Treat Karabakh Like a Free Country, Says NYT Op-Ed

The New York Times Company

In an op-ed published, entitled “Phantom Menace” in the New York Times Tuesday, authors Daniel L. Bynam and Charles King, both professors at Georgetown University, present a formula for a solution to what they call “phantom states”—among them Nagorno-Karabakh—which have sprung up as a result of ethnic conflict.

“Phantom countries frequently emerge from wars, and are sustained by the threat of further fighting,” explain the authors who argue that these states also stoke war.

“By insisting on territorial integrity, the United States and other countries forgo the chance to turn phantom states into responsible players,” the authors say, offering a solution that calls for engaging them politically and economically and encourage democracy-building mechanisms.

They offer China’s and the US’ treatment of Taiwan as an example and essentially propose to treat these states as free countries.

Read the entire New York Times op-ed piece.


Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.


  1. Hayq said:

    I thought that was the scenario already. Karabagh just needs to last as long as Azeri oil does, around 2020. Once Azerbaijan’s GDP pops to a modest 20billion (equal to about Armenia’s by that time), we will see an Azerbaijan that can no longer bring up war. Teeth pulled straight out of their mouth.

    • gary S. said:

      You are right. Once the oil runs out, it will be quite poor and won’t be able to do anything. Also, in 1 generation, Azeris will forget about it.

    • Elchin said:

      Hahaha look how pathetic people you guys are, Azerbaijan’s natural gas to finish arround 2050s lets see what happens to the people live for $1.5 per day in Shirak region of Armenia :) Check out you will see how miserable lifestyle you hayastanis have.worse than Somalia

  2. Suleymanoglu said:

    Treat NYT as toilet paper is what I said, I believe back in 1992.

    • Elena said:

      A better Enlgish would be better for you and your national reputation since you are one of those few turks around here
      NYT was and is no useless newspaper however the real change is in our hands I mean Armenians.

      • Suleymanoglu said:

        @ Dear Lenochka, next time you refer to Turks I suggest using capitals. Act like a lady if u wanna be treated as one.
        And about me being one of those few Turks over there. Although I didn’t quite understand what u mean by that, I assume you were talking about US. But it doesn’t matter much, cuz I’m from Baku. And I’m proud to say that I’m one those 2.5 million Turks around here :))

      • Ahmed said:


        NYT may not be a useless newspaper, however, it definitely has a few useless writers.

        • Elena said:

          Your saying is useless IF you don’t name those writers whom YOU call useless
          SO name those writers PLEASE

    • Armanen said:

      You have a good point there mr. oglu, I say add he turkish and especially azeri media outlets to the toilet roll as well. :)

      • Satenik said:

        That’s a type of roll that Aliyef needs once the oil runs out and when he can no longer suppress the opposition in his country.As for NYT ,this is one of the articles that they have come out with for sometime.

        • Suleymanoglu said:

          @ Armanen, leave Azerbaijani and Turkish media out of this. U don’t wanna get me started about Hraparak – R.Kocharyan case.
          And for your information, back in 1992 I was 6 :)

          • Armanen said:

            So it seems like you are still developing. And turkish/azeri media are the worst of the lot, right up there with N. Korea.

          • joe said:

            tukish azeri and turkish propaganda “media out of this” where in your turkish dreams again?

        • manooshag said:

          Yes, NYTimes, having finally admitted that they had published all the news duirng the years of the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation… and (several years ago) would hence forth be forthcoming of the fledgling Armenian nation, and more, has been a bit reticent and behaving as is an Israel – still trying to decide whether or not the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation occurred – just one generation before the Jewish genocide.

    • Pongo said:

      Turkish would better retreat from Northern Cyprus, admit the Armenian Genocide, admit their history being built on the blood of other people, and be more modest in their pretences.

      PS.: by the way, Turkish are not Europeans, and will never be, even if one day some group of corrupted politicians well paid by International Islamic Conference will let Turkey in EU.

      • Suleymanoglu said:

        @ Pongo, EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs EU. Lets take a look. On one side, a country of 74 million where 60% of population is under the age of 30. A country with Europe’s largest and NATO’s second largest army. Already world’s 16 largest economy and still enjoying a double digit growth year after year (definitely top 10 by 2023)
        On the other side, a Union of debt driven countries. Bailed out states from East to West. Greece, Ireland, Portugal, u name it. In the middle, the mighty Germany and German taxpayers, fed up with all these bailiouts and loans coming from the South. Then there’s another heavyweight, France, with economically shrinking Italy as it’s neighbor who owes French Banks alone 400 billion euros. Speaking about Italy, did u know that Italy’s total debt exceeds that of Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Greece combined? And did u know that unemployment in Spain (Eurozone’s 4th largest economy) is at 21% ??? These problems don’t get solved overnight. It will take at least a decade before things start looking positive in EU.

