Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson
#45 - JRL 2008-208 - JRL Home
U.S. wants to be Central Asia's partner, not dictator - U.S. State Department

DUSHANBE. Nov 12 (Interfax) - The United States wants peace and stability in Afghanistan and in Central Asia in general, and is not struggling for the influence in the region with Russia or China, said U.S. deputy assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia George A. Krol.

On Wednesday Krol spoke at an international conference, "Central Asia and Afghanistan: challenges, opportunities and prospect," which is being held in the Tajik capital Dushanbe.

Some people are saying that the U.S. simply wants to dominate in this region because of its imperial ambitions or a desire to control local energy resources or simply to continue the same Great Game by deterring the ambitions of other powerful nations such as Russia or China, which want to dominate this region, Krol told the conference.

Such judgments a fantasy, he said, and pointed to other reasons why the U.S. is interested in stability in the region.

For the sake of its own security, the U.S. wants peace and stability to settle in Afghanistan and, more broadly, in Central Asia, the diplomat said.

No one can ignore Afghan drug trafficking, Krol said. The Afghan threats have reached our coast thousands of miles from here and taken away the lives of our citizens, said the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state.

The U.S. is not trying to seize power in Afghanistan or to dominate in Central Asia. The U.S. wants Afghanistan to be the center of and not a barrier for legal trade, a country capable of feeding its citizens and not a drug exporter, a stronghold of stability and not a terrorist haven or the center of lawlessness, extremism, intolerance and banditry, Krol said.

These U.S. interests are shared by all countries in this region, including powers such as Russia, China and Iran, he said.

The U.S. wants to cooperate with Afghanistan and Central Asia as a partner, and not as a dictator or a hegemon, Krol said.

The U.S. foreign policy with regard to Central and South Asian countries is pragmatic and based on inter-related goals: cooperation on security, economic development and democratic reforms, the U.S. diplomat said.