Undoubtedly, the region of the former Soviet Union in Central Asia is of high strategic importance for USA as well as for China, the European Union, Turkey and many other leading global players, of course, also for Russia.
In which direction is the United States moving?
In January in the online resource «CARAVANSERAI» was published a curious material in theme «2018: A year of pivotal events in Central Asia», in which was presented the rating of the main events of the past year in the region. It must be noted, that «CARAVANSERAI» is funded by USCENTCOM and is oriented to the population of Uzbekistan – it is published in Russian, English and, of course, Uzbek language.
The article on the results of 2018 begins with a statement of the increased role of Uzbekistan in regional politics.
The policy of Shavkat Mirziyoyev (the President of of Uzbekistan), aimed at improving relations with neighboring states of Central Asia, is interpreted by «CARAVANSERAI» as the acquisition by this region of a “new subjectivity”. This means “independence” from Russia and China, that the countries of Central Asia achieved with the leading role of Uzbekistan and thanks to the cooperation with Washington.
A number of meetings, consultations and meetings that the Central Asian states held in 2018 are mentioned as evidence. Among them - a consultative meeting of the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan on March 15 in Astana (the initiative belonged to Shavkat Mirziyoyev); meetings of foreign ministers on July 6 in Astana and July 20-22 in the city of Cholpon-Ata in Kyrgyzstan. In the same place, the sixth summit of the Council of Turkic-speaking states took place in early September, in which the presidents of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev participated, Kyrgyzstan - S. Jeenbekov, Azerbaijan - I. Aliyev and Turkey - R. Erdogan, and as honored guests - President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Prime Minister Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban.
Comments of experts to these events are selected in such a way as to emphasize two points: the need to strengthen cooperation between the countries of the region and the leading role of Tashkent. The Americans associate far-reaching plans with the “new foreign policy course” of Uzbekistan, but they do not coincide with Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s plans.
Russia regards the Central Asian republics as a region of its traditional strategic interests. First of all, on the basis of mutually beneficial cooperation. But it develops in different ways. If some republics (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan) managed to draw Moscow into the orbit of their interests and even turn them into military allies (through the Collective Security Treaty Organization - CSTO), others (Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) take a “special position”. Ashgabat continues to demonstrate a policy of neutrality in relations with Russia, and Tashkent is maneuvering, now approaching it, now moving away.
The US strategic goal is more than obvious: along with its main Western allies, Washington is trying to squeeze out Russia as a major political player from the Central Asian region and minimize its economic and military influence there.
This is evidenced by the international meeting of the chiefs of the Central Staffs of Central Asia in February under the auspices of the same US Central Command (CENTCOM) headed by D. Votel.
In fact, under the pretext of fighting Afghan terrorism, the Americans tried to use the conference to strengthen their military and military-technical influence in Central Asia. D.Votel urged the Central Asian foursome to work actively with Afghanistan, but under the absolute and sole curator of Washington, at the same time the commander of CENTCOM sought to secure guarantees of Central Asia for uninterrupted transit to / from Afghanistan of US special forces for the IRA.
It was also proposed to seek from the Central Pentagon the right to carry out flights of combat aircraft of the US Air Force through the airspace of the countries of Central Asia. In addition, D.Votel inclined Central Asia to restrict military-technical cooperation with Russia and to gradually abandon purchases of Russian-made weapons and military equipment in favor of acquiring American weapons. He said that the US authorities are ready to consider options for partners in the provision of weapons and equipment from existing reserves.
Thus, the Americans, initiating a conference of the General Staff of the Central and South Asian countries under the specious pretext of fighting international terrorism, intensified the systematic work of “dragging off” the Central Asian states from Russia and consolidating the sphere of influence of Washington.
This is primarily about baits in the form of promises of cooperation in the Afghan area and the "free supply" of American weapons and military equipment. However, it is impossible to believe the promises of Washington and you cannot sit on two chairs either.