American policy towards Russia and the so-called independent states

The recent uprising in Kyrgyzstan is not an expression of random chaos or public frustration, but is part of a well-crafted American plan to wrest the Balkans, Baltics, Caucasus and the Central Asian states away from Russia’s sphere of influence. The foundations of this plan were laid in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

On 01/03/92, the US congress passed the Freedom Support Act, which became the foundation of US policy towards Russia and curbing her influence in the Balkans, Baltics, Caucasus and Central Asia. The act was officially known as the ‘Freedom for Russia and Emerging Eurasian Democracies and Open Markets Support Act of 1992′ or the `FREEDOM Support Act’.

The act clearly defines which countries are to be targeted by American policy makers. Section 3 of the act states, ‘For purposes of this Act, the terms `independent states of the former Soviet Union’ and `independent states’ mean the following: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

The aim of the act is to support the spread of freedom and democracy throughout these states and to, to curve open their markets to American companies. The Act states ‘the United States is especially well-positioned because of its heritage and traditions to make a substantial contribution to this transition -¦ by assisting in the development of democratic institutions, and by fostering conditions that will encourage the United States business community to engage in trade and investment; failure to meet the opportunities presented by these developments could threaten United States national security interests-¦’.

Furthermore, the Act goes on to provide in some detail the scope of America’s engagement in cultivating democratic and economic reforms in these countries. The Act states `The President is authorized to provide assistance to the independent states of the former Soviet Union under this chapter for the following activities:

DEMOCRACY – establishing a democratic and free society by fostering:

(a). Political, social, and economic pluralism;

(b). Respect for internationally recognized human rights and the rule of law;

(c). The development of institutions of democratic governance, including electoral and legislative processes;

(d). The institution and improvement of public administration at the national, intergovernmental, regional, and local level;

(e). The development of a free and independent media;

(f). The development of effective control by elected civilian officials over, and the development of a non-political officer corps in, the military and security forces; and

FREE MARKET SYSTEMS – Creating and developing private enterprise and free market systems based on the principle of private ownership of property, including:

(a). The development of private cooperatives, credit unions, and labor

(b). The improvement in the collection and analysis of statistical

(c). The reform and restructuring of banking and financial systems; and

(d). The protection of intellectual property.’

The Act also stipulates that US assistance to the independent states is dependent upon the accomplishment of the aforementioned goals. But this has been selectively applied.

Both the Democrats and the Republican administrations have used the Act to define policies and undertake political maneuvers which were designed to limit Russia’s influence in the Balkans, Caucasus and the Central Asian states.

During Clinton’s administration, managing the fallout from the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the division of Bosnia, the intervention in Kosovo, the removal of Milosevic from power, US involvement in Armenia/Azerbaijan conflict was a manifestation of this policy. Although the Clinton administration encouraged democracy and free market reform in other independent states, it was not until the Bush administration’s ascendancy to power that fruits of the ‘Freedom Act’ began to materialize.

In 2004, the US initiated uprisings in Georgia and Ukraine, thereby commencing an intense struggle between Russia and America over the political destiny of these countries. In his speech on 02/24/05 in the Slovak capital Bratislava, U.S. President George Bush said, “In recent times, we have witnessed landmark events in the history of liberty, a Rose Revolution in Georgia, an Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and now, a Purple Revolution in Iraq.”

Bush capitalized on the events of 9/11 to force open many of the Central Asian States to US military aid in exchange for air bases and other military facilities. Nonetheless, his first administration was limited in what it could achieve in this area, as it was pre-occupied with the events in Afghanistan and Iraq, and failed to make any headway in the remaining independent states.

But by replacing Colin Powell and Richard Armitage with a fresh team, the Bush administration has signaled that it intends to pursue an aggressive policy towards Russia and the remaining independent states.

The appointment of Condoleeza Rice as Secretary of State, Robert Zoellick, former Trade Representative as her deputy, Nicholas Burns former Ambassador to NATO as her assistant and Robert Joseph from the National Security Council (NSC), indicates that the US is going to devote more time in asserting US dominance in the Balkans, Baltic, Caucasus and Central Asia

Rice, Zoellick, Burns and to a lesser degree Joseph are experts on Russia. With the top four jobs in the State department going to Russian experts, one can expect over the next four years that America will be locking horns with Russia to determine the future of these states.

