Tajikistan might become the next US target in the Central Asia for Washington political ambitions

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is increasing its presence in the Central Asia, particularly in Tajikistan through various economic, trade, healthcare and social projects. Only for the last 3 years the USAID has introduced a number of agriculture projects for the country’s farmers, has launched campaigns aimed at fighting Tuberculosis along with other projects involving funding of local prospective journalists, students, businessmen and entrepreneurs. According to the Agency, USAID investment strategy in Tajikistan involves large-scale and ambitious projects for the next 3-4 years that aim to increase the living standard in the country.

Even though the US impact and investments in Tajikistan’s economy cannot be underestimated, the history has assured that nothing is free and there is some certain price for every good that’s been done. Tajikistan, a small country in the Central Asia with poor economy but strong authoritative political system, could become a perfect potential target for US so-called democratization policy. Positive social and economic changes integrated by the United States in Tajikistan are building up a solid ground for lobbying Washington political ambitions in the country.

Fostering the pro-Western values in young people’s minds may undermine the country’s economy and political system in the future – the world has seen the US hand in attempting the coup of Venezuela, Ukraine and Turkey. And once the economic and trade compass of a US “ally” country contradicts to the US course, the result could be a trade war, as it was a case for China. For Tajikistan, а landlocked country with the agriculture-based economy such consequences may be far more than tragic.

The friendship of Tajikistan’s political elite with the United States has quite a thin basis– the historic, cultural, social and economic paths of the countries have little in common. By infusing money in Tajikistan’s economy, business and social projects the United States would likely start strengthening its political system by proposing candidates loyal to Washington. Given the upcoming elections in Tajikistan in 2020 and the 30th anniversary of the Republic next year, the US political ambitions in the country are quite clear. Once and if they are met the USAID projects and investments may wind down and the entire political system of the country might burst in quite a natural way. In this case, Tajikistan’s political future might inherit the Bolivia’s fate.

Uzbekistan’s energy pathways: at a crossroads between East and West

The new Russia-Uzbekistan nuclear plant agreement on cooperation in the construction of generation nuclear power plant (NPP) VVER-1200 reactor of 3+ generation in Uzbekistan seems to pose far more opportunities than it might seem. With the Tashkent’s critical need of non-costly energy resources, the project aims not only to foster Uzbekistan’s self-sufficiency and persistence in the energy sector, but also to launch national production and export of its own energy resources. Despite the plant is claimed to be of the ex-soviet prototype, the new industry will be equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and facilities by State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM, a global technological leader.

However, while Russia is likely to become a major energy partner for Uzbekistan, Tashkent will also continue developing energy construction projects along with the US and China. Earlier this year Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev visited the White House where President J. Trump proposed a plan for strategic partnership with Uzbekistan in various spheres. But while Uzbekistan-US cooperation in social, economic and educational development does not require industrial waste management and recycling, the cooperation in the nuclear and energy sector with the use of nuclear elements of the US origin and a lack of US recycling technologies may pose an ecological threat for the country.

China, for its part, willing to contribute to the modernization of the Uzbekistan’s energy sector bears more global motives rather than selling technologies to its geographical neighbors. Should Beijing become a nuclear partner of Tashkent it will obviously take over the control of the Uzbekistan’s energy infrastructure.

Certainly, the agreement between Uzbekistan and Russia is not going to meet the country’s entire demand for energy resources. However, with the current US-China trade confrontation and blur industrial management prospects both from Beijing and Washington, collaboration with Moscow seems to be a win-win opportunity for Uzbekistan at the moment.

US new media campaign in Tajikistan poses risk for president Rahmon

The United States are to start a new media campaign in Tajikistan that aims to prevent corruption and other violations by Tajik authorities.  Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the foundation «Eurasia of the Central Asia- Tajikistan» launched a series of training programs for local journalists earlier this years. The program allows professional journalists to learn about latest search engine technologies and media promotion tools to report leaked information about Tajik authorities as well as to learn about possible ways of legal protection against government sanctions and bans.

While the Tajik State Committee for National Security tightens the grip over the national media, a large part of the US media programs is being provided abroad in neighbor countries. For instance, in February 2017 a number of local journalists in collaboration with non-profit organization «InterNews Network» were sent to Armenia to take an internship in the local news agency «Hetq.am». As the program suggests, once the interns return back, they are supposed to perform media investigations on corruption and other misdemeanors pursued by high authorities in Tajikistan. In addition to that, the 3 local shooting teams will be selected to take up the training in the United States where they would master their skills in making documentary movies on human rights protection, as a part of the American project «Media Co-Op».

