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USA from Central Asia never go away
Material posted: -Publication date: 04-05-2009

Currently, a number of analytical centres of administration is working on issues associated with the policy of the US administration in the countries of Central Asia.

Experts, in particular, it is noted that in the first years of independence the countries of Central Asia this region were not of pronounced strategic importance for the United States: geographic remoteness, landlocked, difficult terrain and climate, as well as the existing priorities of the American strategy did not give the region specific priorities, although energy resources of the region, its proximity to Russia, China, India and Iran, yet forced to keep it in the area of interest.

On a number of previous assessments, the energy wealth of the Caspian States, made the area important in the foreign policy of the US and some leading European countries as well as China, India and Pakistan. However, some experts predict that the region will become only a minor supplier in the global energy market, especially in comparison with countries of the Persian Gulf and Russia. So, the optimistic projections assumed the ability of the region to produce one-tenth of all the world's oil; pessimistic estimates predict the production at a lower level (up to one third optimistic forecast). In addition, even regardless from the actual quantities, the effective energy supply will become possible only after a few years, once you have created the necessary infrastructure.

Caspian gas cannot be easily transported by the world's leading energy markets and, thus, will not affect American interests. Gas supplies from the Caspian region to the West are associated with significant transportation problems that makes it quite expensive. While oil can be transported by sea, for such transportation of gas requires special infrastructure for it to liquefy, which in the region is practically absent. Underwater pipelines are also quite expensive and difficult to maintain. According to experts, there is hope for the construction of gas pipelines to Eastern markets, but they necessarily have to transit through Afghanistan and Pakistan. The success of such projects depends entirely on the political developments in these countries, which remains volatile. However, experts stress that the United States are interested in energy resources from the Caspian countries entered the global market.

The situation changed in 2001 with the change in strategic priorities: the region has become one of the primary values. Been conducted in the region the deployment of U.S. military units, was sharply increased economic and military aid to countries in the region.

However, the situation again has changed considerably after the events in the Uzbek city of Andizhan, when the government declared categorical rejection of U.S. military presence on its territory.

High dynamics of changes of the situation in the region, makes us analysts to predict possible scenarios and to prepare options for U.S. policy towards the countries of the Central Asian region.

According to American analysts, the current situation in the world makes it impossible to completely abandon military presence in the region, although analysts doubt the effectiveness of long-term military presence in the region. Thus, in particular, in research at the RAND Corporation notes that the region's significance in American foreign policy increases, requiring increasing American presence in the region. Moreover, such presence should be primarily economic and political, not military. Experts doubt the effectiveness of the military presence in terms of the Asian mentality and the dominance of Islam in the region.

However, experts note that even in the face of declining significance of the military presence, the importance of the region for the American strategy will continue to grow for a number of reasons, far beyond the borders of Central Asia.

The study "U.S. Interests in Central Asia Policy Priorities and Military Roles", RAND prepared in December 2005, was designed to study the political situation and prospects in the region, clarification of the role of Islam and relations between the Central Asian States in order to define future requirements and approaches to American strategy in Central Asia. The study was conducted in the framework of development strategies and doctrines of RAND's project for cooperation with the air forces of the USA.

The RAND experts noted that American policy towards Central Asia in the coming years will be a critical component of U.S. national security strategy, but the role of military force in this policy will be rather small for two reasons.

First, although the armed forces have an important role to play in ensuring security, the key to solving American problems in Central Asia lies in the economic and political sphere. Experts believe that in some cases American military presence only makes it harder to achieve standing goals of American policy in the region.

Secondly, the experts note that there is only little reason for a significant military presence in the region in the long term. According to their estimates, there are only a few unlikely scenarios for the development of the situation, when the Central Asian States will become so important partners of the US, which will require a permanent military presence in the region.

In this regard, the experts RAND recommended that the US administration seeks to work effectively with other stakeholders in order to promote their own economic and political interests.

Thus, in particular, Russia, Turkey, China, India and several European countries share the U.S. goals of stability and development in Central Asia. Experts recognize that for many of these countries, particularly Russia, the region is much more critical than for the United States. Planning policy in the region, the US should consider Russia's interests to lower cost to reach their goals. Although such cooperation in the context of complex coordination and mistrust will be difficult to achieve, the achievement of this partnership will be a critical link in a successful American strategy in the region.

However, the role of American troops in Central Asia experts RAND seems though relatively minor, but critical, especially for military-air forces of the United States. The most important task should be no permanent military presence, and the creation of infrastructure to facilitate rapid deployment in the region the necessary forces in the event of a change of scenery.

An effective strategy for future U.S. military presence in Central Asia, according to RAND, should include three basic components.

1. The formation and support of a "warm" provision of the necessary infrastructure-based, able to ensure the capability to rapidly deploy the necessary forces and equipment in the region.

2. Detailed program tactical cooperation between the armed forces of the U.S. armed forces and partner countries in Central Asia, aimed at the development of the interaction in terms of the complications of the situation.

3. Slim policy of cooperation between military ministries aimed at ensuring the activities of the infrastructure of the home and its effective use in case of aggravation of the situation.


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