Bush vs Kerry: Implications for Uzbekistan

by Anonymous on 8/12/2004 · 4 comments

According to this article in a contreversial news site www.centrasia.ru, famous for its explicitely pro-Russian and anti-Uzbek, and anti-American articles, in case Senator Kerry wins the presidential elections, there will be a sudden change in American policies towards Uzbekistan and Central Asia. The USA will give up their positions in Central Asia and as one commentator put it ‘ will go home’ ( I have paraphrased the original statement to make it publishable..), and all-powerful Russia will at last return the strayed sheep to the fold… To give an evidence-based image to their article, they quoted Indiana University professor Martin Spechler voicing this idea first.

I dont know neither Mr. Spechler, nor any subtleties of the current presidential campaign in the USA, but I wonder if anyone could tell more about this issue?

Thank you.

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– author of 49 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Education 2003–2004 Master Degree in Developmental Studies (DESS “Gestion et dynamisation du développement”), The University of Pierre Mendès France of Grenoble, France 1998-2003 Bachelor Degree in International Economics, The University of World Economy and Diplomacy of Tashkent, Uzbekistan Work Experience 05/2004-08/2004 Researcher, The Economic Mission of France in Istanbul, Turkey 04/2003-09/2003 Research assistant and Translator in the UNDP project UZB 01/04 on institutional reinforcement of the Higher School of Business under the President of Uzbekistan 01/2003-04/2003 Interpreter, International Department, The Higher School of Business, Tashkent, Uzbekistan 09/2002-01/2003 English Language Junior Editor at the Journal “International Relations, Law and Economy” of the University of World Economy and Diplomacy, Tashkent, Uzbekistan 06/2002-09/2002 Intern, CIS countries Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan

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Laurence August 12, 2004 at 1:16 pm

Alisher, I met Professor Speichler at Indiana University, at a conference also attended by Aktam Jalilov and Baha Ergashev of UWED. I think they may be back at UWED and you can ask them about him. As far as I know, Dr. Speichler is an economist and advisor to USAID on development, not a specialist in American politics.

My guess is that Kerry might continue the Clinton policies towards Uzbekistan, a form of engagment that looks for progress in human rights while also taking security issues into account. It was the Clinton administration that first reached out to Uzbekistan, under Defense Secretary William Perry, I think…

Nathan August 12, 2004 at 1:48 pm

Foreign policy being one of my concentrations during my studies, I am firmly committed to the “the more things change the more they stay the same” school of thought. US foreign policy tends to shift in response to events more than in response to who’s in office. Of course, the personality in the White House shapes the response and the course of response to events.

I’ll fully admit that this isn’t a perfectly sound way of looking at things, but it’s more or less accurate. Bush policy in Central Asia probably wouldn’t have turned out all that much different from Clinton’s were it not for 9/11. Even so, I’d argue that the difference is mostly that Central Asia gets more attention and the policy is quantitatively more of the same.

There could be a very good case to be made that Kerry wouldn’t really change all that much of Bush’s foreign policy. Regardless, Kerry will be under a lot of pressure to change because of his campaign talk. His “vision” for foreign policy strikes me as “1999 Forever!” It reads like a stong devotion to institutions and alliances as they stood in the ’90s.

In my view, that’s all well and good for the ’90s. Times change and allies change with them.

jb August 12, 2004 at 8:03 pm

i would generally concur with nathan; nothing particularly substantive will change. but if you’d like a bit more on a likely kerry foreign policy, you can do worse than this cfr interview with rand beers.

Laurence August 13, 2004 at 9:02 am

From the Kerry website JB mentions:

In terms of the military side, which the administration has emphasized, we would certainly continue that and expand that, where appropriate. But we would take a much more active role, in Afghanistan, for instance, to insure that it did not fall back into failed state status. I’m not saying that is about to happen, but I do believe the administration has gone far too slow with far too little effort in terms of stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan, and so we find ourselves now in a situation where we have had continuing delays and postponements in the electoral process. The administration did not do anything about the drug crop. It has done little or nothing about either bringing the warlords into the political process or isolating them. As a result, the Taliban, al Qaeda, and others have had a resurgence within Afghanistan and are creating a lot of turbulence and violence.

While it may not have been possible to eliminate [what resulted], I do not think we had to accept [it]. This [is due] in part [to] a shift in focus to Iraq and in part [to] a disinclination for the hard work of post-conflict stability operations, as they are currently called, or nation-building, as it used to be called. Afghanistan is only one part of this.

The second thing is that a Kerry administration would pay much more attention to doing homeland security instead of simply paying lip service to the notion. The administration was a latecomer to the concept as envisaged in the Homeland Security Act and has been not a particularly aggressive program or budgetary advocate in real and practical ways. The administration’s budgetary requests have been below everybody else’s estimates. The programs that have been undertaken have been of limited scope and underfunded. The programs that have been ignored, such as chemical plant security, are major vulnerabilities, according to reports by many people.

The third issue is what are we doing in order to reduce or prevent the ability of al Qaeda or its affiliates to recruit terrorists or to find support within broader communities for their organizations or their activities. I think a Kerry administration would spend a lot more time and effort working with countries and with groups within countries, both in public dialogue and private diplomacy, to create a better sense of hope and opportunity in the Islamic world so that people are less inclined to join terrorist groups. It will never be a perfect and final status that results, but I think it is something that has to be started and engaged in, because the terrorists themselves are not going to negotiate to get themselves out of business.

And lastly, we have to do everything we can to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of terrorists.

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