03.12.2019 Author: Vladimir Platov

New US Ambassadors to Central Asia – the Testament of Growing US Interest


Carrying on the discussion about the role Central Asia plays in Washington’s grand designs and the tactics it employs to ensure its expansion in this region of the world, one cannot omit the criteria it employs to hand-pick ambassadors sent to regional capitals to advance Washington’s agenda.

In this regard, it’s only logical to cite Professor of International Affairs of the Pennsylvania State University, Dennis Jett who stated that:

In every other developed democratic country, the role of ambassador, with only very rare exceptions, is given to career diplomats who have spent decades learning the art of international relations. In the U.S., however, many ambassadors are untrained in diplomacy.

This matter became even more relevant after a series of scandals prompting interest both in the media and the US Congress regarding the role of non-career ambassadors damaging Washington’s ties with various states of the world. It came to a point when US Representative Ami Bera introduced legislation that would require at least 70% of a president’s ambassadorial appointments to come from the ranks of career Foreign Service officers and civil servants.

Returning to the matters of Wahington’s designs in Central Asia, it’s noteworthy that the White House has been appointing people with an extensive military background and first-hand experience in supervising government coups as US ambassadors to Central Asian countries for quite some time now.

Thus, Washington’s special interests in Uzbekistan, previously discussed by the American intelligence company Stratfor, are going to be advanced by its new ambassador to this country, Daniel Rosenblum, who arrived in Tashkent last July. It is noteworthy that Rosenblum holds an MA degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, with the same foundation hosting the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute – the key American think tank tasked with developing a strategy for shaping regional affairs. From 1997-2008, the now US ambassador to Tashkent held a variety of positions, including Deputy Coordinator, Director of the Eurasia Division, and Special Advisor for Economic Programs. That’s when he was tasked with overlooking preparations for a number of color revolutions in Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004) and Kyrgyzstan (2005). Therefore, there is no doubt that Washington has sent the “right man for the job” to Uzbekistan, and judging by his appointment it’s not hard to figure out the precise nature of his job.

The overall increased interest in Central Asia shown by the US and its ongoing preparations for “offensive actions” in this region are clearly indicated by the roster of new US ambassadors that have been sent to the region this year. It is an indicator that we can safely expect a number of “color revolutions” to shake up the region.

Thus, both the new US ambassador to Ashgabat retired colonel Matthew S. Klimow and his wife, Major Edie Gunnels, who arrived to Turkmenistan last June, have extensive military experience. It is unlikely that anyone in this regard may have doubts about the true goals of their role in overlooking a great many of purely military questions that the United States wants resolved in this Central Asian country and the region as a whole.

In March, William H. Moser was sent to Kazakhstan to serve as the new US ambassador. In 2011-2015, he was the US ambassador to Moldova, that is, during the years of an extensive political crisis in this country, which would soon be shaped by the age-old Washington narrative, pushing Nur-Sultan away from Moscow, with emphasis on laying the foundation of American influence through the preparation of “national cadres” loyal to the United States. Without a doubt, the main occupation of the US Embassy under his leadership will be the further expansion of the omnipresent influence of such American NGOs as the Soros Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which are already hard at work implementing the program of “language and cultural Westernization” of Kazakhstan, aimed at closing Russian schools, ousting the Russian language with the subsequent Latinization of the country, and inciting anti-Russian sentiments.

Although, out of all of the Central Asian republics, Tajikistan appears to represent the least amount of interest for Washington, the White House is taking into account the fact that that by controlling the political narrative in Dushanbe and using Tajikistan as a bridgehead, the United States can inflict damage upon both Russia and the PRC, which are described as Washington’s strategic adversaries. Against this background, the arrival of the leading State Department Russian specialist, John Mark Pommersheim, to Dushanbe in the capacity of a US ambassador is very telling. In the 1980s, he worked at the US Information Agency (USIA), and was transferred to Tajikistan after working at the US Embassy in Kazakhstan. It goes without saying that he knows Central Asia well. To date, the United States hasn’t had an opportunity to undermine Russia’s or China’s influence in Tajikistan, put it doesn’t mean that it will not continue trying. Washington could have resorted to hard power, by sending the same militants it controls in Afghanistan to Tajikistan, but so far it has been resorting to soft power. Relatively speaking, Pomersheim is no stranger to the “diplomacy” of reinforcing anti-Chinese and anti-Russian narratives through a network of NGOs.

At the same time, one should not forget that, in addition to actively opposing Russia and its influence in the Central Asian states, Washington’s opposition to China will be the primary goal that all new US ambassadors appointed this year to Central Asia will be tasked to uphold. Indeed, by controlling (or destabilizing) Central Asia, Washington could destroy the whole concept of the One Belt, One Road global initiative, which implies China’s reorientation from relying on sea routes to in-land routes. Moreover, there’s matters of exports of Central Asian hydrocarbons to China, and the way regional players can influence the Muslim population of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. It’s no secret that the successful destabilization and radicalization of Central Asia through the “assets” that Washington has managed to accumulate in Afghanistan may present a serious challenge to both China and Russia. That is why Washington needed precisely such “right men” to serve as US ambassadors in this region.

Vladimir Platov, an expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

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