Meanwhile, among the project trainers are international experts who were involved in training of activists and protesters in color revolutions in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia. Given the fact that the project graduates are to be provided by financial and legal support from the United States they are likely to pursue investigations that would undermine credibility of the Tajik authorities and the President Emomali Rahmon. Which by no means rises a debate about future Tajik-US relations and real intentions of Washington policy in Tajikistan

Media campaigns and journalist trainings funded by the US are common in Tajikistan and around the Central Asia. Earlier last year the radio station «Ozodi» located in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe signed a sponsorship agreement with a number of foundations and financial institutions funded by American philanthropist and investor George Soros. As a result, the station openly criticized Dushanbe’s support for Moscow-Beijing economic cooperation, discouraged rapprochement of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in terms of water consumption, economic and cross-border cooperation and tried to prevent anti-terrorist cooperation between Dushanbe, Moscow and Beijing.

US Foreign Policy

From: Pulat Tacar [mailto:[email protected]]

Trump and his aides sow confusion by sending mixed signals on foreign affairs

The inside track on Washington politics.
President Trump seemed to contradict his State Department’s message on Sunday’s referendum in Turkey by congratulating its president on the result. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

By David Nakamura and Karen DeYoung By David Nakamura and Karen DeYoung

Politics

April 19 at 7:26 PM

As he nears his 100th day in office, President Trump’s efforts to appear decisive and unequivocal in his responses to fast-moving global crises have been undercut by confusing and conflicting messages from within his administration.

Over the past two weeks, policy pronouncements from senior Trump aides have often been at odds with one another — such as whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave power as part of a negotiated resolution to end that nation’s civil war.

In other cases, formal White House written statements have conflicted with those from government agencies, even on the same day. For example, Monday brought disparate U.S. reactions — supportive from Trump, chiding from the State Department — to the Turkish referendum this week that strengthened President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian rule.

Even when there is unanimity in the messaging — such as Trump’s boast, based on Pentagon statements, that a U.S. Navy “armada” was headed toward the Korean Peninsula — the administration was forced into the embarrassing admission a few days later that the strike group was, in fact, sailing in the opposite direction.

Where the USS Carl Vinson really was

On April 8, the Carl Vinson strike group was ordered to sail north from Singapore toward the Western Pacific, according to the U.S. Pacific Command. But a week later, the Navy published photos showing it was actually sailing in the opposite direction through the Sunda Strait near Indonesia. Where the USS Carl Vinson actually was (The Washington Post)

[Trump administration defends how it described ship movements amid North Korean tensions]

Although every administration experiences growing pains, the recent succession of mixed signals over key national security issues has stood out, painting a picture to some of an administration that has not fully developed its policies or a broader international agenda and whose key agencies are not communicating with one another — or the White House. It is a situation that has led foreign diplomats and congressional lawmakers to express uncertainty about the administration’s goals and about who is speaking on its behalf.

Former national security officials who served under both Republican and Democratic presidents emphasized that the Trump administration has been hampered by a president who has been slow to appoint hundreds of mid-level managers at Cabinet agencies, including the Pentagon and the State Department, and who has at times expressed disdain for the traditional interagency decision-making process.

The result is that the normally meticulous care that goes into formulating and coordinating U.S. government policy positions or even simple statements is often absent. Institutional memory is lacking, these former officials said, and mistakes and contradictions easily slip through the cracks.

“Part of it reflects the fact that these departments are not staffed, and they’re not operating at capacity or at speed,” said Stephen J. Hadley, who served as President George W. Bush’s national security adviser. “These Cabinet secretaries are kind of home alone, working with people that they really don’t know. They don’t have their own people in place, their policies in place, or processes in place yet.”

Inside Trump’s National Security Council, the agency charged with coordinating foreign policy decision-making and consistent messaging, the disarray has been palpable. Trump’s first choice for his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, was forced out amid revelations that he had misled senior officials, including Vice President Pence, about his communications with Russian officials before Trump took office.

Beyond his difficulties with the Russia issue, Flynn was unable, in the few weeks that he presided over the NSC staff, to establish a smooth decision-making process that could rationalize the often widely disparate views of Trump’s key White House advisers and new Cabinet members. His replacement, H.R. McMaster, moved quickly to consolidate power by pushing out Trump’s senior strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, who had initially been awarded a seat on the NSC “principals committee.”

McMaster has sought, with incomplete success, to exert more control over staffing and to establish a more disciplined process in place of what had been a largely ad hoc system. In the wake of Trump’s decision to authorize missile strikes on a Syrian airfield as retribution for the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons, McMaster said that the administration had held several NSC meetings, including with Trump aboard Air Force One and at his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, to develop and coordinate the military operation.

Yet those efforts were to some degree undermined when senior officials went on the Sunday political talk shows after the strikes and offered conflicting statements on Assad’s future. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the administration’s top goal was defeating the Islamic State, while Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said no resolution to the Syrian civil war was possible with Assad in power.

“Public diplomacy is a huge tool, presenting a united front, presenting a shared vision of how you approach global affairs — everything from the use of military force to sanctions,” said Jennifer Psaki, who served as the White House communications director and as a State Department spokeswoman under President Barack Obama. “When you have officials stating conflicting viewpoints, you’re sending a confusing message — not just to people in this country and to Congress, but confusing and conflicting messages to partners and allies around the world.”

