Former SecDef Donald Rumsfeld Luvs teh Central Asia

by Joshua Foust on 1/19/2009 · 2 comments

Aral Sea
Pic: Not all of Central Asia.

Joshua Kucera reports that Donald Rumsfeld, the controversial former Defense Secretary of the U.S., has begun a foundation devoted to providing young Central Asia scholars with fellowships—administered, naturally enough, by the CACI/SAIS crowd led by S. Frederick Starr. Rumsfeld, who was last seen both hyping Afghanistan as an unqualified success while simultaneously washing his hands of any responsibility for its current state, also has plans to fund micro-finance schemes in the region.

Kucera notes some interesting features of Rumsfeld’s foundation (which is, curiously enough, never named in Kucera’s piece, though he assured me it’s called The Rumsfeld Foundation). For starters, it seems funded almost entirely from Rumsfeld’s personal fortune—meaning there is no board of directors or trustees to appease (this could be good or bad, for somewhat obvious reasons). But even more interestingly, Rummy’s Foundation doesn’t seem to screen its fellows. Kucera notes that, “One speaker, from Kyrgyzstan, criticized Georgia, Ukraine and the Baltic states for repudiating their common Soviet history. Another, from Azerbaijan, suggested that his country, wavering between the United States and Russia, would choose an alliance based only on whichever country helped it regain Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Sounds like this foundation should provide for a lot of conversation in the future.

Parting thought: Considering Rumsfeld’s obvious belief in the moral value of public service, I’ll be curious to hear how he participated in President-elect Barack Obama’s national day of service today. Oh, and who in their right mind would want to put on their CV that they were a Rumsfeld Fellow?

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Christian January 20, 2009 at 8:50 pm

“Oh, and who in their right mind would want to put on their CV that they were a Rumsfeld Fellow?”

Someone who balances that consideration with the prospect of getting handed a big chuck of funding to engage in an academic-leisure lifestyle, I guess. Which means plenty of people in academia.

still suspicious February 23, 2009 at 10:25 am

I keep thinking about all those missing billion$ of American tax-payer dollars, misplaced at the Pentagon during Rumsfeld’s leadership. AND about all those crates of paper money just laying around in Iraq, to pay terrorists to not shoot at us (see Rumsfeld’s leaked memo).

I don’t trust him and don’t think anyone should. I don’t care what kind of light is placed on this man. He is malavent thru and thru. He has no interest in anything but oil, power, and the death of others.

We all know that vast stores of oil are in the mentioned regions. That is why Rumsfeld is interested in it.

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