FROM CENTRAL ASIA TO GREAT CENTRAL ASIA: THE GOALS AND ADJUSTMENTS OF U.S. CENTRAL ASIAN STRATEGY
Dr. Robert Guang TIAN
Dr. Robert Guang Tian, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Medaille College (Buffalo, NY, U.S.)
To penetrate and maintain peaceful development of the Central Asian region is a consistent goal of the United States for its international interests. With the 9/11 event as the baseline, since 2001 America’s awareness of the strategic importance of Central Asia and the latter’s weight in U.S. global strategy has been greatly changed. According to Charles Manes, the 9/11 terrorist attack enabled the U.S. to “discover Central Asia.” As a result of this discovery the United States effectively gained a foothold in Central Asia. However, the U.S. has been so impatient that it made a policy mistake. In supporting the Color Revolution in order to change the political system in Central Asian countries, it promoted democratization in the region in too great a rush.
Facts have proved that the Color Revolution model is not suitable for this area. The U.S. interference in Central Asia has caused some suspicion in Central Asian countries which in turn has affected relations between the United States and Central Asian countries. Due to their suspicion of aggressive U.S. actions in this region, Central Asian countries have reported a steady development in their cooperation with Russia and China. The operation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has been very impressive and successful. It set a strong force to challenge the U.S. strategy in the region; for instance, on 5 July, 2005, the SCO issued a declaration calling for the United States, though not explicitly, to set a timeline for withdrawing its military forces from Karshi-Khanabad Air Base, located in southern Uzbekistan.
In terms of strategy, the U.S. is very far away from Central Asia. However, judging from the ongoing antiterrorist activities in Afghanistan and given the U.S. military bases in Central Asia, the five Central Asian nations have actually fallen into the U.S. “New Frontier” category. This is the first time the U.S. has observed and influenced the Central Asian situation so directly. Surprisingly, the happening of the Kyrgyz Tulip Revolution in March 2005 and the Uzbekistan Andijan Event in May of the same year interrupted the accelerating U.S. influence in Central Asia. Although the U.S. kept its Manas Air Base in the end, Kyrgyzstan failed to observe the Kyrgyzstan-American Goodwill Policy after the Tulip Revolution, and it vacillated on the U.S. stationing issue, which has remained a headache to the U.S. The development of the Andijan Event further led the U.S. to realize the complexity of the Central Asian situation. After the Andijan Event, the U.S. Government required the Karimov Government to allow the international commission of inquiry to stand firm on its independence, which forced the U.S. army to…………