On my first excursion (a.k.a. field trip) with Birthright Armenia, we started talking about Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan.* One of the more vocal participants pointed out how Azerbaijan wasn’t a state, “wasn’t anything,” before 1921 (I may be wrong on the year). The similarity of the argument (de-legitimizing a people) with what some Israelis say about Palestinians is scary.
This idea requires a much longer post (shoot, it needs books) but that will have to wait until I know more.
*The very brief history: Armenia and Azerbaijan fought over the area that is now Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenian troops (with Russian help) achieved military victory over the region which has now declared itself an independent state. Azerbaijan doesn’t recognize the new state (ditto with every other state in the world) and calls it an illegal occupation of its territory. There is currently a ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan but ceasefire violations happen regularly. Places that Don’t Exist did a good episode on Nagorno-Karabakh with perspectives from both sides of the buffer zone.