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f_0023435_19178 - Americas Growing Stake in Central Asia...

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Fall 2011 The Ambassadors REVIEW 18 America’s Growing Stake in Central Asia Robert O. Blake, Jr. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs his year marks the 20 th anniversary of independence for the five republics of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. This anniversary is a good opportunity to reflect on America’s growing stake in Central Asia. Since 1991, our desire for a stable, independent, and prosperous Central Asia has guided US policy priorities in the region, with each of the five nations working towards building strong, market-oriented democracies. In recent years, the United States has sought to increase engagement with this region on a broad range of issues, particularly as we work to bring stability, security, and prosperity to Afghanistan, which borders three of the Central Asian republics. Located at the critical geostrategic crossroads of Eurasia, the region is rich not only in natural resources, economic opportunity, and human capacity, but also in its diversity of people, culture, and ideas. Just as the region was at the center of the Silk Road of centuries past, Central Asia has the potential once again to serve as a hub of trade, transport, and ideas in Eurasia, linking the people and markets of East and West, and North and South. We look forward to working with the Central Asian republics, their neighbors, and international partners to create a new Silk Road that integrates this strategically vital region and offers new opportunities for its people. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States embraced an ambitious foreign policy in Central Asia that remains the core of our efforts in the region today. Since 1991, we have sought to preserve the sovereignty of the Central Asian states, to eliminate Soviet-era weapons of mass destruction (WMD), to facilitate the development of the region’s energy reserves, and to foster cooperation, not only among the five republics, but also with the region’s neighbors and the United States. We also have encouraged political liberalization, the establishment of democratic institutions and practices, transparent governance, and full respect for human rights. In their twenty years of independence, the Central Asian states have made substantial progress in specific areas. They have solidified their sovereignty and renounced WMD. They have established productive relations within the region while preserving their autonomy and developing unique national identities. The Central Asian republics have pursued viable partnerships with the United States on a range of other critical issues affecting the region, most notably on security cooperation and Afghanistan. We hope all the countries of Central Asia will follow the example of Kyrgyzstan in pursuing political liberalization and greater respect for human rights.
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2012 for the course POLS 494 taught by Professor Garymoncrief during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.

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f_0023435_19178 - Americas Growing Stake in Central Asia...

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