This can be confirmed by the numerous speeches given by both Rice and Bush regarding Russia and its influence in the so-called independent states. On the 01/19/05, at Rice’s Senate confirmation hearing she cited Belarus as an outpost of tyranny where freedom is suppressed. She said, “To be sure, in our world, there remain outposts of tyranny, and America stands with oppressed people on every continent, in Cuba, and Burma, and North Korea, and Iran, and Belarus, and Zimbabwe.” She further went onto criticize Russia and said, “the concentration of power in the Kremlin to the detriment of other institutions in Russia was a real problem”. She said the Bush Administration would “continue to make clear that the protection of democracy in Russia is vital to the future of US-Russian relations.”

On the 02/05/05 on her visit to Turkey she again criticized Russia in a joint press conference with the Russian Foreign Minister and said, “We will continue to talk to the Russians about it, because we really do believe that a more democratic foundation in Russia, as Russia makes a transition from a totalitarian state to a democratic state, that a firmer foundation for that will indeed strengthen and underscore and put real further substance into a deepened relationship with the democracies in Europe and indeed with the United States.” In February, 2005 Bush said, “We must always remind Russia, however, that our alliance stands for a free press, a vital opposition, the sharing of power and the rule of law – and the United States and all European countries should place democratic reform at the heart of their dialogue with Russia.” He also warned Russia in conjunction with the US congress about using economic measures such as blocking Russia’s WTO and G8 memberships until Russia reverses its course towards undermining democracy.

In particular, America has been incensed at Putin’s efforts to centralize power, muzzle the media, incarcerate wealthy oligarchs, nationalize oil companies and subvert elections of governors.

The reason behind America’s aggressive stance towards Russia and her posturing towards the independent states is that America will soon be facing an energy crisis at home. The war in Iraq and the high-energy demands at home has meant that American companies are forcing the Bush administration to look to alternative energy supplies to meet America’s energy requirements. Hence, America is desperate to gain access to the energy reserves of Russia and the Caspian Sea. Furthermore, America wants to control and transport the energy reserves of the Caspian Sea and this requires that countries in Caucasus, Balkans, Baltics and Central Asia are made free from Russian influence and re-integrated into America’s security and economic framework.

Again the basic tenets of this framework were laid out in the freedom support act of 1992. The Act provides some insight into America’s desire to control the huge energy reserves of the Caspian Sea and its transportation. The Act states ‘The Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee should utilize its interagency working group on energy to assist United States energy sector companies to develop a long-term strategy for penetrating the energy market in the independent states of the former Soviet Union-¦work with representatives from United States business and industry involved with the energy sector to help facilitate the identification of business opportunities, including the promotion of oil, gas, and clean coal technology and products, energy efficiency, and the formation of joint ventures between United States companies and companies of the independent nations.”

Therefore, what is being witnessed in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan is a longstanding American plan to wrest control of this region from the influence of Russia. The preferred method is through encouraging uprisings against the existing regimes that are all too often pro-Russian.

America has channeled million of dollars through so-called Non-Governmental Organizations like Freedom House to recruit agents, penetrate civil institutions, enable free media, encourage political dissent and foment public anger to pro-Russian regimes. The money earmarked for democracy programs in Kyrgyzstan alone totaled about $12 million in 2004. Wealthy American capitalist and their corporations support these so-called democracy organizations. For instance Freedom House is supported by The Ford Foundation, The Soros Foundations, Unilever United States Foundation, US Agency for International Development, US Department of State, Whirlpool U.S. Steel. Worse still its Chairman, James Woolsey is a staunch neoconservative and former CIA director. Their real motive is not to liberate the people from the despotic rule of pro-Russian governments, but to liberalize the economy under American hegemony so that American corporations can plunder the wealth of these states.

It is expected that the rivalry between Russia and America over the so-called independent states will intensify in the coming months. But unlike the Middle East and the wider Muslim world, America is only prepared to use soft power and diplomacy to accomplish these goals. It appears that America will continue to use hard power against the Muslim world via the Pentagon to achieve US strategic objectives.