Trump aides disputed the suggestion the administration was speaking with more than one voice. Michael Anton, the director of strategic communications at the NSC, said there was “nothing inconsistent” about the White House’s Syria policy.

“Defeating ISIS has always been the paramount goal, and nobody ever envisioned a long-term future for Assad,” Anton said, using an acronym for the terrorist group. He emphasized that there is “communication at every level, every day” among policy experts and among the communication staffs at the various agencies and the White House.

Most of the public statements made by the agencies are vetted through Anton’s office before they are released, he said.

But there is no permanent spokesman at either State or the Pentagon, making it difficult to keep up with the deluge of requests from reporters. Anton has three aides, while Obama’s NSC had up to seven people in the same division, according to former Obama aides.

This week, the Trump White House appeared to be on a different page than the State Department in the wake of the Turkish referendum that greatly expanded Erdogan’s powers. While the State Department emphasized the United States’ interest in Turkey’s “democratic development” and the importance of the “rule of law and a diverse and free media,” the White House statement said Trump had called to congratulate Erdogan and discuss their shared goal of defeating the Islamic State.

Anton said the statements were not in conflict, citing a “tension in U.S. policy goals.”

U.S. and Turkish officials said Trump and Erdogan planned to meet in person before a NATO summit scheduled for May 29-30 in Brussels.

“You want to keep a NATO ally, a partner in the strategic fight against ISIS,” he said. “You also have a national interest in democracy in Turkey. . . . Sometimes foreign policy requires making difficult choices and balancing interests that are in tension.”

[Trump plans to meet the Turkish president next month]

While some analysts spoke approvingly of a “good cop, bad cop” approach, none seemed sure whether that is what the administration had intended.

Outside experts said there were budding signs of maturation within the administration. They cited the decision-making process on the Syrian strikes and the glitch-free summit between Trump and Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago two weeks ago.

While 100 days is a traditional milestone at which the progress of a new administration is assessed, it is the wrong measure for the Trump insurgency, which promised to upend traditional ways of doing government business, Hadley said.

“There is a shakedown cruise for every administration,” he said. “This one is going to be longer and bumpier, precisely because of how they came to power. . . . The question is how it will look after the first 150 days or maybe 200.”

Former officials and foreign policy analysts viewed some of the administration’s policy reversals — including its renewed support for NATO and tougher tone on Russia — as the natural evolution from inexperience and lack of knowledge to confrontations with reality.

Still, events of the past week have raised concerns about consequences in a volatile world, where such missteps can be costly.

The administration’s erroneous statements about the location and direction of the USS Carl Vinson — an aircraft carrier that officials said was dispatched to the Korean Peninsula last week as a show of force against North Korea’s belligerence — were widely viewed as a simple “screw-up,” in the words of several former officials.

 

: The Queen’s Riddle

The Queens Riddle!!!

At the start of his tenure as president, Obama while visiting

the UK had dinner with the Queen. Obama, wanting to learn as

much as he could about governance, leaned toward her and asked;

“Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government? Are there any tips you can give me?”

“Well,” said the Queen, “The most important thing is to

surround yourself with intelligent people.”

Obama frowned, and then asked, “But how do I know if the

people around me are really intelligent?”

The Queen took a sip of champagne.

“Oh, that’s easy; you just ask them to answer an

intelligent riddle, watch.” The Queen pushed a button

on her intercom. “Please send Tony Blair in here, would you?”

Tony Blair walked into the room and said, “Yes, your Majesty?”

The Queen smiled and said, “Answer me this please, Tony.

Your mother and father have a child.It is not your brother,

and it is not your sister. Who is it?”

Without pausing for a moment, Tony Blair answered,

”That would be me.”

“Yes! Very good.” said the Queen.

Obama went back home to ask Joe Biden the same question.

“Joe, answer this for me. Your mother and your father have

a child. It’s not your brother and it’s not your sister. Who is it?”

“I’m not sure,” said Biden.

“Let me get back to you on that one.”

He went to his advisors and asked everyone, But none within

the administration could give him an answer. He even called

Hillary, she said, “Send in a donation, and I’ll put my whole

staff on it. Frustrated, Biden went to work out in the congressional

gym and saw Paul Ryan there.

Biden went up to him and asked, “Hey, Paul, see if you can

answer this question. “Your mother and father have a child,

and it’s not your brother or your sister. Who is it?”

Paul Ryan answered, “That’s easy; it’s me!”

Biden smiled, and said, “Good answer, Paul!” Biden then

went back to speak with President Obama.

“Say, I did some research, and I have the answer to that riddle.”

“It’s Paul Ryan!”

Obama got up, stomped over to Biden, and angrily yelled into his face,

“NO, you idiot! It’s Tony Blair!”

…AND THAT, MY FRIENDS, IS PRECISELY WHAT’S BEEN

GOING ON AT THE WHITE HOUSE FOR THE PAST EIGHT

YEARS!