Trump’s Nobel Peace Prize
History will judge whether former President Obama deserved the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded shortly after being elected the 44th president of the United States. President Trump has the historic opportunity to truly earn this prestigious award by using his self-proclaimed mastery of deal-making to resolve one of the world’s intractable conflicts of the former Soviet Union; namely, the “frozen conflict” between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
In 1991, full-scale war broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan and despite a cease-fire in 1994, border skirmishes and fighting has continued. Over one million people have been displaced as a result of the conflict and today close to 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory is occupied by Armenian forces. Equally important for Mr. Trump and his national security team, resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be a clear indication as to whether Vladimir Putin wants to be a partner of the United States on the world stage to resolve conflicts or he prefers to manipulate global flash points for Moscow’s strategic gain. Mr. Putin holds the key to resolution of this conflict because of the enormous leverage Russia holds over Armenia. Moscow considers Armenia as its own aircraft carrier in the increasingly strategic and energy-rich Caspian Sea region. By insisting on an immediate peace treaty between America’s trusted partner Azerbaijan and Moscow’s ally Armenia, President Trump can find out very soon whether Mr. Putin is a peacemaker or not.
The United States, along with Russia and France, is the co-chair of the Minsk Group tasked with resolving this conflict. Sadly, Washington has been too busy with distractions in the Middle East to take a lead role in establishing a lasting peace between Yerevan and Baku. And yet, both Armenia and Azerbaijan deserve a permanent peace. Mr. Trump can deliver this dream of a new beginning to the people of Armenia and Azerbaijan by leading a robust diplomatic initiative resulting in a permanent solution that is fair to both sides. Mr. Trump’s success would signal to the world that America is back in the business of policing the world to maintain global stability.
Mr. Trump would also be sending a loud and clear message to the world’s bad actors that the U.S. stands by its allies like Azerbaijan and will not tolerate meddling to destabilize this reliable American ally. It is important to note that within the broader Middle East, Mr. Trump will not find a more reliable and trusted partner than Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev. In fact, during his recent visit to Baku, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu singled out Azerbaijan as one of the very few Muslim countries in the world that deserves Washington’s immediate and unequivocal attention.