People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
US Set To Enter Central Asia In A Big Way
WHILE the Russian
Federation is trying to build bridges with the US-dominated North Atlantic
Treaty Organisation (NATO) of the western countries, the security alliance that
Moscow had entered with members of the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent
States is all set to pass into history.
According to a story Fred Weir files from Moscow, “The six surviving members of the CIS Collective Security Pact agreed at a summit this week to continue their largely symbolic alliance, but pointedly refused to establish a joint military command under Russian leadership” (Hindustan Times, May 17). Weir then quotes “experts” as saying that this “failure” (or refusal!) “to accept integration probably heralds the final break-up of the organisation.”
As a matter of fact, members of the security alliance have been complaining that Moscow has been trying to use the alliance as a means to establishing its domination in the region. This was the stated ground on which Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan quit the alliance in 1999.
And now other
members are set to follow suit. At the meeting ending May 15 in the Minsk, the
capital of Belorussia, Russian president Vladimir Putin urged that the other
five members make moves to fully integrate their forces. They are Belarus,
Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzia. “Today when the geopolitical
situation is changing, the task before us is to strengthen our alliance and
adapt it to tackle the new challenges our countries are facing,” Weir quotes
Putin as saying. But the group declined to have any talk of joint command, for a
year at a minimum.
Yet it appears that
the stated fear of Russian domination is just a ploy the alliance members are
trying to use to forge closer relations with the west, with the US in
particular. In fact, all the Central Asian members of the alliance have accepted
US forces on their territory since September 11.
cannot escape its own share of the responsibility for this state of affairs.
Even though the Russian Federation has been voicing opposition to the NATO’s
eastward expansion plan or to the USA’s National Missile Defence (NMD)
project, it has been far from consistent on this score. Then, last week, NATO
bosses gave Moscow a limited say in policy-making, which has been tragi-comically
described as “a historic bargain.” In return, Moscow did not have to give
much; it had only to agree to drop “its objection to the western alliance's
planned expansion into the former USSR.” Not much of a sacrifice for the Putin
At around the same
time, after bitterly opposing the NMD project for a year on the genuine ground
that it would jeopardise global security and trigger off a new round of arms
race, Moscow has agreed to the White House offer to cooperate on the same
Then the question
is: If the leading member of the CIS is itself eager to woo the US and western
alliance, how can it expect the other CIS countries not to do the same thing?
Be that as it may,
the fact is that now the US, with the whole of NATO under its thumb, is all set
to get a firm foothold in Central Asia. What it means for the neighbouring
region that includes China, India, Iran and Iraq in the main, only time will
tell. Yet none can deny that it creates genuine grounds for apprehension
regarding the security and sovereignty of these countries and regarding global
peace and security.