Russia Losing Out to US in Central Asia, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says
August 31 – “The situation in Central Asia and Kazakhstan where Moscow’s
position has always been considered fixed is changing before our eyes,” the
editors of Moscow’s Nezavisimaya gazeta
say, and “the region is being transformed into a successful American place des armes.”
reflects the success of the Five Plus One geopolitical project launched by the
Obama Administration in 2015 and being continued by the Trump Administration, a
project based on a program proposed by S. Frederick Starr, head of the
Washington Institute for Central Asia and the Caucasus in 2005 (ng.ru/editorial/2018-08-30/2_7300_red.html).
goal of this project was to reorient cooperation between Central Asia and the outside
world away from Russia and China and toward the United States and Europe, Nezavisimaya gazeta says. And the C5+1
format relies as well on increasing intra-regional cooperation with the US in
the areas of economics, regional cooperation, environment and security.
successful visits to Washington by the presidents of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan
reflect how much progress has been made in this regard, the editors
continue.And they stress that the other
countries of the region are now following Tashkent and Astana in refocusing their
attention away from Moscow and towards Washington.
how far things have gone has now been confirmed by the decision of the Afghan
government not to take part in a planned international conference in Moscow to
discuss how to cope with the Taliban but instead to hold the meeting in
Tashkent where the Uzbekistan government will play the moderating role.
to Bakhiyer Ergashev, head of the Tashkent Ma’no Research Center, Uzbekistan
will likely be able to fulfill that role, at least in part because Washington
and Kabul have blocked Moscow from doing so. Russia will still play some role
but it will no longer be “the first violin” in this orchestra.
is losing the region to the US because Moscow has lacked a precise idea about
the goals and means for their realization in the countries of Central
Asia.Whether such an understanding of
what Moscow wants in this part of the world today is unclear,” the paper
one thing is certain, the editors argue. “Without a well-though-out policy and
new forms of work, Moscow will not be able to retain its Central Asian
partners.” Its economic role especially in terms of gastarbeiters and
investments simply isn’t enough by itself to do that. Beyond the region, there
are markets that are “no less promising.”