Obama’s Byzantine Style In The ‘Greater Middle East’ – OpEd
For the last few years the incumbent US administration was adhering to a new, more sophisticated principle in foreign policy: to act overseas by means of its allies and to promote American initiatives as multilateral through the international organizations.
Thus, the war against Libya was unleashed by France, and the US was carrying out merely ‘supportive’ functions. The Modern Silk Road project is initiated by Turkey while the United States is a “neutral but enthusiastic supporter” . The Arab League is churning out petitions to overthrow legitimate, but undesired leaders. In October 2011 the UN resolution against Syria was proposed by France, UK, Germany and Portugal, and the US was just ‘seconding’ it together with Colombia, Nigeria, Gabon and Bosnia. This is indeed a smarter and subtle tactics if compared with the cowboy pounces of the previous administration: now the wastes and risks lay on the others. A comprehensive theoretical backing for such approach was made by Joseph Parent from the University of Miami and Paul MacDonald from the Wellesley College in their latest article in the Foreign Affairs .
The United Nations Organization, the major mechanism for conflict management, is being turned into multilateral extension of the State Department aimed to legitimize its one-side initiatives internationally. Washington is also trying to get use of separate UN bodies in American interests. The IAEA for example serves to pressure Iran. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime is an instrument to interfere into post-Soviet Central Asia. The Hague-based International Criminal Court, another UN institution created in 2002 to fight crimes against humanity, serves to prosecute the leaders of the states who have refused to enter global matrix designed by the US strategists. Ironically, the 1998 Rome Statute establishing the ICC was never ratified and was ‘unsigned’ by the US in 2002. Most recently UNESCO, another UN body located in Geneva, was financially ‘punished’ by the United States and several allies for admittance of Palestine into this organization.
Another favorite American maneuver is to facilitate ‘regional’ organizations thousands of miles away from its borders being joined by the US as a member or observer. The Washington curators used to repeat to local authorities: ‘It is your idea, your structure, we are just assisting you…’, but at the same time obtain efficient mechanisms and abundant opportunities to influence remote domains.
As a pretext to create such mechanisms the United States prefers raising the flag of ‘cooperation in the name of common interests’. Now, when the standard bugaboo of international terrorism turns politically unsuitable (since quite recently the global elites decided to use the blind Islamist underground as an agent of regression for the third world), they have returned to play off a card of ‘anti-narcotic cooperation’, this time in post-Soviet Central Asia. The paradox of argumentation applied to justify the deeper US penetration into this region still under strong Russian influence is that it should be done ‘to dispel Russian concerns over the consequences of withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan’. If the United States is so much concerned about the drug trafficking in Central Asia, why did they refuse to fight it inside Afghanistan where they had 140 thousand-strong contingent? They still maintain clandestine contacts with a number of ‘field commanders’ who are ‘securing’ US/NATO convoys and drug-trafficking routes at the same time. Nevertheless they prefer to wait until the stuff is spread throughout thousands of locations in Central Asia and then to establish operational, training and intelligence-sharing cooperation with the states subject to heroin attack. One of such mechanisms is the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors (CARICC) launched in 2009 under the aegis of UNODC. The institution uniting several anti-narcotics agencies of post-Soviet Central Asian states, is funded by a number of NATO countries (US, UK, Italy, Canada, Turkey, France, Czech Republic), Finland and Luxemburg, all investing $15,4 million into the project. These states plus Afghanistan and Pakistan have acquired the status of observers and have access to all data bases of the Centre. According to the documents revealed by Wikileaks, CARICC mandate might be ‘broadened to encompass all transnational crime rather than just counter-narcotics’.
Interestingly, after the failure of US attempts to channel several CARICC training programs through NATO-Russia Council or OSCE (Washington tried not to publicize the fact that US CENTCOM was among the key sponsors of these programs), Assistant Secretary William Brownfield, the head of the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs has announced a new Central Asian Counternarcotics Initiative, (CACI) in June 2011. This initiative would apparently lead to the creation of elite special units similar to notorious CIA-backed death squads that committed a number of resonant extrajudicial killings in Latin America and other countries during the Cold war. Mr. Brownfield’s background and his Central Asian agenda were perfectly analyzed by Nil Nikandrov quite recently .
The Canadian political analyst Peter Dale Scott has concluded in his famous book ‘American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan’ that the increase of drug trafficking occurs because of, and not despite of, American efforts. He is seconded by another well-known researcher of the CIA involvement into drug trade, Alfred McCoy, who stated that where and when the United States conduct ‘a war against narcotics’, the production of stuff usually increases .
Those in Central Asia who are ready to play American game should be aware of their destiny. It is equal to one of several Central American countries in 1980s: the role of cannon-fodder on service of American interests, years of bloody civil wars, and backwardness for decades. Do their leaders understand the rules of the game they are being involved? Do they want the same future as it is the present in Afghanistan, where the nation is torn by both internal extremism and foreign occupation? The point of non-turn is still not crossed. The sequence of coup-d’états carried out by narco cartels supervised by the US intelligence agencies, widespread massacres and foreign occupation are a likely, but not imperative future for Central Asia.
1. Andrew Kuchins, Thomas Sanderson, David Gordon: The Northern Distribution Network and the Modern Silk Road – Planning for Afghanistan’s Future // Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). December 2009. P.3. http://csis.org/files/publication/091217_Kuchins_NorthernDistNet_Web.pdf
2. Joseph M. Parent, Paul K. MacDonald: The Wisdom of Retrenchment – America Must Cut Back to Move Forward // Foreign Affairs. November/December 2011.
3. Nil Nikandrov: US Drug War Against Russia Waged From the Asian Foothold, Strategic Culture Foundation, December 10, 2011.
4. Alfred W. McCoy The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. Lawrence Hill Books, Second revised edition. 2003. P. 449.