Complementarity foreign policy

Material Information

Complementarity foreign policy balancing U.S. and Rissian interests in post-Soviet Armenia and Georgia
Maghakyan, Simon
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
iv, 70 leaves : ; 28 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Master's ( Master of Arts)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of Political Science, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Political science


Subjects / Keywords:
Since 1991 ( fast )
Diplomatic relations ( fast )
Foreign relations -- Armenia ( lcsh )
Foreign relations -- Georgia (Republic) -- 1991- ( lcsh )
Asia -- Armenia ( fast )
Georgia (Republic) ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 67-70).
General Note:
Department of Political Science
Statement of Responsibility:
by Simon Maghakyan.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
757717450 ( OCLC )
LD1193.L64 2011m M33 ( lcc )

Full Text
Simon Maghakyan
B.A., University of Colorado, 2008
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Political Science

This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Simon Maghakyan
has been approved
Amin Kazak

Maghakyan, Simon (M.A., Political Science)
Complementarity Foreign Policy: Balancing U.S. and Russian Interests in Post-
Soviet Armenia and Georgia
Thesis directed by Professor Thorsten Spehn
Independent since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, neighbors Armenia
and Georgia have been pursuing divergent foreign policies. The former has sought
to balance its relations with Russia and the U.S., while the latter has embraced a
strongly pro-Western policy. In the quest to find the reason for decision makers
adopting different foreign policies under similar circumstances, this thesis
contextualizes Armenias claimed foreign policy, complementarity, arguing that
such foreign policy is most rational if not requisite given Armenias
limitations. The thesis then looks into Georgias lack of complementarity, arguing
that its absence of a balanced foreign policy is best explained by individual-level
analysis. The thesis concludes that complementarity is a strong empowering
device for small states albeit not used by every state because of leadership
personality. The thesis also suggests that a global employment of
complementarity would help foster sustainable worldwide stability.
This abstract accurately represents the content of thg candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Thorsten Spehn

1. INTRODUCTION..............................1
2. REALISM AND LIBERALISM....................8
5. ARMENIAN FOREIGN POLICY 1998-2008........34
7. CONCLUSION...............................58
8. ENDNOTES.................................63

Scholarship of international relations is often dedicated to the study of
great powers. There is, probably, a systematic bias toward the study of interaction
between great powers and their influence over world polity. But what about small
states? Do they always live in the shadow of great states, or do they have the
capability and capacity to achieve independent and influential foreign policies? In
other words, what are the best methods of maximizing influence for weaker
states? Borrowing the concept of complementarity, as defined by Vartan
Oskanian, I argue that small states can indeed adopt successful foreign policy
strategy by balancing their relationships with opposing powers. I further
conceptualize complementarity within the balance-of-power theory of realism,
arguing that complementarity is a separate category and different from
bandwagoning and balancing. Realism, however, doesnt adequately explain
complementarity. Otherwise, why would two countries with similar constraints
have different foreign policies? Individual-level analysis, I argue, answers that
As it became independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the
smallest of the former USSR republics tiny Armenia faced the dilemma of
choosing between Russia and the United States. An ancient nation but a new state,

Armenia had struggled for survival for thousands of years. Now more than ever
before there was no room for making mistakes. Seeking an unequivocally
symmetrical foreign policy in dealing with the East and the West in order to
maximize its security, Armenias leaders designed a foreign policy of
Branded as such by Armenia's Syria-born and U.S.-educated Vartan
Oskanian at the very beginning of his decade-long service as Foreign Minister
from 1998 to 2008, the term complementarity foreign policy was not taken from
scholarly articles. It was created by Oskanian, in his own view, from
considerations of realism and practicality. It is a policy of cooperation with
prospectively opposing powers, thus enabling tiny Armenias cooperation with
both Russia and the U.S., and also with Iran and the European community. But if
complementarity is a child of realism, why didnt Georgia choose the same path?
In the meantime, neighboring ex-Soviet Georgia was pursuing a different
foreign policy. Georgias overt Western orientation has been catastrophic for the
country, resulting in a war with Russia in which Georgia, probably, permanently
lost its former regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. While Armenia and
Georgia have faced similar challenges, their foreign policies have been nothing
To find out why Georgia hasnt balanced its foreign policy, I further
conceptualize complementarity by contrasting Armenias foreign policy of 1998-

2008 with Georgias highly leader-driven foreign policy, which led to the 2008
war with Russia. Utilizing individual-level analysis, I argue that even though
complementarity is an effective balance-of-power theory, individual-level analysis
explains why some states wont make the rational choice to adopt
Complementarity is not a lack of principle but is a principle in itself: small
countries will refuse to take sides in conflicts between powers as a matter of
policy. When they have to, they will take sides on case-by-case issues but only in
the context of complementarity openly cooperating with all sides to a
permissible and adjustable degree that wont threaten the balance of
complementarity. A critic of complementarity may ask how, if at all, it is different
from Non-Aligned Movement. Complementarity is different from Non-Aligned. I
argue that there is a big difference since complementarity is a proactive as
opposed to a reactive foreign policy. Non-Alignment implies avoidance,
isolationism and withdrawal while complementarity means engagement with all
parties. Moreover, the Non-Aligned Movement is an alliance itself meaning that
it is a force of its own in international relations as opposed to a neutral party.
Another critique of complementarity is a charge of opportunism (lack of
principle). This is not true either since complementarity is a sustainable and long-
term principle of not-taking-sides. Opportunism, on the other hand, would mean
whimsical foreign policy.

Armenias neighbor Georgia has not rationally practiced complementarity,
although one would expect it to do so. The reason probably lies in Georgias
leadership. I discuss below the extent of idiosyncrasy of Georgian foreign policy,
a feature that arguably has not served Georgias national interests.
When the president ordered to attack Tskhinvali [the capital of South
Ossetia], a Georgian woman from the city of Gori told Newsweek during the
August 2008 war with Russia over the breakaway region, we knew then we were
doomed. How come he didnt realize that? While foreign policy is often
overlooked as a domestic issue, there is much to be learned from looking at the
individual leader-level analysis of international affairs. Leaders have
personalities, characters, tempers, and philosophies. These, among other factors,
often influence their decision-making. The 2008 Georgian-Russian war stands out
as an example of leader-driven foreign policy development.
Individuals have an often underestimated influence on decision making.
Arguing that leadership matters in foreign policy, Margaret Hermann and Joe
Hagan state that it is individuals who frame affairs with other states. Based on
their perceptions and interpretations, the authors write, [leaders] build
expectations, plan strategies, and urge actions on their government that conform
with their judgments about what is possible.3 Nonetheless, says Valerie M.
Hudson, leadership has been understudied in foreign policymaking.

In general, there are two kinds of leaders agenda-driven or adaptive. One
study discusses goal-driven (less sensitive to political environments) and
responsive (more sensitive) leadership. More specifically, leaders can be crusader
vs. pragmatist, ideologue vs. opportunist, directive vs. consultative, task-oriented
vs. relations-oriented, and transformational vs. transactional. Crusaders,
ideologues, directives, task-oriented, and transformational leaders are the goal-
driven ones: [they] interpret the environment through a lens that is structured by
their beliefs, attitudes, motives, and passions. Pragmatists, opportunists,
relations-oriented, and transactional leaders are the responsive ones: [They]
perceive themselves to be flexible and open-minded.4
Whether agenda-driven or adaptive, most leaders exhibit certain general traits.
In making foreign-policy decisions, for instance, leaders typically take into
account domestic concerns. In Hermann and Hagans words, Leaders can... seek
to consolidate their domestic position by pushing a foreign policy that mobilizes
new support... or undercuts the opposition.5 It seems, then, that in order to
maintain or establish domestic legitimacy and stability, leaders may pursue a
foreign policy that defines a common external threat. But even authority-
opposition relations may depend on personal priorities. According to the authors,
...[U]nderstanding a governments formal structure is less important than
understanding whose positions actually count at a particular point in time.6 This

point probably applies to Vartan Oskanian, although Armenias foreign policy
was already balanced before his tenure.
Understanding predominant leader decision-making requires some
psychological consideration. Jerel Rosati, for instance, discusses predominant
leaders not as rational but as cognitive (psychological) actors whose thinking
processes are shaped by beliefs, (mis)perceptions and (in)flexibility to change.
The author finds that cognition can strongly affect decision-making, especially
during crises. In particular, [p]oor cognitive habits are likely to prevail during
international crises where high stress tends to.. .minimize communication with
potential adversaries...encourage random and selective search for
information...increase the likelihood to stereotype...[and] increase the likelihood
of a polarized choice.... Rosati states that the role of personality.. .deserves
further study. Furthermore, a cognitive approach provides considerable
explanatory and predictive power in the study of foreign policy.7 In short, Rosati
argues that scholars should consider cognitive perspectives in foreign-policy
Even as psychobiography may help us understand leaders better, their
behavior is often inconsistent. Human decisions are not always steady, and our
decisionmaking has the potential to produce profoundly different outcomes
depending upon our emotional state. Mental health (which can involve [a]n
unhealthy obsession with power and control), physical illness, and personality

traits associated with old age (for instance, overconfidence) can affect decisions.
Above all, character affects decisions:
Character is relatively underconceptualized in psychology,
but most psychologists use the term to refer to some deep
organizing principles of the human psyche. One example
could be the individuals predisposition toward abstractive
versus practicalist reasoning. Another example might be
integrity, here meaning the degree to which constructs,
emotions, beliefs, and attitudes are consistent in the
individual. A related concept might be the degree to which
the individual is able to tolerate dissonance between beliefs
and action.
To summarize, individuals have personal influence on foreign policy decision
making. Leaders can be agenda-driven or responsive, and based on that trait may
employ different policies. Even so, most leaders do consider the domestic state of
affairs in pursuing foreign policy. A psychological analysis of leaders can help us
understand, and possibly predict, decision-making tendencies, but several factors,
such as stress during crises, can make leaders inconsistent in their actions.
Overall, the theory can make decision-making easier to analyze and understand -
especially in the case of sufficient information about the leaders personality. On
the other hand, the theory leaves little room for a rational foreign policy. Do
personalities, in practice, override national interest? Who gets to defme the
national interest? And do the definers personalities matter?

