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An Anatomy Of Armenian Diaspora In The Foreign Policy-Making And Its Limits

Posted on:2020-04-27Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:Gasparyan GevorgFull Text:PDF
GTID:1366330602455662Subject:International Relations
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This study focuses on the differences in foreign policy decision making across different political systems and social cultures.We study the role of political regimes in forging specific foreign policy outcomes and the role played by ethnic groups in foreign policymaking of their residing countries.We argue that foreign policy decision making and the scope of ethnic groups'influence on this process differs across different political regimes.The foreign policymaking is probably the least democratic sphere of every country due to its existential features.In this regard,democracies,in general,are expected to have more open?to public influence?foreign policy structures than autocracies.Hence,ethnic groups have more chances to influence foreign policymaking in democratic than autocratic regimes.We then study this in the example of Armenian communities in Russia and the United States.We argue that the openness of American foreign policy leaves more space for Armenian and other communities to influence the foreign policy decision making than the"electoral authoritarianism in Russia."We look at variables such as the division of foreign policy powers between the executive and legislative branches,election processes,and electoral systems as the main systematic determinants of ethnic groups'ability to influence foreign policy.The history of Armenians in Russia dates back earlier in history than the history of Armenians in the U.S.The number of the Armenian community in Russia outnumbers the American community in the U.S.According to various sources,Russia is home from 1.5 to 2.5 million Armenians,while the U.S.hosts around 1 million Armenians.The Armenian-American community has been very active promoting Armenian cause in the United States trying to lobby the government and Senate for recognizing the Armenian genocide,providing aid to Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh,adopt a more favorable foreign policy towards Armenia in general.The epicenter has been the recognition of the Armenian genocide and Nagorno Karabagh issue which Armenian community has quite successfully addressed through its lobbying activities.The Armenian-American diaspora has well-structured grassroots organizations such as ANCA and the Armenian Assembly,as well as traditional Armenian parties such as ARF.In short,the Armenian diaspora in the United States had been a significant player between the relations of RA and the United States,while at the same time pursuing its agenda of promoting the Armenian cause and protecting the interests of the Armenian community.On the other hand,the Armenian community in Russia has been invisible in relations between Armenia and Russia.Armenian-Russian civil society and cultural organizations have thrived in Russia while mostly refraining from entering into the political domain.The leading Armenian-Russian organization,the Union of Armenians in Russia,has declared itself as a public organization aiming at organizing the community's life and not involving in foreign policy lobbying.Russian-Armenian relations are vital for Armenia in the South Caucasus given that Russia is Armenia's strategic ally.The two countries share a collective past in the Soviet Union,and are members of the Customs Union.Russia is also the most influential player in the South Caucasus and has a decisive role in contributing to the stability in the region as well as in many issue areas that Armenia is interested in such as Nagorno Karabagh issue.Thus,the Armenian community could have played a role in these processes by lobbying the government structures at home to shift Russia's policy to Armenia in a more favorable direction.So,the puzzle is why the Armenian-American community can lobby American policy towards Armenia,while the Armenian-Russian community never became a significant player in the foreign policy of Russia towards Armenia?We argue that the differences in regimes explain the divergent behaviors of Armenian communities in Russia and the United States.The United States has stable political institutions with lobbying tradition dating back to the 19th century.On the other hand,Russia is a state with a top to the down power structure,with the main decisions of foreign policy made at the top of the power pyramid.In the U.S.,foreign policy decision making is relatively open to outside influences due to the democratic nature of the power structure.This allows external actors such as lobbying groups,to influence foreign policy.In Chapter Two,"Theoretical Framework,"we develop a theoretical framework based on the literature of ethnic groups in the U.S.and Russia.The research on U.S.ethnic groups generally agrees that the American political system leaves a massive space for ethnic groups to influence American foreign policy decision making.First of all,Congress has quite a considerable leverage for executive and foreign policy.The elective nature of Congress makes it open for ethnic lobbying through