Kyrgystan Advocates Russian-American Cooperation

by Laurence Jarvik on 8/19/2004

From Argumenty i Fakti, through

In the meanwhile, America’s presence in the region benefits Russia rather than the other way round. In the first place, it prevents infiltration of the region by Islamic extremism which already threatens Chechnya and Dagestan and, more importantly, Russia’s inner regions. In the second, the United States may become a serious counterweight to China which is much more dangerous to Russia from the strategic point of view because Russia’s weakness in Siberia and Far East.

Paradoxical though it may sound, even American control over the regional oil resources may become beneficial. It will increase Russia’s role as an independent oil supplier to Europe which in its turn will solidify its positions in this direction. So, what is to be done?

On July 1, August 1, 2004, of Kyrgyzstan Askar Akayev made a stunning suggestion to establish a joint Russian-American military base in Central Asia and even offered the territory of his country as the location. Needless to say, this is a step in the correct direction, but the ultimate solution to the problem requires much more.

It will be proper to begin with recognition and acceptance of the fact that Russia and the United States do not have any unsolvable conflict of interests in the region. On the contrary, their interests are pretty similar. Eventually, everything will end with establishment of a regional security framework on the basis of the Eurasian-American treaty analogous to the North Atlantic one.

At first, the treaty may include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. Russia and the United States too – but that goes without saying. What will be the benefits for participants and the rest of the world?

It will allay the fears generated by the uncontrolled penetration of the region by the United States. It will make it possible to abandon surplus cooperation with countries like Iran.

As an organization that is friendly with NATO and is actually a supplement to it, the treaty will abate political tension generated by NATO expansion. It will change the essence itself of this expansion, eventually creating a more advanced and thorough system of coordination of action with NATO. As for Russia and former Soviet republic, it will offer them a less painful means of integration into the global political system.

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