Currently, realism and liberalism are the two main approaches in foreign-
policy analysis. The former sees states as striving to maximize their safety; the
latter gives cooperation more of a chance. Both approaches have something to
offer in explaining complementarity since both attempt to find the line where
security and cooperation meet. A third approach, constructivism, complements
and challenges both realism and liberalism by arguing that national interest and
other factors of foreign policy are socially constructed phenomena and, as such,
are subject to change. Realism has many followers and has evolved from classical
realism to postwar realism, and from neorealism to neoclassical realism. The main
assumption of power as the driving force, however, is prevalent in all variations.
What unites all self-described realists are the following: a profoundly
pessimistic view of the human condition and the prospects for change in
human behavior; a rejection of teleological conceptions of politics or
notions of an end of history; a skeptical attitude toward schemes for
pacific international order; and the recognition that ethics and morality are
products of power and material interests, not the other way around.9
In the words of classical realist Hans Morgenthau, [international
politics, like all politics, is a struggle for power[, which] is universal in time and
space and is an undeniable fact of experience. Seeing realism as a reflection of
natural forces of power, Morgenthau finds that [t]o improve the world one must
work with those forces, not against them.10 Realism considers states the most

important actors in the world, while treating the latter as anarchic. Despite this
core belief, realism has its own internal conflicts. Offensive realists, for instance,
argue that states try to maximize their power, while defensive realists say that
states seek to maximize their security. Where the line between power and security
is, however, is contentious. Militant offensive realist Fareed Zakaria, for instance,
criticizes defensive realism: good theory, he says, explains how the world does
work, not how it should work.11 While realism considers the state as the main
actor, the most recent realist approach (neoclassical realism) sees states as
changeable. Neoclassical realism tries to explain variation in the foreign policies
of the same state over time or across different states facing similar external
constraints. It looks into both international and domestic constraints, even
arguing that a correct perception of the external threat can be overridden by
domestic considerations.13
In the realist school, complementarity, I argue, belongs in the balance-of-
power theory as developed by Kenneth Waltz, a member of the neorealist school.
Further developments of balance-of-power theory include Schweller's work on
bandwagoning,14 Glasers contingent realism,15 Christiansen and Snyder's work
on Chain-ganging and Buckpassing,16 and Steven Walt's work on Balance of
Threat theory.17 All of these have some commonalities with complementarity
since they respond to the order of power and explain how smaller states behave in
relation to power. Complementarity, nonetheless, is distinguished from these

theories by being a proactive as opposed to a reactive policy. Instead of
waiting for opportunities, practitioners of complementarity have a clear outlook of
how and when to act.
Balance-of-power theory was detailed by Kenneth Waltz in his famous
Theory of International Affairs. There, he meticulously describes what theory is
before constructing one. According to Waltz, ...theoretical notions can only be
invented, not discovered. Theory must have great explanatory power by
moving away from reality, not by staying close to it. Theory, he writes,
explains some part of reality and is therefore distinct from the reality it explains.
He says that theorys .. .usefulness is judged by the explanatory and predictive
powers and that it constructs a reality, but no one can ever say that it is the
reality.18 Waltz writes:
A theory has explanatory and predictive power. A theory also has
elegance. Elegance in social-science theories means that explanations and
predictions will be general. A theory of international politics will, for
example, explain why war recurs, and it will indicate some of the
conditions that make war more or less likely; but it will not predict the
outbreak of particular wars. Within a system, a theory explains
continuities. It tells one what to expect and why to expect it. Within a
system, a theory explains recurrences and repetitions, not change.19
Waltz states that theory about foreign policy is a theory at the national level. It
leads to expectations about the responses that dissimilar polities will make to
external pressures.20 He takes a great-power bias (which complementarity

Concern with international politics as a system requires concentration on
the states that make the most difference. A general theory of international
politics is necessarily based on the great powers. The theory once written
also applies to lesser states that interact insofar as their interactions are
insulated from the intervention of the great powers of a system, whether
by the relative indifference of the latter or by difficulties of
communication and transportation.21
Waltz discusses bipolarity and multipolarity, saying that the former is a system
in which no third power is able to challenge the top two.22 Then he develops his
balance-of-power theory:
A balance-of-power theory, properly stated, begins with assumptions
about states: They are unitary actors who, at a minimum, seek their own
preservation and, at a maximum, drive for universal domination...23
Waltz describes some of the earlier concepts in balance of power theory:
If states wished to maximize power, they would join the stronger side, and
we would see not balances forming but a world hegemony forged. This
does not happen because balancing, not bandwagoning, is the behavior
induced by the system. The first concern of states is not to maximize
power but to maintain their positions in the system.24
Waltz widely quotes Henry Kissingers practical experience in discussing
balance of power. One particular quote, Countries can exert political influence
even when they have neither military nor economic strength,25 (think of
Switzerland) reminds us of the potential of complementarity. Waltz discusses the
challenges of balance of power in a mutlipolar world order:
Traditionally, students of international politics have thought that the
uncertainty that results from flexibility of alignment generates a healthy
caution in everyones foreign policy.... In a bipolar world uncertainty
lessens and calculations are easier to make....In a multipolar world the

leaders of both blocs must be concerned at once with alliance
Stephen Walt expands on balance of power theory, and gives a switched
definition of bandwagoning and balancing. When entering an alliance, he
writes, states may either balance (ally in opposition to the principal source of
danger) or bandwagon (ally with the state that poses the major threat).27 He sees
a clear choice for states when it comes to choosing sides:
Second, joining the more vulnerable side increases the new member's
influence, because the weaker side has greater need for assistance. Joining
the stronger side, by contrast, reduces the new member's influence
(because it adds relatively less to the coalition) and leaves it vulnerable to
the whims of its new partners. Alignment with the weaker side is thus the
preferred choice.28
Needless to say, from the point of view of security, allying with the weaker side is
riskier than allying with the stronger side.
Walt uses historical data to make his case:
The overwhelming tendency for states to balance rather than bandwagon
defeated the hegemonic aspirations of Spain under Philip II, France under
Louis XIV and Napoleon, and Germany under Wilhelm II and Hitler.29
If Walt were to comment on Georgias 2008 conflict with Russia, hed probably
theorize that Georgia tried to bandwagon with the U.S. but that its hope for U.S.
support in a war with Russia wasnt materialized. In other words, not only
balancing but also bandwagoning is risky. Complementarity, conversely, doesnt
make such dangerous misperceptions since it maintains a balanced policy.
Cooperation can itself be due to misperception, but complementarity will tend to

minimize damages since it wont permit unilateral cooperation. Regarding the
Soviet Unions initial cooperation with Nazi Germany on socialist grounds, the
author writes, security considerations take precedence over ideological
preferences, and ideologically based alliances are unlikely to survive when more
pragmatic interests intrude.30 Georgias ideological alignment with the United
States, therefore, may not have been as instrumental in gamering Western military
support for Georgia as had been hoped for by President Saakasvhili.
Moreover, since taking foreign aid doesnt necessarily engender
overdependence, as argued in the quote below, complementaritys focus on
cooperation with divergent powers has limited risks:
But it is wrong to conclude that recipients become Soviet (or, for that
matter, American) dominions, because aid can provide substantial
leverage only over the most helpless (and therefore inconsequential)
recipients. Foreign aid can make an existing alliance more effective, but it
rarely creates one in the absence of shared political interests.31
Geography, more than aid or ideology, has a role in alliance formations, argues
Thus the United States is geographically isolated but politically popular,
while the Soviet Union is politically isolated as a consequence of
geographic proximity. More than any other factor, geography explains
why so many of the world's significant powers have chosen to ally with
the U.S.32
Randal Schweller, in turn, gives different meanings to bandwagoning and
balancing. He departs from Waltzs usage of bandwagoning and balancing as
opposites. In his words:

The aim of balancing is self-preservation and the protection of values
already possessed, while the goal of bandwagoning is usually self-
extension: to obtain values coveted. Simply put, balancing is driven by the
desire to avoid losses; bandwagoning by the opportunity for gain.33(Or,
third, bandwagoning can reflect a desire to be on the winning side, for
both offensive and defensive purposes.-SM)
Charles Glaser has a different theory, contingent realism, which challenges neo-
institutionalists, who see institutions as the key to cooperation, by explaining
international cooperation without focusing on institutions.34 He sees more room
for cooperation a tendency of liberal thought:
The standard argument stresses only the risks of cooperation, but both
cooperation and competition can be risky.... When the risks of competition
exceed the risks of cooperation, states should direct [*] their self-help
efforts toward achieving cooperation. Thus, contingent realism makes it
clear that we need to replace essentially unconditional predictions of
competition with conditional predictions of when states should cooperate
and when they should compete.35
Thomas Christensen and Jack Snyder discuss chained gangs and passed bucks by
attempting to predict alliance patterns in a multipolar world order:
Contemporary balance-of-power theory has become too parsimonious to
yield determinate predictions about state alliance strategies in
multipolarity.36...We make no claim to be able to foretell the balancing
dynamics of the coming decades. We do claim, however, that realist
scholars will have to prepare for this analytic challenge by developing a
theory that combines the insights of Waltz's balance-of-power theory and
Jervis's security dilemma theory. This is the most parsimonious
international system theory that has any hope of explaining and
prescribing great power alliance strategies.37
Balance-of-power theory is complemented by the practice of nonalignment. Leo
Mates states that nonalignment is a strictly bipolar choice. Mates acutely

discusses bipolarity and multipolarity. It sounds as if he is predicting
complementarity as proactive continuation of nonalignment:
The more likely prospect [for establishing peace and harmony] would be
an oscillation of periods of higher and lower tension within the triangle.
This triangle is an ominous reminder of the Orwellian vision of a world
divided among three major powers and constantly at war, with two
changing partners temporarily united against the third. In the reality of the
contemporary world, though, there is a difference because we have the rest
of the world in addition to the three major powers. This other group is of
considerable consequence. Finally, while it is most unlikely that this group
could be divided and absorbed into clearly defined spheres of influence by
the major powers, neither should it be assumed that it could be totally
ignored by them.39
Nonalignment in itself is an alignment since it is an alliance.
Complementarity, conversely, is a proactive policy of multi-cooperation and can
be practiced both independently and collectively as we will see in Armenias case
study. M.S. Raj an defines nonalignment as a deliberate and calculated refusal to
enter into any military or political commitment with any of the great powers or to
permit foreign military bases on one's territory.40 His description of
nonalignment decisionmaking is similar to that of complementarity.
In demanding and asserting this right of independent policy and action,
[nonaligned nations] are not seeking to be impartial as between the two
blocs and pretending to be wiser than the collective wisdom of either of
the blocs. It is possible that in taking a decision or stand, the nonaligned
nations recognize that right and justice are on one side or the other in
which case, they dare to support the one and vote against the other. At
other times, it is possible that they recognize that right and justice is on
neither side wholly in which case, they would abstain from any stand or
action or plead for accommodation and compromise between the two
opposing stands of the two blocs.41

