U.S. actions in Central Asia spell ‘blowback’
Many of the ingredients necessary for Islamic radicalism exist in Central Asia — especially U.S. support for repressive regimes.
Kazakhstan, a former Soviet Republic in Central Asia and the world’s ninth-largest country, is oil-rich and pro-American, has an increasingly repressive government awash in corruption and a 47 percent Moslem population. Those are many of the conditions that have allowed radical Islam to take root in the Middle East.
The Bush administration, by appeasing Kazakhstan for its oil and accommodation of U.S. troops, risks contributing to the creation of a new Iraq or Afghanistan on a giant scale.
This is just the beginning of a plausible Central Asian nightmare scenario. Numerous other former Soviet republics, including Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrkyzstan, are similarly ripe for Islamic radicalization in a region that stretches from Europe to China.