02:03 GMT +328 May 2017
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    Will Obama repeat Bush's mistakes in Central Asia?

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    MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Dmitry Kosyrev) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said during a recent one-day visit to Brussels that President Barack Obama wanted to consult with allies on a strategy review due to be completed this month and Washington would "expect everyone to keep whatever commitments were made in arriving at that joint strategy."

    The results of the review will be discussed at the NATO summit in early April, to be held on the border of France and Germany.

    In fact, Biden's visit focused on Afghanistan, where the U.S. will dispatch 17,000 troops to reinforce its 39,000 group there. Claiming that instability threatens all of the alliance's members equally, the Obama administration has called on the allies to provide more troops and equipment to fight insurgents in Afghanistan.

    NATO has about 25,000 non-American troops in the country and the allies are reluctant to increase their contribution.

    Why don't they want to send more troops to Afghanistan? Analysts say the answer is simple. First Bush quarreled with everyone who offered help in Afghanistan, namely Iran, Russia and Central Asian countries. And then he tried to shift part of his mistakes onto European allies, who are unwilling to pay with their citizens' lives for the mistakes others made.

    The Bush administration sincerely believed that "spreading democracy" to Afghanistan would win the war, that this was the true objective and method of waging the war. This turned potential allies into enemies, because the Central Asian states think the U.S. started the Afghan war to change the regional regimes into local analogues of Georgia's Saakashvili and Ukraine's Yushchenko, and that it began with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

    Iran, China and Russia think the war could be Washington's attempt to reduce their influence in Central Asia to zero.

    For example, Uzbekistan closed the U.S. airbase at Karshi-Khanabad, also known as K2 and Stronghold Freedom, in 2005 amid strained relations caused by the May 2005 unrest in that Central Asian country.

    Washington and its allies saw the crackdown on opposition in Uzbekistan's Andizhan in 2005 as the shooting of freedom fighters.

    This did not result in international isolation of Uzbekistan, whose economy started growing, by 7% annually, with lavish foreign investment, which increased by 46% in 2008 alone.

    Moreover, Uzbek President Islam Karimov allowed the U.S. to use the K2 base free of charge because Afghanistan also threatens that country's stability.

    Next the U.S. engineered a "color revolution" in Kyrgyzstan in 2005 by financing a host of its NGOs there. Americans paid for the lease of the Manas airbase, and the Kyrgyz authorities even raised the fee 11-fold over the past four years. But this year they decided to close it "for domestic political considerations."

    According to available information, Moscow did not encourage Kyrgyzstan's decision, although Washington will never believe this. Kyrgyzstan closed the base because of the disastrous U.S. policy in Central Asia, which created a situation in which it is now better not to be friends with Washington.

    The Obama administration will certainly review its foreign policy, and the change may possibly facilitate the solution of Afghanistan's problems.

    The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

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