Foreign Policy Blogs

Uzbekistan: Won't You Be My Friend?

In early February, New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers discussed commander of the United States Central Command Adm. William J. Fallon's recent visit to Tashkent and meeting with President Karimov.  Fallon stated that he had no "grand plan' for Uzbekistan (i.e. a rapprochement in relations and a request of military assistance), but that his visit was aimed at renewing a dialogue between the two nations.  Chivers elaborates on the waning of US democracy promotion in the Central Asian region and catalogs its many failed attempts in this regard. 

 
Chivers infers that US policy in Uzbekistan and the Central Asian region as a whole has become more pragmatic and less democracy promotion-driven because of its loss of influence in the region to China and Russia.  Two BBC articles concerning Uzbekistan and Russia relations corroborate this view.  Journalist Sanobar Shermatova argues that no Western nation could offer Tashkent security guarantees that would improve on the ones currently provided by Russia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).  In addition, President Karimov, in a meeting regarding military assistance and cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in early February, described the two nation's relations as "friendly' and remaining this way for "tomorrow and (into the) distant future.'   

 
Lastly, the International Crisis Group urges the US and the EU to stay away from a "unilateral and unreciprocated' rapprochement with the newly-elected Karimov, warning that this would not only encourage a dangerous and unpredictable regime, but also produce a poor geopolitical outcome.

 

Author

Patrick Frost

Patrick Frost recently graduated from New York University's Masters Program in Political Science - International Relations. His MA thesis analyzed the capabilities and objectives of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Central Asia and beyond and explored how these affected U.S. interests and policy.

Areas of Focus:
Eurasia, American Foreign Policy, Ideology, SCO

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