Michael: Russia & China Demand U.S. Get Out of Central AsiaIn what is likely the most important overlooked story in recent months the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO, or the Shanghai Five) which includes Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, issued a joint statement demanding the withdrawal of American forces from member countries. This is a surprising and troubling anti-American move that demonstrates a growing accord on security as well as development issues between member countries, especially Russia and China.
America has operated major bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan since 2001 in support of the Afghani and Iraqi wars and anti-terror operations in the region. The possible loss of these bases is a serious blow to American capabilities in the region. More disturbing than the immediate military impact of this development is the emerging anti-American alignment of the Shanghai Five under Chinese and Russian leadership. This alliance, should it continue to deepen, would represent a pan-Asian power bloc which could become a major economic and military rival in the future.
The deepest irony of such a development is that this is exactly the sort of rival power center which the Neo-Cons' Project for a New American Century was concerned about preventing. Following the doctrinal imperatives of that strategy document led us to war with Iraq, to a policy of unilateral foreign policy, and to a contentious and dictatorial diplomatic stance that has pushed other major powers into in each other's arms in order to counter us. Following PNAC may have helped create in the SCO exactly the rival that its authors feared.