A system that gives international institutions a chance and is optimistic
about cooperation, liberalism is often misunderstood as a happily-ever-after
wishful approach. Liberalism believes in at least the possibility of cumulative
progress, writes Robert Keohane, whereas realism assumes that history is not
progressive.42 Jervis writes about misconceptions of neoliberalism and provides
three arguments to better understand the differences and similarities between
realism and liberalism. First, Jervis argues that the realist-neoliberal debate is
primarily over whether conflict is unnecessary. In his words, Neoliberalism does
not see more cooperation than does realism; rather, neoliberalism believes that
there is much more unrealized or potential cooperation than does realism, and the
schools of thought disagree about how much conflict in world politics is
unnecessary or avoidable.. ..43 Realists, according to Jervis, seem to think that all
options have been considered: For them, it is unfortunately true that we live in
the best of all possible worlds.44 Second, he talks about what realists and
neoliberals argue needs to be changed to limit conflict. Surprisingly, offensive
realists see prospects for limiting conflict because of the cost increase of armed
conflict (weapons become much more expensive, for instance). Finally, Jervis
argues that realism underestimates institutions only because the latters survival is
intertwined with existing conditions (institutions and situations are a two-way
process), and so institutions are not autonomous and therefore as effective as

neoliberal institutionalists think. In Jervis words, Neoliberals think that
establishing an institution can increase cooperation. Realists believe that this is
not so much a false statement as a false remedy, because the states will establish
an institution if and only if they seek goals that the institution will help them
Some liberal theorists have concrete examples to argue for their case.
Discussing the Med Plan, a project that includes Mediterranean countries shared
effort to keep their common sea from waste and pollution, Peter Haas argues that
cooperation between different states is possible. Particularly impressed with the
domestic compliance of states with the plan, Haas gives credit to new actors
within states (environmental scientists and others) for changing policy. In his own
words, The Med Plans success was due to the regimes introduction of new
actors who influenced national behavior and contributed to the development of
coordinated and convergent policymaking in the Mediterranean states. In the face
of uncertainty, a publicly unrecognized group with an unchallenged claim to
understanding the technical nature of the regimes substantive issue-area was able
to interpret for traditional decisionmakers facts or events in new ways and thereby
lead to new forms of behavior... .46
Zacher and Mathew, writing about the development and research of liberal
international theory, state the tradition has its roots in the 17th century. In the
authors words, The key for the empirical liberal theorist is to understand the

balances between conflicting and mutual and self-interested concerns that can
exist in particular stages of international history.47 Then, they identify two
variants of liberalism which are crucial to understanding the evolution of the
theory: laissez-faire liberalism and democratic/interventionist liberalism. The
heart of liberalism, though, is the conviction that individual human beings [are]
the primary international actors;and that interests of states are.. .changing.48
Human and state interests alike are influenced by multiple domestic and
international factors. The rest of Zacher and Mathews book discusses strands of
liberalism: Republican, Interdependence (with the subcategories of Commercial
and Military and perhaps Ecological), Cognitive, Sociological, and Institutional.
What unites all these strands is that... [they] are all ultimately about enhancing
the security, prosperity, and human rights of individuals.49
In a post-9/11 world, according to G. John Ikenberry, liberalism is facing
[T]here is an intellectual crisis of the liberal vision of international order.
Unresolved dilemmas, contradictions, and ambiguities that have always
been part of the liberal vision are today increasingly apparent and
troubling. This is not a crisis that exists because the world in the end is
more realist than liberals thought. Precisely the opposite. It is because the
world is less realist than liberals anticipated that its intellectual problems
ensue. This is another way of saying that the liberal vision of international
order depends more on realist Wesphalian underpinnings in particular,
sovereignty and the balance of power than liberals might admit.50

While liberalism highlights cooperation, it has fewer theories close to
complementarity than realism does. The core assumption of liberalism that there
is a better chance for cooperation in the hope of increasing security, however, is
also at the core of complementarity. Moreover, complementarity is better
explained with individual-level analysis, favoring liberalism over realism (which
considers states the main actors).

An online search of complementarity and foreign policy usually
brings up references to Vartan Oskanian. Public articulations of complementarity
by its founding father range from speeches to interviews. At the 62nd Session of
the United Nations General Assembly in October 2007, for example, Oskanian
stated in part: When tensions among the worlds great powers grow, there is an
increase in polarization and a decrease in the effectiveness of the hard-earned -
and costly policies of complementarity and balance of small countries. Our own
room to maneuver, to participate in global solutions, diminishes.51 In an
interview with the BBC after leaving his post, he recalled the policy: For a
decade, when I was foreign minister, we implemented a policy of
complementarity clearly saying to everybody that we will not choose between
Russia and the U.S. Armenia can not afford to choose. I think that whole issue
now has come closer to home and Armenia should even enhance that
complementarity by clearly telling everybody that choosing is not an option for
Armenia.52And in the aftermath of the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war over
the region of South Ossetia, a publication by Oskanian's Civilitas Foundation
warned against the end of complementarity in Armenia. It said, in part:

Armenia has no alternative to complementarity which
remains essential for Armenia's security and balanced
development. The government cannot take the easy path
both financially and for security. In the run-up to the tough
horse-trading sure to take place, Russia's place in the
Caucasus appears unquestionable. Armenia should re-
affirm its own place firmly between the two in the new
configuration that will develop between Russia and the
To further understand Oskanians definition of complementarity, I
interviewed him in April 2009.54 In one sentence, Oskanian describes
complementarity as a policy of adjustable balance and asymmetrical relationship
(if necessarily asymmetric) with seemingly competing poles, power centers,
countries, etc. The policy, he says, was implemented in 1998 during the
transition of presidency from Levon Ter Petrosian to Robert Kocharian. In the
introduction to a publication of his speeches during his decade of service,
Oskanian describes the circumstances he had to deal with starting in 1998:
Internationally, the US-Russia honeymoon was already
ending. Russia became more assertive in international
relations and began to take stands on global matters. For a
country like ours, these changes meant reduced flexibility
and far less room to maneuver in order to be able to
conduct an Armenia-specific foreign policy.
Regionally, conflicts were still simmering, not just in
Nagomo Karabakh but also in Georgia. The international
community now had a clearer position on conflicts, and
articulated a preference for the principle of territorial
integrity. This was what Azerbaijan wanted above all else,
in order to justify its claim to Karabakh, a territory to which
they had no ethnic, religious, legal or historic rights.
Further, the Baku-Tbilisi-(^eyhan pipeline deal [which

deliberately isolated Armenia and was opened in 2005] was
almost sealed. This didn't just mean an emboldened
Azerbaijan. It also meant an enhanced regional role for
Turkey. Domestically, while Armenia's economy had
started to recover, the negative consequences of the post-
Soviet transition were everywhere. In addition, there was
the other transition the complicated one from the first
presidential administration to the second.53
Why complementarity? According to Oskanian:
The concept/notion dictated the term; until then we were
clearly applying a policy of balance, which meant
balancing one act while doing one act but the end result
that I was contemplating to achieve which I thought was to
get the maximum that Armenia could get out of our
relationships, led me to think we have to complement what
we do with one country with what we can do with another.
The nuance here is that you are doing similar things with
rivals in the same area in security, economy, [and]
In order to convey firm commitment to balance, Oskanian explains, a
strong word needed to be introduced in the political culture to expressly articulate
the policy:
It had always been apparent that the new Republic of
Armenia would and should have good relations with all
three major power centers the European Union, Russia
and the United States. However, the sometimes perceptible,
sometimes veiled competition among them made it
necessary for us to balance our activities and interactions
intentionally, to make sure that a relationship with one in
one area was offset by an association with the other in
another area...Although such reactions were usually no
more than irritations and therefore not hugely consequential
in any one instance, accumulated misunderstandings can
take a toll in any relationship, especially a political one, and
so we had to find a suitable way out of such recurring

predicaments while protecting our interests. We needed a
new concept clearer, more persuasive and more bluntly
articulated. That new direction was complementarity. The
term had never before been used in the political context.
This was a first. It required certain thinking, a firm
commitment and a particular assumption.56
While Oskanian says he is not a theoretician, he says complementarity is
driven from a mix of realism and pragmatism. Even though the policy was
developed for Armenia, it is applicable to other states, particularly those who are
caught in the middle of competing interests, major powers. But complementarity
would not work in trying to compliment extreme power-poles:
Then, rendering complementarity could be not just
obsolete, impossible, but can also render harm to the
country. We came to such a point under the Bush
administration about two years ago [in 2007] when things
became very tense and both Russia and the US started
demanding that Armenia side with them, on issues of
national security. For example, votes at the UN, positions
(starting from reforms) at the OSCE, and in both, positions
on specific countries. At the UN it was Cuba, at the OSCE,
it was Belarus, etc.
Complementarity doesnt guarantee a smooth foreign policy; it can irritate
the two powers a state is trying to balance. In Oskanians words, complementarity
[g]ot us into hot water with one or the other side, but because we held firmly to
our position and insisted that we wouldnt take sides, and that our national interest
comes first, we did not have an instance where it came to hurt us. While
complementarity is consistent in being neutral, it does have some flexibility: Its

a strategy based on a clear concept and commitment not to base policy on taking
sides. Doesnt mean you dont take sides, but you dont base your policy on
taking sides. In other words, there will be times when Armenia will, based on the
situation, side with Russia or the US against the other, depending on how the
issue influences Armenias national interests. The criteria could be an issue of
fundamental importance such as human rights or international terrorism.
As Armenia has large diasporas in the US and Russia, one wonders
whether complementarity is really possible without having diasporas. As a son of
the diaspora, Oskanian appreciates the importance of Armenians living outside
the Republic. He nonetheless thinks complementarity is possible without Emigre
lobbies: Their presence has been a double-edged sword. Usually helpful, but
there have been instances where our approaches and what we pursued differed.
Does complementarity require regional multilateralism, or can one country
succeed with the policy by itself? Would Georgias NATO membership, for
instance, hurt Armenia even if Armenia continued practicing complementarity?
Of course it requires regional multilateralism to really
succeed. Georgias non-complementarity approach has
changed US expectations of us [Armenia], thinking we too
can be equally belligerent about Russia; but on the other
hand, complementarity becomes more important so that we
can explain why we must avoid such choices we can
neither relinquish Russia nor lose the US. Therefore,
complementarity becomes even more necessary and must
be publicly invoked in order to preclude the public and
private pressures to choose.

Even though complementarity requires regional multilateralism to achieve
long-term success, it is not designed to cope directly with regional problems. But
indirectly, complementarity can bring regional stability and dialogue. In the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict-resolution process with Azerbaijan, for example,
Armenia has benefited from complementarity, because the US, Russia, and France
are the main mediators. In 2008, for instance, when most Islamic countries in the
UN General Assembly voted in favor of a resolution by Azerbaijan strongly
criticizing Armenia and calling for withdrawal of forces, Russia, France, and the
US (which would usually abstain from voting in a similar situation) multilaterally
voted against it. However, says Vartan Oskanian, if the tension between [the
US and Russia] continues, this will of course affect the resolution process and
how successfully we continue to engage with each of them and how
tolerant/understanding they are of our complementarity positions.
While Armenias foreign policy was balanced even before Oskanians tenure,
his personality probably considerably affected complementarity. Bom in Syria,
educated in the US, and residing in Armenia, Oskanian is a true diplomat with a
cautious approach to international affairs. His diverse background is arguably one
of the reasons why he introduced and sustained complementarity, although more
research needs to be done to establish the role of his personality in his conduct of
foreign affairs. Later in the thesis, I discuss literature on individual-level analysis
in my discussion of Georgias foreign policy. In the latter, personality has

definitely played a role. Oskanians personality, on the other hand, is not as
clearly predictive of his policies as is Georgian president Saakashvilis.