        I’m not a citizen of Turkey. But in my opinion Turkey doesn’t need to join EU. We rule an area from Istanbul to western China. Just open up a map and u’ll know what I’m talking about.

      • Sean Yilmaz said:

        Modest, if we were modest, our country would be divided and all Muslims in Anatolia would be killed. Second, the EU is going to fall anyways because of the fact they are trying to enslave a group of countries via one-world government. The EU is like a capitalist USSR. Isolating Turkey from the EU is actually making Turkey stronger. Because as countries joined the EU, their economies stopped growing. So forget EU. Also, tell Turkey to get out of North Cyprus? And what, to see T/C’s get killed for a pure Greek Cyprus. Turkey has a right to stay there to protect their T/C brothers, period you haters!

  3. said:

    Artsakh is not a phantom! It is a fine functioning democratic state much better then many UN recognized phantoms like Kosova and Somalia. Who cares about this oil-greased recognition process anymore – the world had changed.

  4. the truth said:

    all what Karabagh needs is simple an Armenian president , who set the red line for the racist ‎officials in Baku and recognize NKR in current borders – This step would help paranoid ‎Azerbaijan society to accept some facts on the ground more easily – and what Karabagh ‎else need is a couple F16 and Mig29 fighters “to guard the Baku,Tibilis.Ceyhan” and maybe ‎nabucco pipeline too…and finally as well to show politicians in Baku there place , if needed

    • Elchin said:

      What happens if Azeris hit your nuclear plants near Yerevan and turn your already starving population into ghosts?

      • The truth said:

        Well, People who do post such comments and do issue threats against nuclear plant – are able ‎of any crime! I wore just to protect the pipeline and do not harm it! Simple because I do ‎believe authorities in Baku and ´some circles in Ankara could organize purposely sabotage ‎accts against the pipeline in order to have an excuse to start a new aggression against peace ‎loving people of Karbakh and Armeian- you misunderstood my comments and started to issue ‎threats- make peace and not war

        Form some criminals and fascists in Baku and Ankara one can never be sure …but any way… ‎There are difference between a pipeline and nuclear plant. If criminal officials in Baku are ‎thinking of blowing up a nuclear plants or planning to bring down civilian airlines, this is ‎really high time for western countries to get ride of such irresponsible politicians in Baku ‎and there supports in Ankara! Beside this authorities in NKR have never issued threats to do ‎harm to Azerbaijan except in case of a new aggressor!‎

        Keep in mid this “Azerbaijani Republic” and its regime can not survive even one day without ‎the support of Turkey! ‎

      • Elena said:

        It clearly shows that your nation is far from any humanity and spiritual values
        BUT you have to laugh at your silly writing up there

      • joe said:

        that will be the end of thr slimes, Armenians Lezgin Talish Udins and tats will put an final end end to the turkish microbes. LOL

      • Elena said:

        Let’s quit your sick dreams, I’m so much sorry for you and people like you who sit behind their computers and write such things
        this will surely show how uncivilized and muslemist people you are

        • Elchin said:

          Lol you see if your own house made from glass do not throw stones towards someone else’s house, got it?But you know danger of the leaked radiation, right? Once it happens in few days thousands of thousand will die because of poision from the plants and significant part of Armenia will be useles to live in..

  5. zareh said:

    for one, Artsakh is more democratic than Azerbaijan, and democracies have a greater chance of survival and prosperity in the long run than autocracies. Azerbaijan will eventually disintegrate into its ethnic parts.
    Always remember peak oil in Azerbaijan is 2012.
    Ilham, store your gold and money in Monaco because that’s where you will end up IF you are lucky.

    • Hayq said:

      Actually, some argue that Azerbaijan already hit it in 2011. The slow GDP growth of 3.5% this year and a decrease in oil export was reported. Plus, Aliyev family owns several mansions in Dubai…so that is where they will be.. lol.

  6. Paul said:

    Even Armenia does not treat Karabagh like a free country.
    Armenia does not recognize Karabagh as an independent state.
    Armenia won’t even insist that Karabagh be a direct party to the negotiations.
    Whose fault is that?

    • Gregory said:

      If Armenia recognises NK that might give an international impression that Armenia has an expansionist policy. Europe may then set sanctions against Armenia and divert the negotiation process in favour of Azerbaijan. This is very frustrating for the people of NK but it is one of the best strategies available.

