Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chinese History, Setting Priorities at Potomac

I am a little surprised at the slow response so far to the initial responses to the Walt/Mearsheimer book. It raises the question as to whether or not most of the passion was exhausted on the initial article--and whether that will translate into sluggish book sales.

In response to a comment I heard in the aftermath of the Bishkek summit, about how China had no business being involved in Central Asia and Middle Eastern affairs, I penned this short historical retrospective. I still find it interesting that an Armenian prince was recognized as a vassal of the Chinese emperor in the early 2nd century.

Spoke as part of a panel organized by Yonah Alexander at the Potomac Institute today (along with David Smith and Soner Cagaptay). The basic conclusion: security for the Caucasus cannot be separated from larger issues such as Iraq, Iran, Russia and where Europe draws its boundary lines--and that states are engaged in "hedge and wedge" operations (my characterization of Soner's presentation, which itself discussed how Iran has replaced the U.S. as the most popular country in Turkish eyes, apart from Azerbaijan, in large part because of shared opposition to the PKK).

Define interests, set priorities, assess costs. Seems like a simple approach to foreign policy.

On Armenia's ties with China:

Just from the archives, from Kocharyan's visit to China three years ago:

Hu said China and Armenia have treated each other with mutual respect and equality since they forged diplomatic ties 12 years ago.

Hu said he appreciated Armenia's diplomatic policy that puts priority on relations with China, one of the earliest countries torecognize Armenia as an independent nation, and expressed thanks for Armenia's firm support in controversial areas such as Taiwan and Tibet.
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