I suggest a useful definition of complementarity, which is not in essence -
different from Oskanians but further conceptualizes complementarity and
distinguishes it from other, similar categories discussed in the literature review.
Complementarity, before being a fact, is a concept. I argue that it belongs in
balance-of-power theory, as developed by Kenneth Waltz, within the school of
realist thought, but it contains some liberal optimism about cooperation. As
discussed in the literature review, other concepts of balance-of-power theory have
a few recurring themes: they are reactive in nature, and they preclude the
possibility of active nonpartisanship. Complementarity is a concept that completes
balance-of-power theory by giving a nonpartisan, cooperative foreign policy a
chance. It explains the constraints and complications that confine resource-poor
states. It becomes a resource in itself by converting lack of resources into
resourcefulness. Complementarity is not a lack of principle but is a principle in
itself: weak countries will refuse to take sides in conflicts between powers as a
matter of policy. But when they have to, they will take sides on case-by-case
issues but only in the context of complementarity openly cooperating with all
sides to a permissible and adjustable degree that wont threaten the balance of
complementarity. This is more than accommodation of great powers and/or
regional players. It is consistent cooperation with different powers. A critic of

complementarity might ask, what if either of the powers requires that a small state
choose sides, for example, in a war between great powers? The answer is that
complementarity would dictate that the state power maintain neutrality in such a
war and try to continue cooperation. Sound unrealistic? Not at all. Armenia, for
example, economically cooperates with Iran, which supplies Armenia with natural
gas, with a second pipeline underway, while being one of the largest recipients of
US aid. With limited resources, Armenia cannot afford not to cooperate with Iran,
especially since the Caspian energy transit bypasses Armenia (the Baku-Tbilisi-
Ceyhan oil pipeline, for instance, pumps Azerbaijani oil to Turkey and from there
to western markets by avoiding Armenian territory). At the same time, Armenia
has to be restrained in its cooperation with Iran. Of course, the cooperation with
Iran cannot become military since Iran has controversial military aspirations that
are almost unanimously deemed as dangerous by the international community. In
fact, according to a wikileaked document, the US has privately threatened
Armenia with sanctions because of a supposed transfer of army supplies to Iran
which ended up in Iraq and killed American troops. Even so, the US permits
Armenian cooperation with Iran.
Having a pronounced policy of complementarity, Armenia makes its odd
Iran-Russia-US friendship a possibility. Complementarity is not always a self-
directed machine but needs a driver that stays on a visible road with a tour that
involves passing through different countries, even if the driver ends up not

spending equal time traveling through the different territories. In other words,
although complementarity seems to be Armenias best option for foreign policy,
strategic articulation is also necessary for its success.
Complementarity is a renewable and sustainable resource. Armenias
domestic composition of a vulnerable economy, the Turkish-Azerbaijani threat,
Diaspora, strong Russian influence, pro-Western attitudes, and trust in Iran as its
only reliable Muslim ally defines internal structures that affect the external
policies of Armenia and contribute to complementarity. A state with similar
constraints and internal structures would do well to utilize complementarity as
well. While Georgia thinks it can afford not to practice complementarity, its failed
2008 conflict with Russia suggests that complementarity is in Georgias best
interest. Had Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili acted rationally (as opposed
to giving in to his passions), Georgia could have avoided a war with Russia. A
leader-level analysis of Georgias recent foreign policy will help us understand
why complementarity has been restrained in Tbilisi. Georgias refusal to practice
complementarity is both unfortunate and ironic since Georgia has an important
resource for complementarity that Armenias regime lacks: legitimacy
(unquestionably, democratically-elected government).
Complementarity will prepare Armenia for a smoother transition to greater
cooperation with China as the latter moves toward becoming the largest economy
in the world, and not at the price of diminishing cooperation with the United

States or others. Armenia has already demonstrated the flexibility of its foreign
policy. In Armenia, complementarity has helped a smoother accommodation of
the post-9/11 world. Armenia was able to cooperate smoothly with the US
military without compromising its military alliance with Russia.
Complementarity, however, was diminished in post-March 1,2008 Armenia.
In the early 2008 presidential election, establishment candidate Serzh Sargsyan
was elected president without a second round, whereas usually the two top-
finishing candidates from the first round compete for the presidency. In an
unprecedented move, American President George W. Bush failed to congratulate
Sargsyan.59 While the main contender, former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan60
gained fewer votes than Sargsyan, most observers expected a second round of
elections. Thousands protested the election outcome, resulting in the bloody
March 1,2008, events with ten people killed when special forces removed
protesters from Freedom Square. The American presidents lack of
congratulations to the Armenian president on his election was a clear challenge to
Sargsyans legitimacy. To boost the latter, Sargsyan initiated normalization talks
with Turkey, which included a major concession of the formation of a historical
committee that would discuss history, and probably (although according to
Sargsyan, not at so) challenge the application of the term genocide in the
Armenian Genocide the mass deportation and killing of western Armenians in
what is now eastern Turkey that defines Armenian identity and angers Turkish

pride (The Turkish government maintains that there was no genocide). A native of
Karabakh, the disputed region internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but
a de facto Armenian territory, Sargsyan chose to concede to Turkey in talks in
lieu of making concessions on the Karabakh issue. In the long run, his tactic
proved successful (if not due only to luck) since Turkey ended up, in effect,
shelving the normalization process by adding precondition after the signing of
protocols toward normalization (and toward reopening its border with Armenia).
The precondition was for Armenia to withdraw from territories Armenian forces
had conquered around Nagorno-Karabakh in Turkeys ethnolingual ally
Azerbaijan, under the latters pressure. A more democratic government in
Armenia would have made its foreign policy stronger. At the height of the
controversy over Irans nuclear program, the above-mentioned US letter regarding
arms transfer to Iran was probably meant to generally limit Armenias
complementarity -specifically its cooperation with Iran. The letter probably
would have been more nuanced had Armenias government not just emerged from
the bloody March 1 events. (This interaction is part of a broader post-9/11
adjustment of complementarity discussed below.) But as Georgias example
demonstrates, having democratic reform alone is not an assurance of added
security. Democratic legitimacy and complementarity together would likely be the
best policy. Georgia, where President Saakashvili is still a democrat compared to
his Armenian counterpart, has a legitimate government, which could increase its

countrys security by adopting complementarity and benefiting from cooperation
with both Russia and the West. Complementarity is not an overnight policy, but
needs to be institutionalized by a predictable implementation. While Armenias
constraints make complementarity almost inevitable, building complementarity as
an institution and not just an instrument is important for smooth transitions in
foreign-policy administration. Complementarity maximizes security (hard power)
by means of an established protocol of balance (soft power). But by itself,
complementarity is not a sustainable institution. It requires democratically-
elected, legitimate, and transparent government to succeed in the long run.
Combined, democratic legitimacy and complementarity are Armenias and
Georgias best hopes for a secure place on the map.
Some have challenged Armenias complementarity policy as a dream,
given its overdependence on Russia. The Russian monopoly over strategic
Armenian plants, including the sole nuclear reactor, is overdependence indeed.
But many see the monopoly as reassurance of Russias military protection of
Armenia. Besides treaties and historical ties, Russia will protect Armenia from
Turkish aggression to protect the large economy it owns in Armenia. The
overtaking of Armenian strategic economic plants by Russia intensified in a post-
9/11 world when Armenia revised its complementarity by cooling off its
cooperation with Iran and opening its air space to the US for military flights. A
clear shift toward the US in supporting the latters military effort was balanced by

giving Russia more control of the Armenian economy. Furthermore, giving
Russia more economic presence in Armenia was seen as increasing the likelihood
of Russias military protection of Armenia. Complementarity, in this case,
increased Armenias dependence but maintained its foreign-policy balance.
Complementarity is, thus, flexible and adjustable.
Despite its advantages, complementarity is not the default policy in states that
would benefit from it. Georgias lack of a foreign policy of complementarity, for
instance, appears to be primarily due to its president Saakashvili, whose
personality I discuss later in the thesis. I argue that individual-level analysis can
explain barriers to the otherwise rational avenue of complementarity.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Republic of Armenia emerged
as the smallest independent state in the former communist bloc. Armenia is free.
Please recognize was transmitted to the world by Armenias first Minister of
Foreign Affairs, US-bom Raffi Hovannisian, in fall 1991.61 Sandwiched between
Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Turkey, landlocked Armenia, with a population of
about 3 million, witnessed one of the most violent ethnic conflicts of the late 20th
century when it engaged in a war with another newly independent state,
Azerbaijan, over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated region that Joseph
Stalin had assigned to Soviet Azerbaijan in the 1920s.62 Even as the 1994
ceasefire left Armenians in control of Nagorno-Karabakh and several adjacent
territories surrounding the enclave, Azerbaijan economically blockaded Armenia.
Furthermore, Azerbaijans ethnolinguistic ally Turkey also blockaded Armenia,
using the Nagorno-Karabakh issue as an excuse. Others see Turkeys historic
antagonism as intensified by Armenias demand that Turkey recognize its WWI
genocide against Ottoman Armenians as the real reason behind the blockade.
Physically and economically blockaded by Turkey and Azerbaijan,
Armenias only access to the rest of the world has been through Iran and Georgia.
At odds with the United States, Iran finds its importance officially toned down by
Armenia. Similarly, Georgias attempt at becoming a NATO member and its

conflict with Russia have chilled Armenian cooperation with Georgia. Even so,
Armenias cooperation with both countries has drawn only restrained Russian and
US protest. Every time Russia economically blockades Georgia, it also indirectly
blockades Armenia. Thus, if the US were to start a war with Iran and Russia
restart its war with Georgia, Armenia would find itself in absolute blockade and
isolation63, similar to that of West Gazas current situation, which has been
described as the worlds largest prison.
For Armenia, the collapse of the Soviet Union has not necessarily meant
the end of the Cold War. Russias influence is still very strong, causing Armenia
to perceive the world not as a unipolar entity, but still as a bipolar one. Even
though Russias relationship with Armenia has been imperialistic, Russians have
treated Armenians much better than have other colonizers. The historic Armenian
homeland, now mostly in eastern Turkey, was georgraphically divided between
the Ottomans and Persians for a few hundred years. As Christians, Armenians
were discriminated against under both rules, especially in the Ottoman Empire.
Russias conquest of much of Armenian territory controlled by Persia was seen as
liberation by most Armenians, who believed Christian Russians were interested in
providing security for fellow Christians. The tradition of seeing Russians as
liberators has persisted for centuries, and many in Armenia see Russia as the only
guarantor of protection from the Turkish threat. This perception threatens
Armenian complementarity. Indeed, since Oskanians departure in 2008, Armenia

has been experimenting with allowing increasing Russian presence Specifically,
Russian soldiers patrol the border between Armenia and Turkey. While Russia
may be seen merely as a regional power throughout the world, to Armenians it is
seen as a world power.
Despite strong historic and security ties with Russia, Armenia has been a
partner of the United States since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In the
period since independence, Armenia has received about $2 billion in U.S. aid -
the highest per capita sum in the former Soviet bloc.64 Southern California, and
particularly Los Angeles Glendale suburb, is home to the largest concentrated
Armenian community outside Armenias most populous city and capital,
Yerevan. Besides Glendale, other Armenian colonies in the US have had strong
political influence, leading to historical support for Armenia in the United States,
particularly during and after World War One. But such support was part of
Woodrow Wilsons idealist liberal policies and widespread empathy for the
hundreds of thousands of Christian Armenians who were being slaughtered at the
hand of the Ottomans. Even so, Wilsons proposed U.S. mandate for Armenia,
which included historic Armenian lands now in eastern Turkey, was rejected by
the United States Senate.65 US-Armenia relations today would not be the same
without the Armenian diaspora, especially since Armenia has little to offer
Washington, except as a balance against Russia.

