Over the past three decades post-Soviet territory has become Washington’s new playground, where the US attempts to uproot all traditional ties that bind Russia with its immediate neighbors. In the 1980s and 1990s, Washington would place particular emphasis on advancing its relations with the Baltic republics, as it was a rush to draw them away from Russia into an alliance with the United States and NATO. Then, Ukraine and Georgia were to suffer the same sorry fate, but here the US had to infiltrate local political elites with a number of well-trained PR teams, working for Saakashvili, Yushchenko, and Poroshenko. In turn, these political figures didn’t even make an attempt to hide the fact that they were completely dependent on the United States.
Now, Washington is concentrating its attention on the Central Asian republics of the former USSR. In recent years, it has been particularly active in Uzbekistan, which is becoming increasingly pro-Western. However, in a bid to promote its agenda across Central Asia, the United States has also spent a lot of time and resources on Kazakhstan, which is not just the largest of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, but has a self-sufficient economic and military force with significant potential.
To successfully fulfill the plan of drawing Kazakhstan away from Russia, Washington has been consistently building up its bilateral trade volume with Nur-Sultan, which resulted in the Kazakh government announcing that the United States has recently become the second largest foreign trade partner of Kazakhstan, pulling far ahead of both China and Russia. The first on this list is the Netherlands, which looks particular since this Central Asian country has a long stretch of common border with Russia and traditions that bind it together with its largest neighbor. At the same time, some 8,600 companies from Russia and 1,200 companies from China are operating on a regular basis in Kazakhstan, which overshadows 497 American companies working there.
It’s hardly a secret that Washington has vested interests in Nur-Sultan’s natural resources, since back in 2017 its investments in the Kazakh mining reached 91% of all investments made in this industry that year. As it becomes evident from taking a glance at the bilateral trade balance, Washington took a neo-colonial approach in its cooperation with Kazakhstan as in the first quarter of 2018, the US sold to Nur-Sultan 583.9 million dollars worth of products, while buying an amount 23 times lower!
Against this background, Washington has had no trouble in obtaining permission from local authorities to use Kazakh ports for the transit of its cargoes, which in turn resulted in the rapid expansion of its diplomatic mission to this republic. According to some reports, the US has recently increased the number of permanent diplomats operating in the US embassy in Nur-Sultan by 65 employees, bringing the total number of diplomats to over a hundred.
In late March, the recently elected president of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev received credentials from the new US ambassador to Nur-Sultan, William H. Moser.
This career diplomat began his service back in the 1980s, working in Ukraine, Egypt, Suriname, Mali and other countries. In the period from 2011 to 2015, Moser was the US ambassador to Moldova, the exact period that was marked by political unrest within this country. This unrest was fomented with the same goal in mind of drawing Kishinev away from Moscow, which laid the foundation for the formation of a new political elite in Moldova loyal exclusively to the United States.
Over the years, Moser would also occupy a number of positions in Washington, including the position of deputy executive director of European and Eurasian Affairs and director of the bureau of Overseas Building Operations under the US State Department. In July 2011, Moser was awarded with a medal by the US Department of Defense for his “outstanding civil service.”
William Moser is no stranger to Kazakh politics, as he used to occupy the position of economic affairs officer at the US embassy in Almaty (before it was renamed to Nur-Sultan).
However, one can’t help but wonder if Moser’s return to Kazakhstan seeks to carry on developing bilateral economic ties or does he have something much more sinister in mind?
Let us not forget that in recent years Washington has attempted to reduce the influence of both China and Russia. Washington even invented the C5+1 format that would be advertised as a platform for dialogue and cooperation between the five Central Asian nations and the US. This format was designed to provide Washington control over the state of relations between the five Central Asian states with Moscow and Beijing, creating a counter-balance to the EAEU, as well as China’s One Belt – One Road initiative.
Therefore, the main goal that Moser attempting to pursue in Kazakhstan is the bolstering of the internal opposition to the sitting government. It’s no coincidence that the number of American NGOs operating in this country has also been increasing steadily. Among them is the notorious Soros Foundation, which has become known for its subversive tactics employed in many countries to topple legitimate governments, as well as NGOs sponsored by the equally notorious United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is closely linked with US intelligence agencies. Among the notions that such NGOs promote is the idea of Kazakhstan joining the so-called Open Government Partnership as well as the Westernization of the media market being promoted by Sores-affiliated bodies.
A separate predominant direction of American NGOs in Kazakhstan was “language and cultural Westernization”, aimed at closing Russian schools, outlawing the use of the Russian language and subsequent linguistic romanization. For example, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has been promoting anti-Russian sentiments among the Kazakh youth and representatives of various minorities for a over decade using money allocated by the US Department of State.
In recent years, pro-Western forces have been making all sorts documentaries claiming that Russia was engaged in the genocide of the Kazakh people, although at that time when said events were taking place the government of Kazakhstan was comprised of Ukrainian nationals, not Russians.
But perhaps the most serious goal that the US embassy in Nur-Sultan has set before itself is an all-out support of local opposition, which is comprised of three main groups: the so-called national-patriots, the so-called democratic opposition and radical Islamic fundamentalist forces. At the same time, it is quite remarkable that all these forces allegedly pursuing different visions of Kazakhstan’s future are vocal opponents of any form of rapprochement between Kazakhstan and Russia. Those forces are reminiscent of the crowd that Washington would sponsor in pre-Nazi coup Ukraine within the framework of the TechCamp program.
That is why it is safe to say that William Moser is going to be fairly busy for the next couple of years, as he will be required to steadily increase the number of employees of the US embassy and American NGOs operating in Kazakhstan.
Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”