Azerbaijan International

Winter 2000 (8.4)
Page 56


Who Governs America?

I'm always surprised when our nation complains about the United States and 907. What is 907 to us - $50-$60 million of aid? Even our poor small budget is 20 times greater. So what is 907 to us? Our budget simply depends on whether the price of oil is higher or lower. But of course, from the moral point of view, if 907 were lifted, it would demonstrate the close relations between us and America.

"Sometimes we get offended: why are we so open to America? Why do we support American ideals, especially given the fact that we have to live between two major countries - Russia and Iran - who have complicated relations with America? They are ready to punish anyone for bringing America here. Instead of being treated with reciprocity by America, we only hear the lame excuse: 'Sorry, but we have a strong Armenian lobby.'

"We cannot understand who governs America. Who is managing America? I'm not sure that small lobbies belonging to small minorities can shape the foreign policy of this great country. I'm a fairly educated man, and to me this is incomprehensible.

"Technically, yes, you can explain it. But it's impossible for me to believe that America is managed by the Armenian lobby. When America needs to, they can easily turn their backs on this lobby. America had a huge Japanese lobby, too. But in 1942, all of the American Japanese were rounded up and put into concentration camps. Of course, I'm not saying to round up all the Armenians and put them in concentration camps. What I'm saying is: America shouldn't help us just because we need their help. They should take care of their own self interests.

"We want to be part of Western society. We want to be part of the democratic open society. After the collapse of the USSR, Azerbaijan was the country that could have most easily been transformed into a standard Western country. Now it's getting more and more difficult because of the greater disappointment by increasing numbers of people in connection to 907, and the lack of readiness on the part of the West, first of all the United States, to support our transition."

Husein Baghirov
Azerbaijan Minister of Trade

Azerbaijan International (8.4) Winter 2000.
© Azerbaijan International 2000. All rights reserved.

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