Since 9/11, America’s priority in Central Asia has been to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. But as the United States and NATO pull out, there is a new danger: that the West could become entangled in regional rivalries, local strongman politics and competition with Russia and China.
Central Asian governments have sought for years to manipulate foreign powers’ interest in the region for their own benefit. In the summer of 2005, the United States military was evicted from its facility at Karshi-Khanabad in Uzbekistan after American officials criticized the Uzbek government’s slaughter of hundreds of anti-government demonstrators in Andijon; Russia and China, which have both been expanding their footprints in the region, publicly backed the crackdown.… Seguir leyendo »
On the surface, the 12th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Beijing was a striking success. The regional organization — comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — took a strong position against externally imposed regime change in the Middle East, admitted Afghanistan as a new observer and announced steps to broaden its agenda into the next decade.
That is the dynamic and active image the S.C.O. seeks to present to the world — as a guardian of regional security and a new-style organization that, unlike Western bodies, does not intrude in the sovereign affairs of its members and condemns outside military action.… Seguir leyendo »
Last Friday, voters in the Georgian breakaway territory of Abkhazia went to the polls in a presidential election that was broadly ignored by the United States and its European allies.
There were no international observers, no stern warnings to Abkhaz leaders about the rule of law, no Western congratulations to the winner — Alexander Ankvab, who had been acting president since Sergei Bagapsh, the twice-elected Abkhaz president, died suddenly in May.
In fact, many Western organizations, urged by Tbilisi, condemned the polling. Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief, said the E.U. “does not recognize the constitutional and legal framework within which these elections have taken place,” while NATO declared that the alliance “does not recognize the elections.”
The main reason for these reactions is that while the people of Abkhazia view themselves as an independent state, the world’s governments, with only a very few exceptions, consider the territory as an integral part of Georgia.… Seguir leyendo »