Why did the Armenian Lobbying Organizations Maintain Neutrality during the USA Presidential Elections?
The main Armenian lobbying organizations maintained neutrality during the USA presidential elections and did not support any candidate. Now when Donald Trump is elected as the US president, the Armenian organizations try to understand the foreign policy approaches of Trump who has little political experience and to elaborate on approaches to work with the Republican administration in the White House.

However, the victory of Trump keeps not only many countries but also the Armenian organizations in the USA in uncertainty. "The Armenian National Committee of America did not support any candidate in this elections, as in the previous ones. Now after Trump’s victory, it is difficult to predict what principles he will adopt. He started to say different things in 24 hours, so we will have to wait to see who his team members will be," Kiro Manoyan, Head of ARFD Bureau's Hay Dat and Political Affairs Office, said.  

Kiro Manoyan, Arpi Vardanyan, Regional Office Director of the Armenian Assembly of America, and Arthur Ghazinyan, Director of the Center for European Studies, participated in the discussion, entitled “Trump as the USA President: What approaches will Washington Adopt related to the Armenian Issue and the Foreign Policy?” at Media Center on November 11.

Manoyan said that time should pass in order to understand what political line Donald Trump will adopt. "He condemned Washington and named it filthy which according to him should be cleaned. But as a president, he will have to appoint more than 4000 people, 60-70 percent of whom will be from Washington. Therefore, it depends on who his counselors, the Secretary of National Security will be. Only after that, the foreign policy priorities will be apparent," Manoyan said.

Trump is a new man in the policy so expectations of him are quite little, Arpi Vardanyan said, adding that many Armenian organizations in the USA were neutral, however, the Armenian community, like other US citizens participated in the elections and voted in favor of this or that candidate.  "We just need to keep in mind that at the stage of campaign Trump’s statements are one thing and his approaches can change after becoming a president," Vardanyan said.

According to her, the Armenian community in the USA and organizations were quite active in the US Senate elections held along with the presidential elections. "As a result of the elections, people were reelected in the Senate who are friends and relatives of the Armenians and can be engaged in the Armenian issue," she said, adding that the Armenian organizations should work with all the US politicians, who can be useful for the recognition of the Armenian issue and support Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

"The problems of the American Armenians with the state’s administration are still the same. First, we should continue to work to improve the US-Armenia relations. The same should be done in the case of Armenia-Artsakh-USA. Artsakh issue should be kept constantly in the spotlight. We saw what happened in April of this year (hostilities in Karabakh conflict zone in April of this year - ed.) and also the Armenian Genocide issue should constantly be raised,'' she said, viewing the US-Armenia relations in the context of regional processes.  

“There is the problem of relations with Iran, developments in Turkey, Syria issue," Vardanyan said, adding that these issues are related to Armenia. "Armenia is small but is an important part of the world, and it should be made clear to everyone in order they focus more on this region," the speaker said.

Trump's unpredictability as a person affected also the prospects of the US foreign policy. Anyway, this perception is dominant in the global media and in many experts’ statements. 

“He is new to the whole world and unpredictable. It is hard to say what will happen during these four years. It is premature to expect that there will be significant changes in the policy with Russia but some positive dynamics can be anticipated. However, major changes should not be expected, since Donald Trump has to prove that he will be a good president for the United States not only within its borders but also outside of the USA,” Arthur Ghazinyan said.

Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to arshaluismghdesyan@pjc.am.

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