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Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

International Relations

First Advisor's Name

Mohiaddin Mesbahi

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Aisha Musa

Second Advisor's Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Charles MacDonald

Third Advisor's Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Damian Fernandez

Fourth Advisor's Title

Committee Member

Keywords

Southern Caucasus, foreign policy, Armenia, identity

Date of Defense

11-9-2007

Abstract

This dissertation is the first systematic study of Armenia’s foreign policy during the post-independence period, between 1991 and 2004. It argues that a small state’s foreign policy is best understood when looking at the regional level. Armenia’s geographic proximity to Iran, Russia and Turkey, places it in an area of heightened geopolitical interest by various great powers. This dissertation explores four sets of relationships with Armenia’s major historical ‘partners’: Russia, Iran, Turkey and the West (Europe and the United States). Each relationship reveals a complex reality of a continuous negotiation between ideas of history, collective memory, nationalism and geopolitics. A detailed study of Armenia’s relations with these powers demonstrates how actors’ relations of amity and enmity are formed to constitute a regional security complex. Turkey represents the ultimate “other”, while both Europe and Iran are seen as ideational “others”, whose role in Armenia’s foreign policy, aside from pragmatic policy considerations, reflects a normative quest. Russia and the United States, on the other hand, represent the powerful structural forces that define the regional security complex, in which Armenia operates. This dissertation argues that although Armenia has been severely constrained in certain foreign policy choices, it was adept at carving a space for action that privileged the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh over other geopolitical imperatives.

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