grassroots mobilization,campaign financing,voting,etc.Most members of Congress serve many terms and thus need the continuous support of the local communities in their districts,including the ethnic minorities.In electoral districts where a few thousand voices can have a decisive impact on the outcome of the congressional elections,the ethnic groups trade their votes and financial resources for future policies pursued by the elected representatives.This explains many American actions towards countries where the U.S.has little interest.In Russia,however,the authorities for years have engaged in isolating the ethnic groups from political decision making.The ruling party helps specific candidates to come to power in minority-dominated Russian regions so they can later help it to gain and maintain its control in the regions.The literature has demonstrated that electoral manipulation is even higher in the minority-dominated regions than at the center.Then,we try to look at a few variables to understand different foreign policy outcomes in the U.S and Russia and the ability of ethnic groups to influence these processes.We note that there is a sharp difference between the political powers of the American Congress and Russian Duma.The nature of legislative body explains its importance:the legislative body is more accessible to lobbying than the executive.Hence,the more powers a legislative body has in foreign policy,the more likely it will be a target for lobbying and different groups will have more access to foreign policy decision making.However,other intermediate variables are to play a role under these conditions such as free and fair elections,electoral system,lobbying regulations of the country,etc.Thus we develop a few hypotheses based on the literature and our research.First,the more responsibilities the legislative body has,the more likely the ethnic groups will influence foreign policy outcomes.Second,free and fair elections will more likely lead to ethnic minorities influence foreign policy outcomes.Third,The less the important the issue is,the more likely it will be lobbied successfully.The public has various degrees of interest in foreign policy issues intermediated by historical periods and other circumstances.The American people,for example,might have little interest in whether foreign aid should allocate to Armenia or Georgia.At best,they might be interested in whether the U.S.should help other countries or the budget allocated for foreign assistance better allocated to domestic needs.Thus,the decision-makers at home would be freer in their decision making regarding less salient issues,which leaves a space for ethnic lobbies influence.In Chapter Three“The U.S.Foreign policy Making:Between Democracy and Anarchy"we try to understand the role of the U.S.political system in foreign policymaking and the loopholes it leaves for ethnic groups to influence.We argue that the U.S.political system and the divisions of foreign policy powers between the executive and the legislative body,with huge foreign policy powers vested in Congress,allows ethnic groups to engage in foreign policy debate and,in cases of some countries,become the leading actors.We then turn to the literature on the role of Congress in American foreign policymaking.A group of scholarships argues that Congress plays little role in American foreign policy and that it defers to the president most of the time.They bring up factors such as the institutional nature of Congress and its inability to respond to immediate international threats,its partisan characters,reelection perspectives,etc.Another group of literature argues that the American foreign policymaking and the interaction of the executive and the legislative is a complex process intermediated with many variables.They generally recognize that the Congress has its arsenal of leverage over the executive and foreign policy,such as its unchallenged legislative power,control,and allocation of financial resources,war powers and the ability to shape public debate on foreign policy.Then,we study congressional powers in detail,focusing on the power of purse and war powers.We argue that its control of financial resources and financing of foreign operations make Congress the one to look for when undertaking major foreign policy initiatives requiring financial allocation.Congress also has war powers with the president being accountable to Congress for engaging in military activities abroad.Congress has the potential to raise armies,support navy,and declare war,support or disapprove presidential decisions,which all greatly influence the presidential ability and shape foreign policy.We then turn to the foreign policymaking process in Congress.This process is much more complicated with many actors involved.We show the role of many lobbyists in shaping foreign policy through Congress and the mechanisms used by them.Ethnic lobbies make campaign contributions,vote for specific candidates and blacklist some,mobilize ethnic voters to vote for individual candidates.We,then,talk about the institutionalization of lobbying in the United States.Over the years the Congress has adopted laws and regulations to regulate the lobbying process,both domestic and international.The role of the electoral system is studied as well.We argue