    • Suleymanoglu said:

      Do u even have the slightest idea what you are talking about? Armenia recognizing Karabagh means an end to the negotiations. And u do know what that means don’t u?
      And no. Karabagh can never be a party to the negotiations. The reason is simple. There are 20 thousand Yerevan-born troops inside Karabagh right now. Wait wait, there was a name for that. I forgot. Oh that’s right. OCCUPATION!

      • said:

        Look at Tripoli – Sultan Ilham Heidar-baba Alieyv is next! His son Heydar Jr Ilham-baba Alyeiv-ogly is not going to be a president ever! If they want to save their mansions in UAE they should depart immediately!!

      • Elena said:

        You’d better quit writing on this website because you embarrase not only yourself but also your nation. There are lot of misstatements and misleading information in your comments. This is not azeri or turkish parliament, this is a serious website for serious people. Get serious or never visit again

      • John said:

        Wait wait, there was a name for that. for Nakhijevan, I forgot. Oh that’s right. OCCUPATION!

    • Hayq said:

      That is one of the smartest thing Armenia has done, politically speaking. Armenia does no look like an invader but merely a supporter of Karabagh.

  7. Avery said:

    NYT is a Neocon propaganda organ used by the Imperialist Neocons to plant various memes in the minds of their targets. The idea being the old divide and conquer.

    They definitely have an ulterior motive in publishing this piece, but I haven’t exactly figured out what it is. Most likely, they have reached the conclusion that the blockade orchestrated by the Neocon West (via their agents Azerbaijan and Turkey), has failed to break either Armenia or Artsakh. Both countries have figured out ways to circumvent the Neocon suffocation efforts, and are getting stronger: slowly, but steadily.

    So, in order not to ‘lose everything’ (in their worldview of things), they’ll throw the ‘recognition’ bone to Artsakh, and then demand they surrender the liberated lands in exchange. After Artsakh has lost her strategic buffer, Neocons will use some convenient world crisis – which they’ll manufacture – to let loose the dogs of war on Artsakh. Or, they’ll just suffocate her. With only a narrow Lachin road connecting her to Armenia, it will not be hard. Without Artsakh, Armenia will be next to wither and die.

    Being internationally recognized means zilch: it has never secured a country from being invaded and taken over. Never will. A piece of paper never stops someone with a gun.

    BTW: having university professors present the meme is the oldest trick in the book; it gives the evil deed a cloak of respectability.

    • Suleymanoglu said:

      @ Long time no see Avery. Remember me? I used to comment under the name “Azerbaijan4ever”. I’m back in Baku now.
      U got a good point about NYT being a propaganda tool. But I don’t agree with the rest of your post.

    • immortal Souls of western Armenia risen said:

      you are a very good 100% er I would say!!

  8. Jamil said:

    This NYT piece is a pie-in-the-sky kind of silly and flawed analysis. According to this logic, any territory that decleares its independence (for right or wrong reasons) should be allowed to cede. With this logic, the entire world order would be in disarray. What is, for example, to stop from a bunch of Texas towns with majority Mexican population demanding independence? Should they too automatically be granted independence so as to avoid the kind of issue this NYT points out about lawless lands like Karabak etc? Again, this would create utter chaos.

  9. bayrakiniyakan said:

    we Armenians waiting to see how you will solve the conflict of northern Cyprus ,,
    second ,we Armenians dont have your same problems because Turks cant understand the difference between
    occupation and liberation , no one would allow Azerbaijan to rule LIBERATED ARTSAKH !!
    the only thing azeriz can do is try to solve it with war but Azerbajian is a loooooooooser and always be looser ,,with Turkey or with any body else will be one more time a looser ,, HaydarATA said ( YA KARABAQ YA OLUM = DEATH OR KARABAGH ) WE ARMENIANS TELLING YOU NOW YOU WILL RECEIVE ONLY DEATH !!! the choice is up to you Azerbaijan .

      • Elena said:

        you know that Armenian genocide happend right !!!
        I try to avoid racism but this time I can’t, you are indeed the sick man of not only Europe but also the whole world, you are far away from humanity, the whole world is changing toward humanism but you are still the old dirty butchers
        I came across a lot of different people from different countries in my life who were just cursing you I was wondering how come they know what happend and what’s happening but Armenian Genocide issue is still on the table
        I realized that this is because of turkey’s geographic situation on the map that temporarly allow that nation to do what ever it wants
        but dear writer things will change, we are getting stronger and of course you don’t know about it because nobody told you

      • bayrakiniyakan said:

        you call genocide slap ??? any way just attempt to do that !!!
        WE ARE NOT 1915 ARMENIANS !!!!
        Torgut essek oglu Ozal made that mistake by sending 50,000
        Turkish soldiers to the border of Armenia after Armenians liberated KARVAJAR ,Russia announced one step forward WW III will ignite !!

