Arthur G Martirosyan - The Game of Alternatives | Is Armenia Negotiating Effectively | Ep 282, Oct 3, 2023 [EP282]

Posted on Wednesday, Oct 4, 2023 | Category: Armenia, Politics, Negotiations | Series: cog



  • The Game of Alternatives
  • How does it apply to Negotiations?
  • Is Armenia Negotiating Effectively?

Episode 281 | Recorded: October 1, 2023

Show Notes


Today, October 3, 2023, the Civil Contract controlled Armenian National Assembly ratified the Rome Statute, the treaty that is the foundation for the International Criminal Court (ICC). This move is just one in a series of curious recent moves by the Armenian government that has angered Russia, considered a strategic ally to Armenia - perhaps for not too long after this.

We have regularly covered the attempts by the Pashinyan regime to change the strategic foreign policy vector of Armenia, from one of a Russian satellite towards a Western-oriented one in a time when Russia is engaged in an existential war with the US and the West.

Today, we’d like to discuss with the calculations that Armenia’s authorities are relying upon in their provocatively aggressive, some would say “suicidal”, positioning.

The Game of Alternatives

Arthur, in your previous interviews with us and other media, you frequently refer to the concept of the ‘alternative game’.


  • Can you describe in more detail what you mean by this and how it applies to decision making processes?

Pashinyan claims that Russia has betrayed Armenia multiple times, citing the “inability or unwillingness” of Russia to intervene during previous cases of Azerbaijani attacks on Armenia proper. Pashinyan has furthermore criticized Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh whom he blames for allowing Azerbaijan to encroach upon Armenian-held lands, culminating in the ethnic cleansing of Artsakh in a matter of weeks. Pashinyan claimed that these incidents led Armenia towards the path of seeking alternative security guarantors, and claims that it was also why Armenia ratified the Rome Statute, just today as a matter of fact.


  • How would you apply the “alternatives game” process behind those decisions?
  • Can you look at this problem from Aliyev’s perspective and rationalize why he feels he can act as belligerently as he does, and that the risk is low for anyone to react meaningfully to him.
  • Why is Azerbaijan constantly able to engage in military brinkmanship and act aggressively, frequently successfully?

In our view Pashinyan is making a large number of wrong choices for Armenia. Of course he’s the one who has access to the most amount of information based on which he makes his choices. You, and I, and Hovik, do not have access to a lot of national security information that he does.

Let’s assume that Pashinyan is a rational actor, and he’s making rational choices.


  • What would be the premises from which he’s making his decisions for them to be rational, in the sense that we consider them as protecting Armenian national interests?
  • What promises would have been made to him to form a basis for relying on the US and the EU, as a security alternative to Russia, for Armenia?


All right, that’s our show, we hope you found it useful. Please find us on Social Media and follow us everywhere you get your Armenian news, the links are in the show notes. Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts. We’ll talk to you soon!


Arthur G. Martirosyan

Arthur G. Martirosyan

Arthur G. Martirosyan, who is a Senior Consultant with CM Partners. In 1994, after graduating from Yale University, he joined Conflict Management Group and Harvard Negotiation Project, and has since worked on conflicts in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa, and Latin America.


Asbed Bedrossian

Asbed Bedrossian

Asbed is founder of the Armenian News Network Groong and co-founder of the ANN/Groong podcast.

Hovik Manucharyan

Hovik Manucharyan

Hovik Manucharyan is an information security engineer who moved from Seattle to Armenia in 2022. He co-founded the ANN/Groong podcast in 2020 and has been a contributor to Groong News since the late 1990s.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by Hovik Manucharyan on the ANN/Groong podcast are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of his employer or any other organization.

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