16.05.2023 Author: Vladimir Platov

The United States is making significant efforts to reduce Russia’s and China’s influence in Central Asia

Central Asia - US vs Russia and China

The desire of Russia, along with China and its friendly countries, to implement the international integration project for Greater Eurasia’s development, which involves the EAEU’s cooperation with the SCO, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and, until recently, the European Union, has recently caused increasing rejection by the US and its Western allies. In response to these steps dictated by modern world history, Washington has deployed its aggressive strategy of maintaining global dominance, which is a multi-stage process of destabilization, weakening, destruction, and subordination of Asian countries to Western interests. The primary focus is on the demise of Russia as the “heart of Eurasia,” after which the emphasis will turn to the conflict with China.

The United States and its allies have now switched to using hybrid confrontation tools against Russia in this region, obviously realizing that direct military action by Washington and Brussels puts the world at risk of a nuclear war in both the Ukraine and Central Asia. The United States still believes it has influence over the chaotic processes in both Russia and Central Asia, despite the fact that a weakened dominant nation cannot govern everything. After all, as the United States’ opponents have become more combat-ready, it has become clear that Washington must reject prior military and political assumptions in order to pursue new strategies for influencing global affairs.

These facts started to be reflected in US governance papers, with the assumption that in a multipolar world the United States may have to engage in a number of concurrent conflicts on numerous fronts and with various enemies to pursue its dominant ambitions. Due to this, the national security plans presented by the administrations of Donald Trump and Joseph Biden claim that in addition to other problems like Iran, the DPRK, and international terrorism, the United States faces an “escalating challenge” from China and an “acute threat” from Russia.

US influence in Central Asia has been lost as a result of the recent withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, according to Azerbaijani media. In fact, the C5+1 meeting of the foreign ministers of the Central Asian republics and the United States, which was attended by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in late February, affirmed this. The US State Department strongly and ineffectively urged the states of the region “to unite around Washington and against Moscow,” describing the summit as a meeting aimed at “creating an independent, prosperous, and secure Central Asia, solving common problems in cooperation with the United States.” Washington set out to increase its influence in the area by forging the C5+1 eight years ago, despite the region’s two major players, China and Russia. As a result, it is not unexpected that during his visit to Central Asia, US Secretary of State John Kerry offered $25 million to local entrepreneurs in order “to diversify trade routes and create jobs,” effectively defining the cost of betraying Russia.

The US has recently become particularly active in trying to persuade the countries of the region to pursue a course of anti-Russian sanctions by applying increasing pressure on Central Asia through criminal threats and blackmail. Along with Anthony Blinken, a sizable delegation of emissaries from Europe and the United States were sent here for this reason. Another US “envoy”, Liz Rosenberg, Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes at the US Department of the Treasury. visited Astana and Bishkek at the end of April, but she was unable to deliver the millions of dollars that had been promised to the area because there had been no request for them at all. Liz Rosenberg allegedly provided information indicating a breach of the sanctions system rather than money. Companies in Central Asia were given a deadline with the threat of US sanctions if they did not “cooperate”.

In this context, “restless Washington” was particularly active, working with its European allies to organize “color revolutions” in Uzbekistan. The April 30 referendum on the adoption of a new Constitution for this nation was a significant factor in this. Unimaginable numbers of Anglo-Saxons traveled to Uzbekistan just over a month and a half before to this referendum, some armed with a “stick” and others with a “carrot.” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, was without a doubt the best of the diplomats. His grandfather was a native of the Poltava region of the Russian Empire who immigrated to the “wild west” and was well-known among Yiddish-speaking Americans for his fables about Russia. On April 12, the US State Department and Department of the Treasury formally announced fresh penalties against people and organizations that, in their words, “help Russia circumvent the sanctions that have already been imposed.” This was proof of their gangster intents. As a result, the SDN List included Uzbek natives and citizens, Alisher Usmanov’s USM holdings and companies associated with them, such as cement manufacturer Akhangarantsement, and two Uzbek companies, Alfa Beta Creative and GFK Logistic Asia, which allegedly purchased American goods for the Russian military and defense industry. Instead of the anticipated Washington shift in Tashkent policy toward greater US backing, Uzbek experts labeled the imposition of US sanctions a declaration of economic war on their country.

The G7 nations Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, France, Japan, and the USA agreed to work closely together to solve “acute problems” facing Central Asian countries from April 16 to 18 in Karuizawa. This action was taken to further undermine Russia’s influence in Central Asia. Eamon Gilmore, EU Special Representative for Human Rights and Terhi Hakala, EU Special Representative (EUSR) for Central Asia, traveled to numerous Central Asian nations on April 18. They have traveled to Central Asia at least eight times in the past few months, along with various EU and US representatives. At the same time, contrary to Oriental etiquette, Western “guests” try to dictate their own charter.

Late in April, Central Asia was also visited by US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu, who focused on security challenges and strengthening the region’s relationship with the United States. During his visit, Donald Lu strongly advised against providing aid to Russia, circumventing restrictions, criticizing rapprochement with Russia on a number of fronts, primarily in the military sphere. Washington was also making it apparent that it wanted to explore alternatives for returning to the region, including through USAID projects as well as by looking into the possibility of resuming transit or even full-fledged American military air bases in Central Asia.

Many regional experts have noted that the U.S. desire to use “soft power” – NGOs, its lobbyists, and officials who have successfully completed their school of training and apprenticeship – to use Central Asia as a springboard not only against Russia but also against China has recently become more apparent. The Chinese emphasis in the subversive activities of the United States and its Western allies has recently become especially active against the background of preparations for the China-Central Asia summit, which is scheduled for May 18 in Xi’an, given that the rapprochement of countries in the region not only with Russia, but also with China cannot but worry the United States.

Vladimir Platov, expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.

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