go to top
Foreign ministers from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. From left, Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Chingiz Aidarbekov, Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Uzbek Foreign Affairs Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Feb. 3, 2020 (AP photo).

Trump’s New Central Asia Strategy Aims to Be Realist. But It’s Unrealistic

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The State Department released its updated strategy for Central Asia last month—a relatively short document that is mostly taken up with reiterating traditional U.S. priorities in the region. While it lacks the grand ambitions that fueled earlier U.S. approaches to Central Asia, particularly the aim to reshape its strategic geography through U.S.-backed infrastructure initiatives, the Trump administration’s new approach isn’t without its own ambitions.

Given the past gap between aims and results in U.S. policy toward Central Asia, more realism about American capabilities might be welcome. But the policy outlined by the Trump administration is still problematic. It is based on simplistic assumptions about geopolitical competition and an overly optimistic view of American influence. Although it lacks any new regional vision and mainly focuses on “a peace process that will end the conflict in Afghanistan,” the new strategy implies that the U.S. will still retain leverage, and interest, in Central Asia once U.S. forces leave. More problematically, it views the region through the lens of zero-sum competition with neighboring Iran, Russia and, especially, China. ...

To read more,

enter your email address then choose one of the three options below.

Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 10,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.