Foreign Policy Blogs

Rumsfled's Crusade Continues

rumy.jpgEurasianet writer Joshua Kucera reported on an interesting story involving former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's new foundation, which focuses on the Central Asian region.  Kucera starts out skeptical of Rumsfeld and his foundation's motivations at first, neoconservative policy pushers?, but his research seems to lead him to conclude that their goals are of a non-partisan and generous nature.

The foundation has two major for furthering CA-US relations and development in these former Soviet states; fellowships for young CA-Caucasus scholars to come study in the US and micro-finance programs.  The foundation is administered by the Central Asia Caucasus Institute at John Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies in DC.  CACI's head and Rumsfeld's long time friend S. Frederick Starr, emphasized his friend's extensive interest in the former Soviet states in Central Asia and the Caucasus.  He credits Rumsfeld for visiting the region more in the last few years than nearly all other major US officials combined, of course these officials did not have a major war going in Afghanistan during their terms.

Rumsfeld has voiced that a major reason for his starting this foundation is because there were not already large enough Uzbek, Tajik, or Kazakh ethnic communities living in the US to provide support for visiting students.  He apparently wanted his foundation to bury that gap.  “We don't have, in Chicago or Detroit or Pittsburgh, Uzbeks or Tajiks or Kazakhs,” Rumsfeld said. “I think that we need to have people who understand what's going on in Central Asia … and the difficulty of that transition.”

It would be interesting to know the depths of those donating to this organization to make sure that there are indeed no political shenanigans occurring, but it looks to me like a worthwhile setting to further relations and build common bonds between the two cultures and regions.

 

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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