A recent editorial on the website of Voice of America reflected on last year being one in which the United States solidified relations with the five former Soviet republics in Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The VOA feature mentioned above cited a speech by U.S. Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr., who two years ago succeeded Richard Boucher in that role.
The speech, delivered at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston, Texas was titled “The Obama Administration’ s Priorities in South and Central Asia.”
Shorn of superfluous banter and obligatory diplomatese, his address accentuated American geopolitical designs in an area which Blake highlighted as being of vitally important interest to Washington:
“Central Asia lies at a critical strategic crossroads, bordering Afghanistan, China, Russia and Iran, which is why the United States wants to continue to expand our engagement and our cooperation with this critical region.”
Since the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union, Central Asia (with the Caspian Sea Basin on its western flank) has been the chessboard on which intensified international strategic positioning has occurred. It may be transformed into a battleground of conflicting 21st century geopolitical interests.