03:34 GMT +3 hours31 July 2016
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This aeriel view taken through an airplane window shows Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, Monday, April 5, 2010

Washington Wants to Pour Millions of Dollars in This Country

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US warhawks have focused their efforts on the further encirclement of Russia, US author Jonathan Marshall writes, adding that Washington is taking aim at Russia's "underbelly."

The Great Game for dominance over Central Asia that started almost two hundred years ago is far from being over, American author Jonathan Marshall notes; this time, Washington is maneuvering to beef up its military presence "on Russia's underbelly."

"Last month, the Pentagon announced plans for $50 million in new military aid to Central Asia — with a focus on Tajikistan — to 'counter the Taliban, ISIL [an acronym for Islamic State], and other regionally-based terrorist groups, and to promote stability in the region.' The aid will also help the US military get its feet in the door by enabling 'interoperability and collaboration' with local partner armed forces," Marshall writes in his article for Consortiumnews.com.

To complicate matters further, the initiative has been kicked off amid NATO's military buildup in the Baltics and Eastern Europe. The alliance is providing substantial military aid to Ukraine and Georgia and holding joint military drills in close proximity to Russia's border on a regular basis.

Washington's Central Asian pivot is no news: after the collapse of the USSR the US jumped at the opportunity to establish close ties with former Soviet Republics in the region.

In December 2001, the US Air Force opened a military base in Manas, Kyrgyzstan, in order to support the Pentagon's military operations in Afghanistan. The base also became a transit point for US military servicemen.  However, in early June 2014 all US military forces withdrew from the region.

"The new military aid program, if approved by Congress, aims to offset reverses suffered by Washington in the region in 2014. That year the government of Kyrgyzstan closed a major US air base, which had been implicated in notoriously corrupt dealings with the country's former president," the author narrates, adding that Kyrgyzstan also joined the Eurasian Economic Union and abolished an aid agreement with Washington.

To maintain its status quo in the region, the White House began to woo Tajikistan, another former Soviet Republic in Central Asia.

However, Tajikistan has strong ties with other Eurasian players, including Russia, Pakistan and China. In light of this it is by no means certain that Washington will be able to win over the country's leadership.

"Tajikistan is already a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which promotes military cooperation and intelligence sharing with China, Russia and other member states," Marshall elaborates.

"Tajikistan is also a key transit country for a huge new gas pipeline slated to run from Turkmenistan to China. China's longer-run plans call for Tajikistan to become the first link in a planned commercial route from China to Europe's markets, called the Silk Road Economic Belt," the US author stresses.

Moreover, Moscow still enjoys "the strongest presence" in the country with several thousand troops deployed to ensure border security. Russia is planning to spend about $1.2 billion to train and equipment Tajikistan's army: by doing this the Kremlin hopes to prevent Afghani Islamists from penetrating into Russia.

However, neither Washington, nor Brussels is going to give up, the author stresses.

In addition to the Pentagon's latest offer "the European Union, also hoping to wean Tajikistan away from Russia, pledged 251 million Euros for development funding."

Marshall believes, however, that the project makes little if any sense:

"From the US perspective, perpetuating our mindless military competition with Russia in such distant lands is both counterproductive and inhumane. It's time for Washington to stop playing the Game."

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Tags:
New Silk Road, US military aid, air base, Afghanistan War, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Pentagon, European Union, Manas, USSR, Afghanistan, China, United States, Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan
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  • dvdgrg09
    As long as there are people willing to take dollars from a limitless supply and tuck them away for a rainy day, the Game will continue.
  • Bob Hoferer
    When the US admits the 'truth', that it's USD is NOT worth the paper it is printed on (it's expensive toilette paper) all HER (US) friends will abandon ship like swamped rats.
  • anne00marie
    However, Tajikistan has strong ties with other Eurasian players, including Russia, Pakistan and China. In light of this it is by no means certain that Washington will be able to win over the country's leadership.

    Doesn't BRICS offer a lot more than any colour revolution can?
  • ivanwa88
    The Saudi printing press is spluttering to a halt as will the US Treasury printing presses any day now! hold your breath for the announcement has to come from old President unless Trump is certain to win?

    THEN ALL THIS EXPANSIONISM JUST MELDS AWAY FOREVER FORGOTTEN!
  • seanrkearney
    Playing a dangerous game. Cornering a powerful opponent can never end well. Developing peaceful business links proposed by people like Donald Trump is the only sane and sensible way forward.
  • michael
    of course they shan't give up, they're like a mad dog with a bone.
  • michaelin reply toseanrkearney(Show commentHide comment)
    seanrkearney, with mutual benefits...:)
  • megargyin reply toBob Hoferer(Show commentHide comment)
    Bob Hoferer, The irony is that the source of this $50M etc is from Tadjikistan itself !

    The clever part of the US strategy is to sell its treasuries etc to countries Central Banks like in Tadjikistan etc & then to use the money paid for those instrument to destabilise the country that bought them!

    Its the trap than China & Russia must get away from to survive. When everyone is ready to swallow the bitter pill that USD has no value & take the hit then the Emperor's New Clothes will be seen for what they are.
  • jonathandavis909
    The Tajiks may accept American and European money, but not the strings attached that's not to the benefit to the people of Tajikistan. For home is where the heart is, and their heart is with Russia, not distant countries like U.S who are only bringing money for their own reasons.
  • aggttc
    Time to cut gas supply to EU
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