  10. Suren said:

    someone can tell me please what the criterias for recognizing a de facto independent country as Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) is? I mean many more countries can’t be put in the same scale as Artsakh because it’s far more organized and far more functional country than lot’s of internationally recognized ones. If you compare Azerbaijan and Artsakh you’ll see a huge difference in terms of democracy and many more values implemented by western society. So why Artsakh can’t be recognized and oil-bread country like Azerbaijan can?

    • Avery said:

      Suren: being recognized means zilch for Artsakh. There are lots of advantages to being non-recognized. If Artsakh gets recognized, and become member of UN for example, they will have to start abiding by a whole bunch of agreements that will be detrimental to Artsakh at this stage.

      For example, Armenia is signatory to various European agreements. There are advantages, but also disadvantages. For example, JWs have free rein in RoA because of various agreements RoA has with international bodies. Artsakh is not signatory to anything, so they don’t have to allow JWs to come in to Artsakh. Imagine the damage they could cause if they were allowed to operate completely freely as they are in RoA. There are lots and lots of similar situations.

      So both govs of RoA and Artsakh are very wise not to go there. Recognition will bring lots of headache, with little or no benefit. Aggressor counties invade and occupy recognized countries all the time. Recognition does not imply security.

      Taiwan is not recognized by any major country. It is not recognized by UN. Yet Taiwan is trading with practically the whole world, and Taiwanese are very prosperous. They have a tough military. People from all over the world travel there for business and vacation. We want to duplicate that in Artsakh.

    • immortal Souls of western Armenia risen said:

      it is all about the oil, they know it west east the Turks all know it … and something will work out for us… just dealing with primitives is not easy that’s been our problem … but we are natural leaders …. so… we will solve this too…

    • Hayq said:

      If you are trying to destroy a country (like Yugoslavia) it is ok to recognize the independent territories as countries. When you are trying to extra oil or any other important minerals, recognizing territories as countries is important. If your people want independence to live freely in a democratic state and push out their oppressive leaders who are exporting massive amounts of oil, you have absolutely NO CHANCE of independence. Wait until 2019…the only thing they will be exporting is gas which is like a fraction of what crude oil costs.

  11. Gabe Korajian said:

    Karabakh is a free and independent country based on the aspiration of its people for statehood. What makes Karabakh different from the phantom governments that are run by corrupt warlords who promote total disorder…. is that… Karabakh is a highly functional country with strong democratic institution, a vibrant civil society and a population that adheres to basic human decency. I wish Azerbejan, one of the most corrupt countries on this globe that is run by a dictatorial clan, takes a few lessons in governance from Artsakh. In general, the article in the NY Times was well written. What is left to be done now is recognising Artsakh as a free and independent country by the international communities!

  12. Raffi said:

    Azerbaijan is a very artificial country anyway, created by Turks, communists and International Zionism, on territories belonging to Armenians, Persians, & some ethnic groups. So, why should Azerbaijan be recognized as independant, and not Artsakh?? It is illogical, or rather, it is only imperialistic logic.

  13. Hasanov said:

    How long can azerbaijan muffle its journalists, how many more have to be imprisoned for the world to notice. Shame on the world community to allow this to happen.

  14. hi said:

    When will artsakh{negorno karabagh) recieve 20% of the oil profit that is going to turkey?

  15. Krikor said:

    Don’t you know that the independence is a divine right. Be realistic, You think that a free Artsakh that gained its independence from the Azeri oppression will ever accept a new slavery and national anihilation from Arzeris.
    You make me laugh!!!
    Why dont’t you talk about Turkye’s accupation of Northern Cyprus???

  16. Krikor said:

    Why don’t you talk about Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus???

  17. AryanArmenia said:

    I just returned from a trip to Artsakh and for all those who have not travelled there yet, I can tell you that it is more civilized and European than most countries in the E.U. Make no mistake, the people of Artsakh will not for one minute let their control fall under Baku…We should not cede one millimeter of land….Not from Artsakh and not from the so called “buffer zone” thats Armenian land anyway….ALL ARMENIANS HAVE TO TAKE UP ARMS WHEN THE TIME COMES….MAKE NO MISTAKE!!!!