A typical mistake of contemporary geopolitical analyses is the excessive identification of British and American policies. It is true that the United Kingdom remains the United States’ closest ally, especially on European issues. It is sometimes even called “The US’ Island Aircraft Carrier off the shores of Europe“. In fact, however, the imperial interests of both states do not always coincide, and the economic goals of City and Wall Street are more than often contradictory. This is why, among others, London can afford a large dose of independence on Caucasian issues and still does not to succumb to the pressure of the Armenian world lobby, which led, among others, to Joe Biden’s scandalous decision on the alleged “Armenian Genocide”. Unfortunately, however, this does not mean that Armenian soft power is not making progress in the UK as well, agitating aggressively against both Azerbaijan and Turkey. It happens especially within the circles of the Labour Party and the liberal-pro-European opposition, but it is also gaining footholds even among so far realistic Tories.
Armenian French vs Azeri Brits?
Britain has all the data to be pragmatic about the Transcaucasus conflict. Not only does the UK remain the largest foreign investor in Azerbaijan, but also London cannot so easily reject the clear division made more than 100 years ago: the Western entity active in the Transcaucasus in cooperation with Yerevan-France remains, heavily infiltrated by Armenian soft power, capitals and intelligence. Since the British made the strategic mistake of supporting the Armenians before and during the Battle of Baku in 1918, resulting in the terrible Armenian massacre of the Azerbaijani population under the cover of British cannons, UK politics has learned a harsh lesson. London will never be as submissive to the Armenians as Paris, so it will always remain a partner of further choice for Yerevan. Meanwhile, especially outside the European Union and in view of the significant reduction of geopolitical partners, Great Britain needs Azerbaijan much more than Azerbaijan needs the UK.
Geopolitical Failures Of London
Boris Johnson’s Government has stable support, as evidenced by the recent local elections. However, it has a clear hunger for success, especially in international cooperation. One of the arguments that tipped the scales during the BREXIT Referendum campaign was the assurance that outside the European Union, Britain would build a wide bloc of favourable geopolitical and geoeconomic agreements, primarily with the US, but also with former colonies (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India), as well as with independent, strong regional powers such as Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, reality has questioned these promises. Boris Johnson’s Cabinet clearly counted on Donald Trump’s re-election, while the Joe Biden administration is oriented rather towards the normalization of relations with the European Union. However, the conditions for privileging the British in trade relations, set by the previous president, are still in force with the privatization of the British state health service and the NHS being in the hands of the American on the first place. In turn, Australia and New Zealand gave a hard veto on London’s proposals regarding the mutual opening of the labour market. Difficult negotiations with Canberra cost B. Johnson the necessity to agree to the opening of UK borders to Australian food. And this, in turn, is a blow to those British (and especially Scottish) farmers supporting him so far who had not demanded a customs border with Europe only to have it open for genetically modified beef from Australia or America. The negotiations with India were also only partially successful. The UK Government, which came to power under the slogan of restricting immigration, had to agree to huge immigration limits from India, allowing local graduates to bypass barriers protecting the British labour market against newcomers, e.g. from Europe. No wonder that, by a strange coincidence, the agreement with India is accompanied by warnings in the British opposition media against the Indian mutation of the coronavirus…
Baku Dictates The Terms
So, both the visit of the British Minister of Export Graham Stuart to Baku and the declarations of Ambassador James Sharp should be seen in the context of what are perhaps not failures, but certainly very… expensive achievements of the UK Government. In the present situation, it is not Baku that needs London, it is London that desperately needs to demonstrate its international efficiency, pointing to its mutually beneficial economic relations, especially in the field of energy with Azerbaijani partners. For Azerbaijan, this is also an opportunity to raise the issue of anti-Azeri propaganda spread in the UK, especially by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Armenia in the British Parliament, headed by the Tory MP Tim Loughton. If the British really want to do business in Azerbaijan and be able to boast about their results, they should present themselves as an honest and loyal partner in all fields, including historical truth and propaganda. B. Johnson, as a pragmatist, should understand this very well, especially while his political idols Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill have always recognized Azerbaijan as the most important entity in the entire Caucasian and Caspian region. And today, in this area, it is Baku that dictates the conditions, also to the British.
By Konrad Rękas Via