U.S. strategists awake to new reality in Central Asia
Published Jul 15, 2005 10:58 PM
U.S. imperialists, still dreaming of exerting
their economic, political and military hegemony over Central Asia, are awakening
to a new reality.
The July 5 expanded Shanghai Cooper ation Organization
(SCO) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, adopted a resolution calling on Washington
to announce a timetable for Pentagon withdrawal from Afghanistan and for
dismantling what were supposed to be temporary U.S. military bases in Kyrgyzstan
“However, the SCO states would not allow a security
vacuum to emerge following the anticipated coalition withdrawal from the
region,” the July 6 Eurasia Daily Monitor added. “The SCO leaders
would rather fill the vacuum themselves: they pledged to boost security
cooperation. Chinese President Hu Jintao said after the summit meeting in
Astana: ‘We have to make every effort to step up security cooperation or
else all our talks about stability will be pointless.’”
chaired this year’s SCO, which was established on June 15, 2001, in
Shanghai. Other members of the alliance include Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. With the recently added semi-membership of Iran,
India, Pakistan and Mongolia as official observers, the organization represents
half of humanity, as Kazakh President Nur sultan Nazarbayev pointed out in his
opening speech on July 5 welcoming the SCO.
An SCO-Afghanistan contact
group is due to be established soon, as well, according to Russian Foreign
Ministry Roving Ambassador Vitaly Vorobyov. (RIA Novosti, July
Confidential U.S. sources told the Russian business newspaper Kommer
sant that the demand to set a time limit on the Pentagon’s presence
“was a great surprise, to put it mildly.” (July 7)
declaration was made one day before Chinese leader Hu Jintao and Rus sian
President Vladimir Putin were set to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush in
Scotland at the Group of Eight summit.
Washington officials, including
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her spokesperson, Sean McCormack,
imme diately and flatly refused to discuss the matter of pulling up U.S.
military stakes. Rice rejected the SCO call on July 9 during a trip in which she
met with Chinese government leaders. According to a July 10 Bloomberg report,
“Afghanistan was one of the areas of disagreement in the talks, which
focused primarily on the July 25 resumption of the six-nation talks on North
Korea’s nuclear weapons program.”
The SCO summit resolution also stated the
inadmissibility of “monopolizing or dominating international
affairs” and an end to outside intervention in the internal affairs of the
countries of the region.
“The SCO declaration, as well as a
bilateral Russo-Chinese declaration on ‘World Order in the 21st
Century’ adopted on July 2, did not mention the United States
directly,” explained the July 6 Eurasia Daily Monitor. “However,
these documents are understood to target perceived U.S. domination in
Washington has been accused of engineering
“regime changes” in three former Soviet republics in the last two
years: Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.
The SCO declaration was a warning
to Washington to stop using nongovernmental organizations as instruments for
carrying out destabilization and coups in the region, the July 11 New York Times
This year’s SCO summit was the first since former
Kyrgyzstan President Askar Akayev fled to Russia on March 25 after armed bands
stormed his offices in what the media dubbed the “Tulip Revolution.”
Akayev accused Washington of instigating his overthrow to expand its grip on
Central Asia. He charged that when he let Russia set up a military air base 18
miles from the Pentagon installation in his country, “That marked the
start of the preparation of plans for my ouster.” (MosNews, July
A week after the SCO summit, Kur manbek Bakiyev, who had been a leader
of the anti-Akayev protests in Kyrgyzstan, was elected president by a large
majority. He surprised Washington, however, when he immediately reiterated the
need for discussion about whether U.S. military forces needed to be in his
And at a July 5 SCO media conference Uzbek President Islam
Karimov thanked China and Russia for their support. The U.S. had led demands for
an inquiry into the reported suppression of rioting dissenters there in May.
Uzbekistan officials restricted U.S. military flights from the Karshi-Khanabad
airbase in retaliation. Karimov emphasized that outside forces had been
threatening to “hijack stability and impose their model of
development” on Central Asia.
Lily pads sinking into
After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Washington used the
National Endow ment for Democracy, “Freedom House” and Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into social
forces in the former Soviet Central Asian republics that they judged were
willing to collaborate with U.S. plans for the region.
strategists wanted most of all was, 1) influence over the rich oil and gas
deposits of the Caspian region and 2) military bases that could both
“pacify” the area if necessary and put the Pentagon’s forward
position closer to both Russia and China.
Little of the money made its way
to the people who live and work in the mountains and plains. Poverty and
unemployment have grown as the post-Soviet regimes that took over found it
impossible to sustain the living standards of the broad masses on a capitalist
These bourgeois regimes also found themselves collaborating with
the imperialist power whose brutal wars and occupations against Iraq and
Afghanistan have aroused the anger of most of the world, especially the Muslim
When the 9/11 attacks took place, the U.S. had used them as a
pretext to gain a military foothold in Central Asia. But its bases in Kyrgyzstan
and Uzbekistan, for example, were supposed to be “temporary.” These
military installations have been used for logistical support and deployment of
10th Mountain Division and Special Forces troops to Afghanistan.
are more than a “rear base” in the imperialist aggression against
Central Asia sits atop some of the largest pools of petroleum
and natural gas in the world. The massive Tenghiz oil fields of Kazakhstan lie
just to the north of Uzbekistan. Huge gas reserves lie just to the south in
Turkmenistan. To the west, across the Caspian Sea, is the Azerbaijan offshore
Capitalist monopolies like ExxonMobil and Chevron/Texaco
are determined to suck out these energy profits from resources that once fueled
the revolutionary growth of production and living standards in these former
Central Asia is also a geopolitically strategic
part of the globe over which the “Great Game” of big-power
colonialists and imperialists has been fought since the 19th century. The five
nations of Central Asia are today home to some 55 million people and the gateway
to all of Asia. They stretch from Russia to Afghanistan, bordering China on the
east and Iran in the southwest.
The establishment of U.S.
imperialism’s military footprints on Central Asian soil has been described
as the greatest change in Pentagon overseas military deployments since the end
of World War II. (globalsecurity.com, July 26, 2004)
“This marks a
new epoch in [U.S.] force posturing,” said John Pike, director of
globalsecurity.com, which describes itself as a Washington clearinghouse for
strategic intelligence. “It’s one of only a half-dozen similar
reposturings since the American Revolution. It’s a very significant
The strategy is to replace huge garrison bases that
traditionally held more than 80 percent of U.S. troops overseas—like those
in Germany, Japan and South Korea—with an arc of numerous small
“lily pad” bases, arching from the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle
East to the Caucasus, Central Asia and southern Asia. Pentagon brass hope these
small bases will enable them to quickly and flexibly airlift forces.
concluded last summer, using the spin that presents imperialist aggression as
self-defense, “We don’t know exactly where the next threat will be.
It could be Iran, North Korea, China or other parts of the world. This
redeployment is designed to allow us to quickly respond to any of those
challenges.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 26, 2004)
U.S. bases in Central Asia was supposed to tighten the grip of Wall Street and
the Pentagon on the region. But, in response, what was a loose coalition of the
SCO is evolving into a defensive political, economic and military alliance
encompassing more than half the population of the planet.
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