, the strong relations of Armenia, which was completely under the control of Russia, with Iran, another neighbor, was a type of relation which the US could not approve.

Former president of Turkey, Abdullah Gul and President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan started the normalization process supported by the United States with watching the Turkey-Armenia national match in Yerevan in 2008 which took part in literature as “Football Diplomacy” after this event. One year later, the establishment of the basic protocol process that would start the normalization was the last straw for Russia.

By 2015, Moscow, which suppressed Yerevan, continued its attempts to disrupt the normalization process. While facing various demands of Armenian lobby, Obama remained in between giving utterance to the word of genocide referred as “G-word” and going on the process of normalization. While stating his sadness about the tragedy of the Ottoman Armenians in 1915, Obama was indicating normalization process should go on with the same determination.

The initiative by the United States that wanted to turn over a new leaf failed because of the setback of the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. This reflects the dwindling performance of the United States in Azerbaijan-Armenia-Turkey axis since 1990.

It is possible to see similar other examples in Georgia and Ukraine during the Bush era. First and foremost, the victories won against Russia in a short time have turned against the United States. In the last few years, the situation of the inactive role of the US about ethnical and regional conflicts mainly the Nagorno-Karabakh issue in Caucasus may lead new problems. Russia’s sustaining severity as the only mandatory power in the region suggests arising of a new Soviet Union after Cold War era.

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