US Focuses Attention on Central Asia With New Economic Initiative – The Diplomat

Donald Lu, the US attorney general for South and Central Asia, is walking to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan from November 6-11. It is Lu’s second trip to Central Asia this year, with previous voyages through Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan in Five and follow a wave of collaboration with increasingly important regions.

Lu’s trip, the State Department said, aims to address “our shared goals of prosperity, security, and freedom in Central Asia.” Lu is expected to discuss a variety of bilateral issues in each country, including the initiation of a new $25 regional trade.

The trip now comes from focusing on Central Asia, relative to its work on the border with Russia and China, which has just been released. US National Security Strategy (NSS) characterized as a “different competition.” In explaining these challenges, the NSS said that Russia “poses an immediate threat to the freedom and openness of the world” while China “is only a competitor with two objectives to reform the world’s political and, increasingly, economic, political, military, and technological forces to achieve that goal.” Give the difference: Russia is the challenge of the present and China’s challenge of the future; Central Asia borders both.

The U.S. strategy for Central Asia is still being shaped by the strategy presented in in early February 2020 from the Trump administration at the State Department. The strategy, with the still-need withdrawal from Afghanistan in mind, seeks to change the US approach to cooperation with the region beyond the war in Afghanistan.

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At the time of his release, Alice Wells, then assistant president for South and Central Asia, said The Diplomat that the strategy’s central mantra – US support for the region’s “independence, sovereignty, and justice in the region” – is “the essential holy trinity of US policy on in Central Asia.”

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Although many things have changed since February 2020, America’s strategy for Central Asia has only become more complicated. There is nothing particularly new about the “freedom, independence, and territorial integrity,” but the Russian intervention in Ukraine has pushed the discussion of these characteristics of the state today is back in doubt. (That day? It’s the voice of a million IR grads whispering “Westphalian sovereignty” in the night.)

However, as noted above, the announcement of Lu’s visit in November once again referred to the “holy trinity,” noting that Lu’s visit would restore the United States’ commitment to all nations’ freedom, liberty, and territorial integrity.”

The Central Asian region’s democratic credentials are weak, but US concerns about the region are not. Although cooperation with other democracies is a feature of the Biden administration’s foreign policy, the NSS all the same noted that “many non-democratic countries join the the world’s democratic rights in the recognition” character emerges from the process of “regulatory control with foreign policy reform.” preparing for the war on terrorism, undermining the freedom of other countries, using technology and chains for coercion and torture, and exporting a pattern of quality of international decision-making” as the behavior even without democracy is concerned about. . Indeed, in the good choice between autocracies and democracies, the Biden administration led to reveal the place for “countries that do not accept organizations complain j persistently but nevertheless depends on and supports international law.”

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Central Asia fits into the gray area between reformed autocracies and Western-style liberal democracies. As a small area of ​​independent states, hemmed in the area by a great power, there is a long-term appetite for diversity – between partners and business, especially.

The war in Ukraine has also increased attention and awareness of Central Asia. Given the region’s economic integration with Russia, international sanctions against Moscow fall in Central Asia in many ways, putting pressure on the landlocked region that its way big business across Russia. There have been upsides – such as the relocation of some businesses from Russia to Kazakhstan – but there is also a decline because the Central Asian states try to avoid the second sanctions and adapt to the future restrictions on their trade and commerce. With Russia and Iran under sanctions, Central Asia has few neighbors it can trade with: Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and China.

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In the light of these problems, and follow a completed the Ministerial C5+1 meeting in September On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the United States announced the launch of the Central Asia Economic Survey. A spokesman for the Department of Defense told The Diplomat that in the initiative the US will provide $25 million to seek sustainable development in the region.

“The Economic Resilience Initiative will support the development of the region’s economy and capabilities, educate and train skilled workers, and attract international investment to Central Asia,” the spokesman he said.

As part of the initiative, the United States plans to launch what it calls “C5+ONE or Open Networks through English” – a project that will invest $5 million to support regional efforts to create “21st century workers and attract foreign investment. by prioritizing English language training for young professionals in important jobs.”

The commodity is particularly important to Central Asian governments as the war in Ukraine drags on and sanctions against Russia remain in place. The focus on learning English, and “employees in the 21st century,” however, is not part of a quick service, but a long-term strategy to make the world speaking English as a way for future economic, social, political, and cultural development. Remember: Central Asia borders where the US considers both its immediate competition – Russia – and the great competition of the future – China.

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