Uncle Sam’s globe-trotting habit is taking him to Central Asia this month; for military exercises. As if the region needed American ‘peacekeeping’ efforts, some 500 troops from the US 82nd airborne regiment will participate in what are dubbed as exercises in the spirit of ‘Partnership for Peace.’
There are more than 200 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and perhaps 50 trillion cubic metres of gas in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea Basin. Such riches could keep the lights burning in the west for a long time.
Old habits dies hard. This time-worn refrain is as applicable to Russia today as it was when it existed in its communist mutation. Moscow has traditionally used the bogey of non-existent threats to maintain its grip on countries that it perceives as falling under its sphere of influence.
With Greece, Armenia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Russia, China and others engaged, to varying degrees, in attacking Turkish interests or blocking Turkish influence in Europe and Central Asia, Turkey is not short of enemies.
China has succeeded in securing the full support of its Central Asian and Russian neighbours to contain the growing tide of Islamic revivalism in its north-western autonomous region of Xinjiang...