From Kazakhstan With Love: A Lesson in Multipolarity

Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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4 Responses

  1. trizzlor says:

    Nor does it make sense to see everything through a US-centric (in this case Afghanistan-centric or War on Terror-centric) lens either.

    Yes! This point needs to be hammered until it sticks. The US either approves or supports many regimes that are un-Democratic (Saudi Arabia specifically comes to mind) because we share some common interests. However, when other countries act identically (see: Brazil to Iran, Turkey to Syria) we are supposed to see this is a direct attack on America and Democracy, and start priming sanctions (or military actions for the bolder pundits). Part of this is a natural psychological response: I know that my intentions are good, so any actions to the contrary are just collateral on the way to a more just future; my opponent, on other hand, has dubious intentions and any identical action on his part further underscores them. But part of it is also the media re-enforcing such a narrative and down-playing the totalitarian behavior of nations with which we have common enemies. The South Ossetian crisis was particularly egregious example of this, where Georgian instigation was portrayed as benevolent self-defense.Report

  2. Kyle says:

    Yes and no, right. I mean relations with Russia aren’t as warm as they could be. However, they too supported us in the War on Terror, quite critically and early on, so I’m not so convinced US foreign policy still stands on an US v. Russia standpoint.

    If anything, it seems we’d prefer to build strong bilateral relationships with CIS’ membership, Russia included and frown upon attempts by Russia to dominate and otherwise intrude on what we see as sovereign to sovereign relationships.

    I agree that US media coverage and analysis is very America-centric, but I’m less convinced our foreign policy approach towards the region is as inflexible as you suggest (though I could be misreading you Chris).

    If anything, I think this is indicative of how China’s increasing influence in Central Asia is emboldening the stans. The Russians and Chinese are quietly competing in Central Asia and if there is a divide between autocracies and the free world, it’s that the free world is adrift and reactionary, while the autocracies or rather demi-democracies behave like nation-states with national interests at stake.Report