ALMATY, Apr 15
(THE GLOBE. Text taken from the author's speech on the program Zheti Kun)
�The U.S.A. realises they have no firm strategy in the region. The lack of published plans on the withdrawal of their diplomatic presence from Central Asia, the U.S.A. does not pay Central Asia even a shadow of the attention which the country pays to other regions,� a recognised US researching centre announced in March.
�The West's departure makes geographically distant, economically decaying and politically corrupted Central Asian states increasingly open to Russian influence,� the same source stated.
Why is the U.S.A. leaving the region?
What are the US new interests in the region? What will the U.S.A. do here, or, to be more accurate, with what will the U.S.A. content itself now?
Finally, what does �open to Russian influence� mean?
Let's start with the first: WHY? Why is the U.S.A. leaving the region?
Here is my opinion based on discussions with experts, and obviously on publications of different authors in my newspaper THE GLOBE, and finally on information from Internet.
Striving for political domination in the region (as in the entire one-pole world), the U.S.A. simultaneously tried to:
- Gain control of the available resources, first of all oil resources in the region. It was a natural desire of a powerful state.
- But this status as a super-powerful world force, the status and condition of the only pole of the world order requires (in decreasing order of US interests):
1. Cutting Iran off from the region;
2. Restricting Russia's influence;
3. Creating a window for Central Asia (someone would say a small window to Europe via the Caucasus and Turkey) with the help of gas and oil pipelines via the Caspian seabed, missing Russia, and moreover, Iran. To turn Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan into �Baku-Ceykhan koloboks� (round loafs).
Yet, alas, the White House found itself to be without allies:
- Western Europe is evidently dissatisfied with the US position on Iran, and US oil specialists fear their competitors will (or may) gain obvious advantage;
- The strengthened Kremlin with the new leader hangs a shadow, it is possible to say, over its southern frontiers through transport and informational arteries.
- Finally, Trans-Caspian pipelines, including the Baku-Ceykhan project, are so expensive that even the U.S.A. is not in a position to get it moving, except for numerous events of a symbolic character.
Add here, lots of �democratic� problems.
Stratfor, the US analytical centre where CIA and State Department retired experts work, concludes: �Central Asian regimes are too distant and too alien to Washington to make a really efficient barrier to Russia's expansion and potential rejoining with them.�
Is the U.S.A. washing its hands of Central Asia?
With what will the U.S.A. content itself?
Here are a number of suggestions by US officials on the eve of Mrs. Albright's visit:
- to assist these countries in settling trans-bordering problems;
- to assist them in fighting against terrorism and drug traffic and against the spread of weapons from Afghanistan.
US$ 3 million are intended for guarding the border, Reuters said this week.
ALL THESE (to limit drug traffic via Central Asia to the West, to hinder the region from exploding) are conservative measures.
It is possible to say that the US activities eastward from the Caspian are being frozen.
Does it mean for each of us that Russia is coming back?
Yet the Russians do not have any investments.
The scenario suggests there will be a phase equal to a temporary closing-down. This is a stalemate situation for Central Asia. Against a background of complex internal problems, it is a slow slide down to a crisis situation.
Is there any way-out?
All Over the Globe is published by IPA House.
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