that the concentration of ethnic minorities in certain areas under the American plurality voting system allows ethnic groups votes to be decisive in individual electoral districts.Candidates from districts with concentration of ethnic minorities are likely to promote the interests of those groups,including in the field of foreign policy.In Chapter Four,"Armenian Lobby in The United States,"we focus on the Armenian community and its organizations in the U.S.We begin with a historical overview of the Armenian community formation.With the first Armenian groups arriving in the the late nineties of the 19th century,Armenian immigration to the U.S.escalated at the beginning of the 1900s especially during and after the Armenian Genocide of 1915.The newly arrived Armenians faced many problems such as economic hardships,cultural differences,racial discrimination,etc.Eventually,Armenians overcame these problems and became an integral part of American society.The Armenian community from the very beginning established itself as a community deeply involved in political issues concerning the homeland.With World War 2 just over,the Armenian community tried to persuade the U.S.authorities to adopt more Armenian favoring policies regard to American policy towards the territories which not long ago were parts of the Ottoman Empire,including Armenia.Armenia community also did its best to help Armenian refugees.Armenian political parties which founded in the homeland became the main form of political organization for the newly established communities.These parties later laid the foundation of Armenian lobbyist organizations such as the Armenian National Committee of America and the Armenian Assembly of America.These two organizations are the backbone of the Armenian lobby in the U.S.raising money to make campaign donations,mobilizing Armenian-Americans for political purposes,working with American politicians to promote Armenian issues.We then turn to the studying of the fruits of these organizations and the Armenian-American community's activities.One of them is the Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act adopted by Congress during Nagorno Karabagh conflict.This Act is one of the most cited achievements of the Armenian-American community witnessing its role played in American foreign policy towards Armenian and South Caucasus.Another such issue is Armenian Genocide recognition.For many years Armenian community-backed representatives have introduced many resolutions calling upon the U.S.Government to recognize the Armenian Genocide formally.These resolutions had various degrees of success with all of them rejected in the final voting.Due to the efforts of the Armenian-American community,almost all of U.S.states?49 at the moment of writing this Abstract?have formally recognized Armenian Genocide.Another major success of Armenian lobby in the the enormous financial aid contributed by the the Republic of Armenian and Nagorno Karabagh over the years.Armenia has been one of the primary recipients of American assistance in the former Soviet region.Nagorno Karabagh has received assistance from the well with its funding usually viewed as a part of the larger package of U.S.aid to Armenia.Armenian lobby has been successful in blocking foreign aid to Azerbaijan for many years.Also,finally,we talk about the Armenian congressional caucus.Any ethnic caucus serves as an indicator of the success for any lobby in the U.S.The Armenian congressional caucus has been very active in promoting Armenian interests in the Capito Hill and has over a hundred bipartisan members.In Chapter Five,"Armenian Community in Russia,"we study the establishment and rise of Armenian communities in Russia and the organizational life of the community.First,we turn to history to understand the process of Armenian diaspora formation in Russia.The history of the Armenian community in Russia dates back as early as to Middle Ages.The territories,which were later incorporated into the Russian Empire as a result of Russian expansion into the South to the Black Sea and North Caucasus and later as far as to the borders of Persian and Ottoman empires,had been settled by Armenians long before the rise of the Russian Empire.After Russia occupied these territories,many Armenians moved into the Russian mainland laying the foundations of the Armenian community.These first Armenians were mostly merchants attracted by Russian policies to develop trade and crafts in Russia.They received many privileges from the Russian state and kept close connections with the Russian government.The privileged situation of the Armenian community continued until the rise of nationalism in the Russian Empire in the 19th century when Armenian church and other national institutions were pursued and closed down.The migration into Russia continued during the empire period when Eastern Armenia became a part of the Russian Empire.The situation changed during the Soviet Union when the movements of the population weren't encouraged.Throughout its almost 800 hundred years of history in Russia,the Armenian community learned to live in Russia,build schools and churches considering Russia's home.In the next part,we study the formation of the Armenian-Russian organization in Russia,the oldest one of which appears