Domestically, there are strong pro-Russian and pro-American sentiments
in Armenia. The overwhelming support for Russia, however, has decreased, as
demonstrated in widespread protests against public funding for Russian-language
schools in Armenia. Armenias government usually acts upon public opinion
retrospectively, as when a governmental policy is changed or adjusted after
officials receive feedback (usually negative) from different parts of the population
and/or from the diaspora. This scenario happened after Oskanian (and president
Kocharian) left in 2008, and the Serzh Sargsyan government negotiated protocols
for opening the border with Turkey. After receiving much criticism for the
historical commission clause of the protocols, which some Armenians feared
would open the Armenian genocide to debate, the Armenian government became
more cautious in advocating for the protocols. It undertook much linguistic
exercise to argue that the historical commission should only discuss consequences
of the genocide and not doubt the veracity of the genocide. While there has been
little research done on decision-making in Armenian foreign policy, individuals
such as Vartan Oskanian seem to be the ones behind it, although his
complementarity was no revolution in Armenian foreign policy, which has been
consistent before and during Oskanians tenure. Even as much of independent
Armenias foreign policy has remained the same, complementarity foreign policy
was articulated during the transition from first post-Soviet president Levon Ter-
Petrosian who was forced to resign by domestic actors to Robert Kocharian in

1998. This is when Vartan Oskanian, the US-educated diplomat, became
Armenias Foreign Minister. Oskanians Western education was contrasted with
Kocharians Soviet background of speaking Armenian with a strong Russian
intonation. Kocharian, nonetheless, sought even more integration with the
European community, perhaps coming closer to a balance between the East and
West. He rejected, in the words of Edmund Herzig, Armenian membership of the
Russia-Belarus Union, which had its advocates in both Armenia and Russia. The
same year he also turned down a proposal to make Russian Armenias official
second language.66 Even so, Armenias foreign policy has largely been
nonpartisan. Taline Papazians research, which looks at the period between 1991
and 2003, suggests that despite the replacement of [Armenias] first
administration by its opponents in 1998, the most relevant characteristic of
foreign policy is continuity rather than change.67
The consistency in Armenian foreign policy reflects the clearly defined
problems the country faces. Historically, Armenia has faced invasion and a
recent genocide. After many conquests over thousands of years, Armenia found
itself geographically divided between Ottoman Turkey and Russia in the 19th
century. The Armenian holocaust of WWI destroyed much of historic Armenia,
resulting in the annihilation of modem eastern Turkeys indigenous Armenians -
a genocide still denied by nationalists in Turkey. A short-lived Republic created
in Russian Armenia in 1918, which soon joined the USSR losing more territory

to Turkey, including iconic Mount Ararat, and to Azerbaijan69 again
proclaimed independence in 1991. In the words of Vartan Oskanian, Armenias
perception of its own security, or rather its perceived threats to its security, its
geographic position, and long history have greatly contributed to a desire to
define security needs in terms which carefully take into account the behavior and
the intentions of immediate neighbors.70 Geopolitically, a nation of no more than
3 million people, modem Armenia has few natural resources and no access to
bodies of water. Even as it is adjacent to Caspian oil reserves (controlled by
Azerbaijan), pipelines going to Turkey deliberately detour Armenia. While the
human resources are rich, with a 99.7% adult literacy rate, there is negative
population growth, with most Armenians living outside the Republic, giving it
one of the largest diasporas in the world. First and foremost, writes Papazian,
Armenian foreign policy aims to secure the survival of its territory and
Armenias quest for survival has been historically associated with Russian
alliance, yet even Russias perceived pro-Armenian attitude has seen its
metamorphoses a fact that contributes to the importance of complementarity.
Recently, for example, Russia has been reaching out to Armenias rival
Azerbaijan over the latters oil resources. Russian leaders travel to Baku, the
capital city of Azerbaijan, to discuss strengthening relations with Armenias
Muslim foe in the South Caucasus. Moreover, given Russias strained relations

with Georgia, another South Caucasus nation, Moscow hopes not to lose its
influence in the rest of the post-Soviet Transcaucasia. This means for Armenians
that their fellow Christian Russians may not be the unconditional guarantor of
security that they have been in the past. For this reason, the United States can be
a balancing force in Armenias foreign policy against Russia. Armenia can ignore
neither Russia nor the United States. In short, Armenias geopolitics perhaps
require what Vartan Oskanian brands complementarity. In the words of Taline
Papazian, one of the few scholars who have studied Armenias foreign policy,
The double blockade of Armenia, by Azerbaijan, since 1991, and Turkey, since
1993, and the status quo of relations between Armenia and Turkey left Armenia
with no choice but to shift toward Russia. Nevertheless, Armenias leaders were
well aware that an exclusive alliance with Russia would be far too risky, thus they
have always been eager to establish equal relations with all (regional) powers.72
Given these circumstances, complementarity not only claims basic
survival for small nations but also is the optimal mechanism that small nations
have to influence foreign powers in lobbying for cooperation and peace. Yet
complementarity has been possible in Armenia not only due to geopolitics but
also because both Russia and the United States have the two largest diasporan
Armenian communities (each with at least one million members). While Russias
cooperation in Armenia is likely primarily because of its desire to preserve
influence over former Soviet boundaries, writes Edmund Herzig, [t]he presence

of the Armenian diaspora, which lobbied effectively in Washington, was an
additional factor in strengthening US-Armenian ties.73
In the early fourth century, C.E., when Armenia was the buffer zone
between Rome and Persia, it was facing a foreign-policy choice it would
encounter again whether to align with the Western or Eastern hegemony of the
time. Refusing to take sides, Armenia chose a domestic method of empowering its
independence for the first time in history a Christian state emerged, as Armenia
adopted the teachings of Jesus as its official religion. Christianity, nonetheless,
did not stop invasion, as Romes successors Byzantium and Persia divided the
country into Western Armenia (which, over a thousand years later, became
Turkish Armenia) and Eastern Armenia (which, over fifteen hundred years later,
became Russian Armenia). But the Armenian identity survived by keeping its
church autonomous and fighting forced conversion first to Zoroastrianism, then to
Islam.74 A student of Armenian history may conclude that history has always been
fragile to Armenia when it has come to offering choices. Complementarity may
not be one of many choices for Armenia, but its only wise choice.
The ideal of complementarity, nevertheless, doesnt mean that Armenia
has always practiced its purported policy, especially when it comes to its relations
with Russia. In the words of Tiffany Petros:
Armenian-Russian relations have developed in stages since 1991.
Immediately following independence, Armenia began to decrease ties with
Russia. This move was an attempt to demonstrate Armenian sovereignty

and alter relations set in place with the former Soviet Union. Soon after
gaining independence, however, Armenia realized that it was not in a geo-
political position to isolate itself from the major regional power.
Therefore, beginning in 1992 the Armenian government adopted a new
policy of normalizing relations with Russia. This meant a new sense of
cooperating with Russia on economic, political and military issues.75
Russian troops patrol Armenias border with Turkey and Iran, and in
2002, the Armenian parliament voted to transfer control of five Armenian
enterprises to Russia in exchange for debt repayment.76 This agreement was
reached after September 11,2001, when Armenia strongly spoke in favor of
supporting the U.S. War on Terror. Vartan Oskanian stated /'Armenia is adjusting
its foreign policy to the dramatic global changes that have taken place since the 11
September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States when announcing
Armenias opening of its air space for US military flights.77
The transfer of strategic Armenian enterprises to Russia was in some ways
maintaining complementarity in the face of Armenian cooperation with the US.
While keeping both the US and Russia happy, however, Armenias policy of
complementarity was openly challenged by its friendly neighbor Iran:
Iranian Ambassador to Armenia Mohammad Farhad Koleini made public
remarks on September 28,2002, openly challenging Armenia's foreign
policy strategy. Koleini commented that "Armenia lacks the resources and
international clout to continue to pursue its 'complementary' foreign policy
of maintaining good relations with the West, Russia, Iran and other major
powers," (Danielyan 2002). Koleini said, "Complementarism requires both
software and hardware instruments. Armenia's software capacity is good.
But in terms of the hardware, there are problems," (Danielyan 2002).
Following the comments, Koleini turned to Oskanian and asked, "Don't

you think it would be more correct to describe [your policy] as a
multilateral dialogue, rather than use the word 'complementarism'
(Danielyan 2002). Although Armenian officials considered the remarks a
"serious break of diplomatic ethics, Oskanian responded to the Iranian
Ambassador by saying, We will not do anything in the region infringing
on the interests of neighboring countries that are strategically important to
us,(Danielyan 2002). Despite the fact that Armenia has indicated a shift
in its foreign policy, the country wishes to remain close to Iran both
politically and economically in order to balance difficult regional relations
with both Turkey and Azerbaijan.78
Iran may have overreacted to Armenian-US cooperation. In fact,
Armenian lobbies in the US have to fight to attain parity in US military aid to
Armenia and Azerbaijan; the latter is always given more in the US
administrations proposal. This discrepancy defies the US law, Section 907 of the
Freedom Support Act, which bans military aid to Azerbaijan (thanks to the
Armenian lobby) until it ends Armenias blockade. Since September 11, 2001
(and as maintained by Barack Obama), that law has been given presidential
waiver. Moreover, Russia remains Armenias sole military protector. An
interesting anecdote makes the case:
Between 1993 and 1994 Armenian-Turkish relations worsened as a result
of the Nagorno-Karabakh army defeating the Azeri army in Nagorno-
Karabakh. Turkey supported Azerbaijan in the conflict and openly
threatened Armenia by sending troops to the Armenian border. Both
Russian and U.S. officials warned Turkey against taking military action.
Marshal Shaposhnikov, the Commander-in-Chief of Russia's military
forces, warned Turkey that "any hostile military action against Armenia
could mean the beginning of the Third World War.79
Armenias military marriage with Russia is attested to in a multilateral treaty that
considers an attack on any party member as an attack on the rest. Despite this

provision, Armenia has been able to establish a partnership with NATO and even
host a 2003 military training that brought Turkish soldiers amid some protests a
clear victory of Armenias complementarity. In contrast, Armenias northern
neighbor Georgia has no cooperation with Russia, to say the least, and eastern
enemy Azerbaijan is neither militarily close to Russia nor being considered for
NATO membership. Azerbaijan is being courted by Russia, though, especially
after the 2008 Russian-Georgian war over South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Azerbaijans vast oil and natural gas resources have made it the most strategic
country in the South Caucasus (which includes Armenia, Georgia, and
Azerbaijan), and Russia doesnt want to be left out of the game, which so far
includes the Western-sponsored Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil line that exports
Azerbaijani oil via Georgia to Turkey and to Europe (bypassing Armenia).
Armenias inability to tone down the Russian-Azerbaijani relationship
demonstrates Armenias dependence on Russia and the limitations of
complementarity. In fact, I would argue that this is a case in which
complementarity fails Armenia for the short-run. In the long term, however,
complementarity is Armenias best friend.
It is impossible to understand Armenias foreign policy without discussing
the relationships (or lack of thereof) with two hostile neighbors: Turkey and

