The Morning Star editorial of Monday 5 October was entitled “Nagorno-Karabakh: a complex conflict that must be seen in context”. In fact the editorial gave little factual information and no political steer whatsoever on the dispute.
After an initial, inconclusive, section on Nagorno-Karabakh, the rest of the editorial was a rambling discourse on internationalism in general, often virtually indecipherable.
However, I suspect that the following gives a significant clue as to the true meaning of the editorial:
“ There is a certain narrative on the liberal left that sees each of the present-day regional conflicts that stud the perimeter of the Euro-Asian landmass as essentially discrete.
“ Thus we are asked to see the Ukrainian situation which has put the heirs of Nazi collaborators in power as a question of democracy.
“ We are asked to understand what is happening in Belarus as question of electoral fraud and as a special concession to the left, trade union freedoms.
“ Hong Kong’s troubles are presented again as a question of democracy, with the former colonial power which ruled for decades without the pretence of democracy the favoured arbiter.”
Leaving aside the Morning Star’s oft-repeated (and slanderous) claim that the uprising in the Ukraine was the work of “the heirs of Nazi collaborators”, this seems to be saying that democracy and freedom (even the freedom of workers to organise) is of secondary importance when set alongside the need to choose the “correct” side in the “East-West axis in which China is the most active force but which is rapidly creating new economic and political realities that challenge the Atlanticist pretensions of the US and its European allies”. And in choosing sides, we should discard “simplistic pictures which posit an abstract moral framework for understanding any of these conflicts”.
Behind the jargon and gobbledegook, the message is actually quite clear: such concepts as democracy, freedom and human rights must be discarded: all that matters is to take the right side — the side of (in the words of the editorial) “China and Russia and... their emerging economic ties with other states like Pakistan and Iran.”
Presumably, it’s because the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict doesn’t fit neatly into this “campist” view of the world that the Morning Star avoids taking a clear position, despite an editorial line that is hostile to Turkish imperialism.
Other factors that have been suggested are:
1) They don’t want to criticise the USSR’s nationalities policy, which made such a mess of the region
2) Don’t want to implicitly praise Gorbachev, who did organise armed interventions to stop Azerbaijani pogroms against Armenians in the late 1980s (Baku raised a statue to the pogromists killed by Soviet troops)
3) Are sensitive to Moscow’s contemporary attitude to the war, which is basically: “please put this back in the box, both of you go back to the status quo from last month... and also keep spending tons of cash on Russian weapons”.
A letter to the Morning Star (which, to their credit, they published) made a further point that the editorial completely ignored:
“The problem in Nagorno-Karabakh is quite simply that ethnic Armenians are absolutely terrified of being a minority in a Turkic state. This attitude is due above all to the attempted genocide of Armenians by the Turkish state a century ago, which has never been recognised as such by the modern Turkish state or its allies such as Azerbaijan.”