to be the Armenian Church.With the first Armenian diocese establishment in Russia at the beginning of the 18th century,the Armenian life in Russia was built around the Armenian church with it being the primary representative of the Armenian community in relations with the government.Expanding throughout every corner of Russia,the Armenian church became the largest Armenian organization in Russia.We then study the rise of Armenian public organizations after the collapse of the Soviet Union,the leading one of which is the Union of Armenians in Russia.Created around and with the efforts of its leader,Ara Abrahamian,this organization has representative offices in almost every corner of Russia and keeps up good relations with the Russian government.The organization supports the Russian government during elections.It has declared itself a public organization that tries to organize the public and cultural life of the Armenian community.However,the organization mainly keeps away from politics.There are other large organizations such as the newly established Armenian Union in Russia,Russian-Armenian Cooperation,Coordination Council of Armenian organizations and dozens of local public and cultural organizations some of which date back even to pre-Soviet period.However,all of these organizations have primarily been apolitical,avoiding raising the issues of traditional Armenian questions and haven't used political means to alter Russian foreign policy towards Armenia.In Chapter Six,"Russian Foreign Policy Towards Armenia,"we focus on the foreign policy relations between Armenian and Russia and the problematic issues of their relationship.Armenia is bound with Russia historically and politically.The interactions between two countries date back as early as the Medieval Ages,and Armenia later became a part of the Russian Empire and a member of the Soviet Union.After the independence,two countries have engaged in close relations both in a bilateral and multilateral formats,with Armenian being a member of the two most famous Russian led organizations:CSTO and Customs Union.The two countries are strategic allies,and Russia has a military presence in Armenia,the only one in the region.However,the Armenian side would have wished things to be better regarding specific issues.Russia sells weapons to Azerbaijan,which is in military conflict with Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh.The arms trade between Azerbaijan and Russia has been a pointy issue in Armenian-Russian relations with Russia showing no signs of slowing down even after the escalation of April 2016.Russia also has close ties with Turkey,with Russia selling S-400 systems to Turkey and cooperating in nuclear energy field.Historically,Armenia has always been suspicious of Turkish-Russian cooperation with Turkey not being"friendly"to Armenia.Another issue in the relations between the two countries is Nagorno Karabagh.Russia is the most influential player in the region,and Russia's stance on Nagorno Karabagh is decisive.In Chapter Seven,"Russian Foreign Policy Making,"we try to understand the institutional framework under which the Russian foreign policy made.We show that due to its regime type,ethnic minorities in Russia have no direct influence on foreign policymaking of the country.The State Duma is left with no foreign policy leverage over the president except the declaration of war and ratification of certain treaties.Moreover,the State Duma during years has been under the control of the president and his party.Over the time State Duma has turned into a mechanism of the executive to pass laws it has written.This factor is essential because the legislative body is easier to lobby than the executive.However,even if the State Duma had institutional leverage on foreign policy matters,the legislators would be subject to very limited influence of any outside actors for their reelection due to the might of United Russia and other parliamentary parties who have for years manipulated the parliamentary,presidential and regional assembly elections.The mechanism works like this:the governors aren't elected but appointed by the president.This leaves little doubt to believe that these governors would support United Russia and the president during elections.The governors use the administrative resources,ethnic ties,and state dominance over the political economy to induce the voters to vote for parliamentary parties.This creates a situation where even the regions such as Chechnya,which one would expect to be in opposition with the central government to provide one of the highest percentage votes for United Russia in elections.The electoral manipulation is higher in regions with a considerable number of an ethnic minority population.The constant amendments of election laws create a situation where the parties in opposition have little chance to win.Under the conditions of electoral authoritarianism,the ethnic minorities are isolated from power and only the ones who won't oppose the government policies have chances to have high positions.Under these conditions,ethnic minorities have no chance of influencing the country's foreign policy.
Keywords/Search Tags:ethnic groups, foreign policy, lobbying, the US, Russia, Armenia
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