At the beginning of World War I, there were about two million Armenians in
what is today eastern Turkey. For at least 2,500 years this land had been
continuously known as Armenia. With the rise of Armenian demands for equal
treatment, the leadership of the Ottoman Empire decided to solve the Armenian
problem by eliminating the Armenian nation. On April 24,1915, Armenian
scholars, poets, and artists were rounded up and eventually killed. Immediately
following the murder of the intelligentsia, Armenian soldiers of the Ottoman army
were systematically annihilated. The remaining children, women, and elderly
were easy targets. They were rounded up and forced to march in the Syrian Desert
with bare feet and no food or drink. If they didnt die of starvation, Armenian
deportees were massacred. The most beautiful of the Armenian girls and young
women were forced into sexual slavery. The architect of the Armenian Genocide,
Turkeys Minister of the Interior Talaat Pasha, proudly proclaimed that the
Armenian problem [was] solved.
Almost a century after Ottoman Turkey annihilated its indigenous
Armenian population, the government in Ankara and the nationalist base in
Turkey continue to deny that what happened to Ottoman Armenians during and
after WWI was genocide. Thats despite the fact that the word genocide itself
was coined in 1944 partly to describe what had happened to the Armenians
decades earlier.

Todays small Armenian republic, a Native American-reservation-like
landlocked country in the eyes of its 3 million inhabitants, has been suffering
from the Turkish blockade for over a decade after gaining independence from the
Soviet Union. Modem Armenia has few natural resources and no access to the
With many Armenians in the republic striving for economic improvement,
the administration in Yerevan has been trying to establish relations with Turkey.
A series of negotiations in the past two years resulted in the signing of protocols
last year, brokered by U.S. President Barack Obamas administration and
personally negotiated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But neither Armenias
nor Turkeys parliament has ratified the protocols in the light of subsequent
Turkish demands that Armenia withdraw its forces from the Armenian-inhabited
Nagorno-Karabakh, a de jure region of the Republic of Azerbaijan, which is an
ethnolinguist ally of Turkey.
President Obamas outreach to Russia and the devastating Russian-
Georgia war over the region of Ossetia in 2008 made the South Caucasus,
including Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, a volatile region a threat to dual
US-Russia energy interests in the region. Instead of fighting for hegemonic
domination of the Caucasus, Russia and America seem to have agreed to share
their influence in order to bring stability, which means peace between Armenia
and Turkey and eventually between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenia, a major

Russian partner and a major recipient of U.S. aid, seems to have agreed to move
forward in its peace with Turkey, protested by Armenians in the Diaspora.
The perception that Armenian lobbies in the US are very powerful is
optimistic, to say the least. The current U.S. foreign policy, not very different
from former Democratic administrations, avoids using the term genocide when
it comes to the extermination of the Ottoman Armenians. The basic U.S.
argument is that Turkey is more likely to recognize the genocide through
democratization from within than through diplomatic pressure from the United
States. Needless to say, Turkey threatens to expel NATO bases from its territory
if there is an official U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide. No matter how
strong Armenian lobbies may be, Turkeys threats outweigh calls for recognition
of genocide as part of a human-rights agenda.
While todays world map includes a state named Armenia as an
independent country, the tiny ex-Soviet republic in the South Caucus was not part
of the Ottoman Empire during the Genocide. Considered a landlocked reservation
by its three million or fewer inhabitants, the Republic of Armenia is just a small
remnant of what Armenians consider their traditional homeland. Current
Armenias inhabitants distinguish western Armenia, todays eastern Turkey,
angering many Turks and a number of people in neighboring Azerbaijan, where
the official historiography says that Armenians are not only not indigenous to the
area but arrived less than two centuries ago, conquering Azeri land. To

substantiate the latter claim, Azerbaijans army reduced the largest medieval
Armenian cemetery, Djulfa, to dust in December 2005. This act of willful
vandalism was seen by some as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but others (including this author) see
vandalisms similar to Djulfa as a cause, not an effect, of the conflict. Nagorno-
Karabakh is an historically Armenian region that was assigned to Soviet
Azerbaijan by Joseph Stalin in the 1920s. As the Soviet Union was collapsing in
the late 1980s, the overwhelming majority of Karabakh residents (mostly
Armenians) voted to secede from Azerbaijan and join Armenia. The decision and
subsequent failed dialogue led to an armed conflict in which Nagorno-Karabakh
became a de facto republic (although still a de jure part of Azerbaijan) while
having conquered several Azerbaijani regions around it. The conflict hasnt been
solved yet, and while Azerbaijan is booming economically thanks to its energy
(oil and natural gas) resources, Armenia is suffering from the conflict, which has
closed its borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey.
Having no access to the rest of the world through Azerbaijan or Turkey,
Armenias open borders with Iran and Georgia are vital for its survival. While
complementarity would expect Armenia to reconcile with Turkey and Azerbaijan
(which probably will eventually happen), it requires being even more proactive in
developing relations with Russia, the US, and Iran. In a way, Armenias conflict

with Turkey and Azerbaijan is what gave birth to complementarity in that country.
And it is also complementarity that will eventually help overcome these conflicts.

Many were surprised at Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvilis August
2008 decision to attack the breakaway region of South Ossetia. A direct
provocation of Russia, the order to attack gave Moscow an opportunity to
showcase its power and, arguably, become even stronger in the region. While
Saakashvili seems to have been an original crusader for domestic democracy, later
years of his presidency showed that democratic ideas may have yielded to
undemocratic aspects of his temper and personality. Interestingly, the literature on
individual-level foreign-policy analysis pays little attention to a leaders character.
Yet Saakashvili, and his Russian rival Vladimir Putin, seemed preoccupied with
reciprocal personal attacks during much of the 2008 conflict.
A popular politician, Mikhail Saakashvili is often hailed as one of the few
truly democratic leaders in the former Soviet Union. Until recently, 4.5-million-
strong, predominantly Christian Georgia was another ex-Soviet republic with a
mostly authoritarian regime and an authoritarian president, Eduard Shevardnadze
(with the exception of his allowing independent/critical media). In early
November, 2003, opposition leader Mikhail Saakashvili and his supporters lost
the parliamentary elections, according to Shevardnadzes official accounting.
Independent and international polls, however, suggested that the opposition had,
in reality, received more votes. Thousands of Georgians protested the elections

outcome. Twenty days after the election on November 22, when President
Shevardnadze was addressing the first day of the legislative session, Saakashvili
and his supporters stormed the Parliament with roses in their hands. President
Shevardnadze escaped and later resigned after meeting with opposition leaders
Saakashvili and Zurab Zhvania. The meeting was organized by Russias Foreign
Minister, Igor Ivanov, whose mother was Georgian. This bloodless regime
change, the first of its kind in the former Soviet Union, was labeled the Rose
Revolution vardebis revolucia in Georgian.
A year after vardebis revolucia, Saakashvili was elected president at age
37 in a landslide victory that Georgians and the West celebrated as a triumph of
democracy. Mr. Saakashvili, a young politician, had received a specialized law
degree from Columbia University in New York. U.S.-educated Saakasvhilis
success made the West hopeful that the Rose Revolution would have a domino
effect, more precisely a colorful domino effect in the former Soviet Union. The
only other domino became Ukraine with its Orange revolution, where the
opposition candidate eventually won the presidency after mass protests and a
Supreme Court-ordered vote recount.
After his democratic victory in Georgia, Saakashvili tried next to score
successes in foreign policy. In general, many saw his victory as the Georgian
peoples expressed will to reduce Russian influence and, instead, cooperate with
the West. A few years into his presidency, Saakashvili had made progress. He

pushed hard to remove the Russian military base from Georgias mainly
Armenian-populated region of Javakheti. Within months of taking office,
Saakashvili accomplished an unprecedented change in the former Soviet bloc. He
regained one of Georgias three separatist regions, Ajaria, without a single bullet.
"I'm impressed by this leader, I'm impressed by his vision, [and] I'm impressed by
his courage, George W. Bush, former president of the United States, said of the
Georgian leader.
By the end of 2007, nonetheless, Saakashvili was no longer the democratic
leader the West had been talking about. In November, he used police force against
opposition activists, later declaring a state of emergency that imposed speech
restrictions on media outlets for ten days. Saakashvili regained some legitimacy,
however, by calling for emergency presidential elections, in which he was
reelected to a second and final term. To his disappointment, international
observers condemned the early parliamentary elections for state-controlled media
bias and other violations. Saakashvili had lost momentum, but still hoped to
detach Georgia from long-time Russian influence. In a search for a new national
identity, Saakashvili even changed the secular Georgian flag replacing it with a
profoundly Christian one.
It was never a secret that Saakashvili wanted greater cooperation with the
West, especially to join NATO. In one move, Georgia increased its troop presence
in Iraq from 850 to 2,000 in 2007. The following year, conflict between Georgia

and Russia escalated in a crisis that included reciprocal accusations, ranging from
alleged rebellion plots to natural resource rights violations and controversial
Russian repair of railways on territory internationally recognized as Georgian.
There were also ongoing bombings and killings in the separatist regions of
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two de facto republics that became the reason
behind the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war.
On the evening of August 7,2008, Saakashvili ordered a ground and air
raid on South Ossetia's capital, Tskhinvali. Russia reacted disproportionately, not
only forcing Georgian troops out of South Ossetia but also moving Russian forces
into proper Georgian territory. For several days, there were battles in South
Ossetia and Abkhazia. According to Amnesty Internationals findings, [SJerious
violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by
all sides. It was the French president, Nicholas Sarkozy, who, despite U.S.
president George W. Bushs suggestion not to, traveled to Moscow and brokered
a ceasefire on August 12, although skirmishes continued for several days.
The Wests initial reaction to the South Ossetian war was a condemnation
of Russia, especially after Russian troops bombarded and occupied the Georgian
city of Gori, which was not part of South Ossetia. At the height of the conflict, the
U.S. became extremely critical of Russia, and the Republican party presidential
nominee John McCain chided now-President Barack Obama during the first
debate on foreign affairs for calling also on Georgia to show restraint. At the end

of the day, nonetheless, Westerners expressed concerns about both Russian and
Georgian behavior. David Miliband, UK Secretary of State for Foreign and
Commonwealth Affairs, told the BBC, I think the Russian response was
disproportionate and wrong and that is the series of events that have landed us
where we are.... On my visit to Tbilisi of course I raised at the highest level in
Georgia the questions that have been asked and raised about war crimes and other
military actions by the Georgian authorities.
The aftermath of the war, arguably, worsened conditions in Georgia.
Russia recognized both South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, as the
United States had earlier done in the case of Kosovo. The Georgian parliament, in
turn, declared Russian troops in South Ossetia and Abkhazia to be occupying
forces. A violated ceasefire was replaced by another one.
It was not until November 2008, though, that details emerged about the
personality aspect of the war. French president Sarkozys chief diplomatic adviser
revealed details to reporters (Saakashvili later nervously confirmed his knowledge
of the fiasco)82 about the August meeting in Moscow in which the French leader
perhaps saved Georgian president Saakasvhili. Interestingly, the meeting took
place between Sarkozy and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, not between Sarkozy
and Russian president Medvedev, as it was reported at the time. During the
meeting, Sarkozy told Putin that the world would not accept Russian capture of
Georgias capital, Tbilisi, or the forced removal of President Saakashvili. Putin

reacted, I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls. When the French president
tried to clarify whether Putin had threatened to hang Saakasvhili, Putin
responded, Why not?The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein. Yes, reasoned
the French president, but do you want to end up like Bush? Putin agreed to a
ceasefire. Americas president, in an ironically unintentional way, helped save his
former favorite leader in Georgia.
Putins personality, as demonstrated during the talk with Sarkozy, may not
come as a surprise, but similarly tempered was Saakasvhili. The Georgian leader
had to have expected Russian reaction while ordering an attack against South
Ossetia. In his anti-imperialist move to fundamentally chase Russians out of
Georgia, however, Saakashvili may actually have done the opposite open doors
for more Russian influence in the South Caucasus. Saakashvili perhaps thought at
the time that by making Georgia look vulnerable, and thus making it easier to join
NATO, he was doing a favor for the United States especially if John McCain -
a hard-core anti-Iranian politician and Saakashvilis personal friend in the United
States were to gain ground and advocate for military action against the Islamic
Republic. This would be a far-fetched scenario.
It seems that two factors influenced Saakashvilis ill-advised decision to
provoke the 2008 war over South Ossetia: his desire to maintain legitimacy in
Georgia and his utmost personal distaste for Russias Putin. Given the previous
years violent protests, corruption no longer seemed a unifying force to crusade

against. But attacking South Ossetia was a dangerous gamble, especially
considering that the attack actually violated the very idealist international law that
Saakashvili claimed to adhere to. There was a Russian-Georgian ceasefire in place
over South Ossetia which Saakashvili violated by the attack.
The last possible, and perhaps the most likely, reason is Saakashvilis
character. From the very beginning, Saakahsvili demonstrated some personal
weaknesses. Caucasus expert Tom de Waal says of Saakashvilis behavior in the
war: Some say Saakashvili was too impatient, others that he simply preferred the
glamour of his rock-star treatment in some venues in Washington to the grudging
reception he received in Moscow, others that the overthrow of Russian prot6g6
Aslan Abashidze in the Black Sea region of Adzharia in May 2004 spoiled hopes
of rapprochement.83 True, leaders have personalities. Putin, for instance, may
have an even more volatile temper than Saakashvili.
Before the 2008 South Ossetian war, the Georgian president had often
insulted his Russian opponent. Physically tall, Saakasvhili didnt hide his personal
animosity toward Russias authoritarian leader and publicly referred to Putin as
Liliputin, a bullying reference to the Russian leaders short height. (Saakashvili
himself has been a target of dehumanization by opponents who call him
Sabakashvilv, sabaka means dog in Russian.) Putins vow to hang
Saakahsvili by the balls shows that both leaders have high temper a factor
often overlooked in studies of individual-level foreign policy. Yet Saakahvilis

and Putins personal hatred for each other seems to have been a major factor in
the 2008 Russian-Georgian war. While Putin, as leader of powerful Russia, has
muscle to back up his temper; Saakashvili, as president of a transitional small
country, cannot afford to give in to temper.
As the 2008 war between Russia and one of its former satellites
demonstrates, personality can be a major factor in foreign policy. Leadership as a
unit-level analysis provides venues for understanding decision-making and,
according to some scholarship, may be able to predict behavior based on knowing
a leaders psychobiography. Psychology is a compulsory element of
understanding some aspects of foreign policy. But such individual-level analysis
needs further development, especially in researching character, personal feelings
about other leaders, and temper.

The ideas behind what Vartan Oskanian calls complementarity are not new
phenomena; other states have also practiced a balanced approach to working with
opposing powers. The Non-Alignment Movement, joined by important and not-
so-important actors, also advocates for neutrality, although some officially non-
aligned states did in fact take sides during the Cold War.
Working with the forces of nature, to borrow classical realist Hans
Morgenthaus analogy, doesnt mean shifting as the wind blows. Given its
consideration of states as the most important actors and aiming to maximize
security (both economic and military), complementarity is a realist approach. Yet
it is not the same as the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) approach, which was
utilized by several states during the Cold War. NAM is, by nature, a reactive
policy which adopts a passive form of participation; it simply seeks to stay out of
a polarized world. In contrast to this reactive stance, complementarity is a
proactive policy which is not idle but active in global affairs. Instead of refusing
to take sides in a polarized situation, complementarity, in the words of Oskanian
himself, refuses to make policy based on taking sides. Secondly, as opposed to
being situational, as in the case of Post-WWII Germany, complementarity is a
long-term policy that boldly underlines the principle of being committed to
balance. The policy has consistency, sustainability, and heightened chances for

success at least in the long run. It argues not only for short-term stability, but
also for long-term security and strategic cooperation. It sees cooperation with all
poles as the best way to success, an argument closer to the liberal school of
thought. Realpolitik, in the case of Armenias complementarity, can translate to
maximizing the potential for cooperation.
Complementarity is, thus, a synergy of realist and liberal thought. While
Armenia has no better option than to cooperate with great powers such as the U.S.
and Russia, it could still choose to cooperate with only one just as in the case of
its northern neighbor Georgia, which has been seeking preferential Western
integration, including a full NATO membership, and turning its back on Russia.
But as Georgias failures in foreign policy with the 2008 Russian-Georgian war
over South Ossetia as its pinnacle demonstrate, complementarity appears to be a
safer approach.84 As I discussed earlier, Georgias lack of complementarity is
explained by its strong president, whose personality has been a major cause of
Georgias conflict with Russia. While it is national interest that drives
complementarity, the policy shares some liberal elements of cooperation.
Complementarity, thus, seems to be an atypical blend of realism and liberalism.
Moreover, it is better understood through individual-level analysis.
Employing primary and secondary sources to analyze complementarity in
both practice and theory, I have attempted to assess whether complementarity has
been employed or, at least, whether it is helpful in understanding foreign policy.

In Armenias example, I find that complementarity has been judiciously used and
that, at least, projecting the goal and image of complementarity has had some
success for Armenian foreign policy. I also find that complementarity is a synergy
of realist-liberal thought, despite its initial appearance of being part of balance of
power theory within realism. As in former times, todays Armenia although
nowadays much weaker and less important than before finds itself in a world
where choosing sides may be more dangerous. Instead, Armenias leaders have
chosen a path of creating foreign policy where they concurrently cooperate with
two great powers. The policy complementarity may come across as a rational or
even a natural one. But Armenias neighbor Georgia, under quite similar
circumstances, has chosen a path of open Western alignment, an apparent mistake
that has haunted the country with war and political instability. What if Georgia
had won the war with Russia? Such victory would have been temporary and
Moreover, if practiced globally by other states, Armenias policy of
complementarity could help foster worldwide stability. The challenges of a
predicted multipolar world should be addressed today. As the United States loses
its status as world hegemon, many countries will face the dilemma of adapting to
the new world order. By adopting complementarity foreign policy today, small
states especially those exclusively under U.S. influence can prepare
themselves for the challenges of tomorrows multipolar world. A policy of

complementarity will prepare states to accommodate new developments
throughout the world. New superpowers will constrain their use of hard power in
seeking influence. The U.S. will not lose its allies because of new powers but will
instead share authority with them. Ex-Soviet Armenias experience shows that
small states can choose not to take sides between contending powers. In effect,
Armenia is neither balancing nor bandwagoning against threats. It is showing
policy autonomy like larger states. Furthermore, complementarity may not only
prove the best policy for individual states but also for worldwide stability. If
utilized worldwide, the aggregate of the national interest of states throughout the
world global complementarity could shape a multipolar world order in which
hegemons understand and accept that weaker countries do not have to choose
sides. Complementarity, therefore, could be a mechanism of proactive balance for
small states vis-a-vis superpowers. Such a world order would seek more
negotiation, compromise, and multilateralism. In short, complementarity has
prospects for worldwide cooperation based on the national interest of states a
situation in which realism and liberalism complement each other. Reflecting on
the days when complementarity was created, Vartan Oskanian wrote after retiring
as Foreign Minister:
We rejected a return to a Cold War mentality, insisting
that it is not in anyone's interests, including those of the
big powers, to return to that era. Armenia adhered
firmly to this approach for the sake of our own future,
and to reduce global tensions. We preferred to be the

country that found ways to conflate the others'
conflicting interests, rather than exacerbate and use
them, for short-term, local gain.
Oskanians dream of complementarity may not have become completely
realized in Armenia, but it, combined with meaningful democratic reform with
transparent elections that will give Armenias government more concrete
legitimacy, remains Armenias best choice for survival. Tiny Armenias example
has international applicability as other states similar to Armenia can benefit from
adopting complementarity. If most of them do, they may help foster a global
polity wherein the United States and superpowers on the rise will have little
choice but to maximize cooperation as they transition into a multipolar world
order. Such world order could survive since complementarity is a renewable and
sustainable resource.

1 Complementarity was among six other foreign policies, according to Oskanian. [T]here were six
policies which were either new or which varied in some significant way from what had come
before: the policy of complementarity; the focus on multilateralism; a vigorous promotion of
European integration; a more inclusive approach to Armenia-Diaspora relations; a new approach
to Armenia-Turkey relations; and, most visibly, a different strategy for the resolution of the
Nagomo Karabakh conflict (Introduction in Oskanian, Vartan. Speaking to be Heard: A Decade
of Speeches. Yerevan: The Civilitas Foundation, 2008, P. 18).
2 Nemtsova, Anna. Sinful Saakahsvili or Hero? Newsweek, August 12, 2008, accessed April
21,2009 <>
3 Hermann, Margaret G. and Hagan, Joe D. International Decision Making: Leadership Matters.
Foreign Policy, 1998. P. 126
4 Hermann, Margaret G.; Preston, Thomas; Korany, Baghat; Shaw, Timothy M. Who Leads
Matters: The Effects of Powerful Individuals. International Studies Association, 2001. P. 86-87
5 Hermann, Margaret G. and Hagan, Joe D. International Decision Making: Leadership Matters.
Foreign Policy, 1998. P. 128-129.
Ibid, P. 131
7 Rosati, Jerel A. The Power of Human Cognition in the Study of World Politics. International
Studies Review, Vol. 3, No. 3 (Autumn, 2000). P. 70-72.
* Hudson, Valerie M. Foreign Policy Analysis: Classic and Contemporary Theory. Rowman &
Littlefield Publishers: Lanham, 2007. P. 47-49, 53
9 Neoclassical Realism. The State, and Foreign Policy. Edited by Steven E. Lobell, Norrin Mr.
Ripsman, and Jeffrey W. Taliaferro. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009, p. 15.
10 Morgenthau, Hans. Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace. 1948; reprint,
New York: Knopf, 1960, chaps 1,3
11 Zakaria, Fareed. Realism and Domestic Politics: A Review Essay, in Michael E. Brown, Sean
M. Lynn-Jones, and Steven E. Miller, ed., The Perils of Anarchy: Contemporary Realism and
International Security. Camrbidge: The MIT Press, 1995). PP 462-83.
12 Neoclassical Realism. P. 21
13 Neoclassical Realism. P. 32
14 Schweller, Randall L. Bandwagoning for Profit: Bringing the Revisionist State Back In.
International Security, Vol 19, no. 1 (summer 1994), pp. 72-107
15 Glaser, Charles L. Realists as Optimists: Cooperation as Self-Help. Security Studies, vol. 5, no
3 (spring 1996)
16 Chrstensen, Thomas J, Snyder, Jack. Chained Gangs and Passed Bucks: Predicting Alliance
Patterns in Mutlipolarity. International Organization 44,2 (Spring 1990), Pp. 138-168
17 Walt, Stephen M. Alliance Formation and Balance of World Power. International Security,
Vol. 9, No 4 (Spring 1985), pp 3-43
11 Waltz, Kenneth N. Theory of International Politics. Long Grove: Waveland Press, 2010 (1979).
19 Ibid, P. 69
20 Ibid, P. 72
21 Ibid, P. 73
22 Ibid, P. 98
23 Ibid, P. 118
24 Ibid, P. 128. States do not actually have any concerns. Rather, the decision makers who
represent states have concerns, and these concerns vary with the personalities of the decision
makers. For example, the first concern of Hitler probably was to maximize his and Germanys
power, whereas the first concern of Jimmy Carter was arguably to build a better worldfor which
he was widely considered naive. The tendency of IR theorists, pundits, policy makers, and

ordinary citizens to reify states, nations, systems, and the like is a dangerous tendency that
confuses systems of interaction with real thinking, scheming, aspiring people, etc.
23 Ibid, P. 132
26 Ibid, P. 168
27 Walt, Stephen M. Alliance Formation and the Balance of World Order. International Security,
Vol. 9, No. 4 (Spring, 1985), P. 4
28 Ibid, P. 6
29 Ibid, P. 15. An alternative explanation for U.S. allies fighting Hitler is that they correctly judged
that, for reasons of geography, population, natural resources, and economics, in the long run the
U.S. was the stronger powerthus they were foresightfully bandwagoning rather than balancing.
30 Ibid, P. 24
31 Ibid, P. 36
32 Ibid, P. 30
33 Schweller, Randall L. Bandwagoning for Profit: Bringing the Revisionist State Back In.
International Security, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Summer, 1994). P. 74.
34 Glaser, Charles L. Realists as Optimists: Cooperation as Self-Help. International Security,
Vol. 19, No. 3 (Winter 1994-1995), P. 52
33 Ibid, P. 60
36 Christensen, Thomas J and Snyder, Jack. Chained Gangs and Passed Bucks: Predicting
Alliance Patterns in Multipolarity. International Organization, Vol. 44, No. 2 (Spring 1990). P.
37 Ibid, P. 168
38 Mates, Leo. Nonalignment and the Great Powers. Foreign Affairs, Vol. 48, No. 3 (April
1970), P. 523
39 Ibid, P. 533-534
40 Rajan, M. S. The Future of Nonalignment. Annals of the American Academy of Political and
Social Science, Vol. 362, Nonalignment in Foreign Affairs (Nov 1965), P. 122
41 Ibid, P. 124
42 42 Keohane, Robert. Power and Governance in a Partially Globalized World. London:
Routledge, 2002. P. 45
43 Jervis, Robert. Realism, Neoliberalism, and Cooperation: Understanding the Debate.
International Security, v. 24, no. 1 (Summer 1999), P. 47
44 Ibid, P. 48
45 Ibid, P. 54
46 Haas, Peter M. Do Regimes Matter? Epistemic Communities and Mediterranean Pollution
Control. International Organization, v. 43 (1989)
47 Mark W. Zacher and Richard A. Mathew, Liberal International Relations Theory: Common
Threads, Divergent Strands, in Charles Kegley, ed., Controversies in International Relations
Theory: Realism and the Neoliberal Challenge (New York: St. Martins, 1995), P. 110
48 Ibid, P. 118
49 Ibid, P. 137
30 Ikenbeny, G. John. Liberal International Theory in the Wake of 911 and American
Unipolarity. Paper prepared for seminar on IR Theory, Unipolarity and September 11th- Five
Years On, NUPI, Oslo, Norway, 3-4 February 2006.
31 Statement by H.E. Vartan Oskanian Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia at
the 62nd Session of the UN General Assembly. New York, October 3,2007.
accessed May 11,

52 Vartan Oskanians answers to the BBC. August 27,2008.
accessed May 11,
33 Oskanian, Vartan. Beginning of the End of Armenias Complementarity Foreign Policy? The
Civilitas Foundation, February 26,2009.
accessed May 11,
34 Unless otherwise cited, all references to Vartan Oskanian are from my communication with him
on April 8,2009.
33 Introduction in Oskanian, Vartan. Speaking to be Heard, P. 18
36 Speaking to be Heard, P. 19
37 In his Speaking to be Heard, he writes I knew from my work in the diplomatic community that
Armenia would certainly be perceived differently, were it not for the extensive, visible, influential
Diaspora (P. 15).
31 Charbonneau, Louis. UN assembly tells Armenia to get out of Azerbaijan. Reuters, March 14,
2008 accessed May 11,2009.
39 Authors communication with Joseph Pennington, US chargd d'affaires in Armenia in 2008.
60 Ter-Petrosyan resigned in 1998 after what some saw as selling out Nagorno-Karabakh -
willing to make concessions to neighboring Azerbaijan over the territorial conflict of an
Armenian-populated region)
41 Hovannisian, Garin. Family of Shadows: A Century of Murder. Memory, and the Armenian
American Dream. New York: Harper Collins, 2010. P. 165.
62 For a brief discussion of the Karabakh conflict, see Kurkchiyan, Marina. The Karabakh
conflict: from Soviet past to post-Soviet uncertainty. The Armenians, ed. by E. Herzig and M.
Kurkichyan, London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005. A more intricate study is Thomas de Waals Black
Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through peace and war (New York: New York University
Press, 2003).
63 The same would have been somewhat true for Azerbaijan, although the latter is the one being
reached to by both Russia and the West due to its Caspian oil reserves. Since there is no symmetry
between Azerbaijan and Armenia in terms of natural resources, nonetheless, this paper doesnt
make parallels between the two countries.
64 Background notes: Armenia. US Department of State. Bureau of European and Eurasian
Affairs. February 2009. accessed September 10,
65 It is thought that Wilsons conflict with Republican leaders was the reason behind the rejection.
See Hovannisian, Richard. Genocide and Independence, 1914-21. The Armenians P. 107.
66 Herzig, Edmund. Politics in independent Armenia. The Armenians, P. 177.
67 Papazian, Taline. From Ter-Petrossian to Kocharian: Explaining Continuity in Armenian
Foreign Policy, 1991-2003. Demokratizatsiya, Spring2006, Vol. 14 Issue 2, P. 235-251. Vartan
Oskanian seems to disagree: Although the transfer of power in Armenia in 1998 was neither
natural nor regular, there was both continuity and dramatic change. When Robert Kocharian was
elected president, and I was appointed foreign minister, we had our work cut out for us at home
and abroad (Introduction in Oskanian, Vartan. Speaking to be Heard: A Decade of Speeches. P.
68 Vartan Oskanian lists the following foreign policy issues for Armenia: Achieving physical and
economic security for our people, striving for ever-deeper relations with neighbors near and far,
reaching a peaceful and lasting resolution of the Nagomo Karabakh conflict, normalizing relations
with Turkey, regional cooperation, European integration, as well as the global issues of

disarmament, globalization and promotion of human rights and democracy these are our
challenges still (Introduction in Oskanian, Vartan. Speaking to be Heard, P. 17). Since security is
the greatest issue, other areas are not further discussed in this paper.
69 See Hovannisian, Richard. Ibid.
70 Speech by Vartan Oskanian at the Permanent Council of the OSCE, October 8, 1998. Qtd in
Taline Papazian, p. 237.
71 Papazian, Taline, P. 237
72 Papazian, Taline. Ibid. P. 239.
73 Herzig, Edmund, Ibid. P. 171.
74 See Zekiyan, Boghos Levon. Christianity to Modernity. The Armenians.
75 Petros, Tiffany G. Evolution of Armenias Foreign Policy. Armenian International Policy
Research Group. Working Paper. January 2003. P. 4
76 Ibid. P. 5
"ibid. P. 6
78 Ibid. Pp 6-7
79 Ibid. P 8
10 The quote is the title of a 2008 Turkish book on the genocide by Taner Akcam.
81 de Waal, Thomas. Georgia and Russia, again. Open Democracy, January 30, 2009 Accessed
March 29, 2009
82 Georgias Saakashvili nervously giggles to Putins intention to hang him by the balls.
83 de Waal, Thomas. Ibid.
M Especially in light of the unprecedented military confrontation that erupted in the Caucasus in
August 2008 between Georgia and Russia, writes Oskanian, it is impossible to overestimate the
importance of a policy of complementarity in the Caucasus. This is more than a policy of balance
or evenhandedness. It is a policy of maximal inclusion and broadest collaboration. {Speaking to
be Heard,?. 19).
85 This is one of the themes in Fareed Zakarias The Post-American World book.
86 Speaking to be Heard, P. 20.

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