Russia Warned Its SCO Partners About The Ulterior Motives Behind The US’ Central Asian Drills

Russia Warned Its SCO Partners About The Ulterior Motives Behind The US’ Central Asian Drills

By Andrew Korybko

The very fact that three of Russia’s CSTO military allies – one of whom Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev just claimed had survived a US-backed Colour Revolution plot – are participating in multilateral military drills in the part of the world that the US-led West misleadingly describes as Moscow’s “sphere of influence” discredits the Mainstream Media’s emerging information warfare narrative alleging that this Eurasian Great Power is colonialist, hegemonic, and imperialist.

All countries have the international right to practice an independent foreign policy, which includes cultivating ties with all countries whoever they may be so long as their relations aren’t aimed against any third parties. That said, sometimes those who are interacting with others don’t always consciously realize their counterpart’s ulterior motives that risk inadvertently prompting regional concern. Such is the case with respect to Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev’s latest meeting with his SCO counterparts where he warned them about the ulterior motives behind the US’ Central Asian drills according to previously unpublished fragments from his 19 August address reported by TASS.

That reputable outlet quoted him as saying that “I would like to reiterate to our partners that, above all, the Americans need such events in order to study the potential theatre of military operations, specify the positions of potential targets and adjust digital maps for high-precision weapons. I really hope that all the SCO member states by now realize the extremely high risks that these American initiatives present for our security.” His remarks were made in response to the ongoing US Central Command-sponsored Regional Cooperation 2022 exercise with the participation of the militaries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia and Pakistan which began in Tajikistan on August 10.

Nobody should doubt the geostrategic loyalty of Russia’s CSTO mutual defence allies in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, nor should anyone wonder whether Mongolia, Pakistan, and/or Uzbekistan are plotting to militarily backstab that Eurasian Great Power, since the point being conveyed is that they might not even be consciously aware of the US’ ulterior motives in sponsoring these drills. On the surface, each of them individually as well as collectively has the international right to independently participate in the exercises that this declining unipolar hegemon organized in Afghan-abutting Tajikistan, but they’re now at the very least aware of Russia’s concerns about them.

Afghan-Emanating Terrorist Threats Catalysed Closer Russian-Central Asian Military Integration” over the past 12 months since the US’ chaotic evacuation from that war-torn country following two decades of destructive occupation, yet that doesn’t mean that the Central Asian Republics (CAR) aren’t trying to preemptively avert any potentially disproportionate dependence on Russia. To that end, they appear to have collectively decided that their strategic autonomy can best be preserved by multi-aligning with that Great Power, China, the US, and even Turkiye, among others, with this policy taking the form of multilateral military cooperation in the examined context though it also involves other ties too.

What’s exceptionally curious about the latest drills though is that Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan’s participation in them very strongly implies that those countries disagree with Patrushev’s earlier reported remarks from the latest SCO Security Council Secretary meeting blaming the US for the unrest that they experienced in January and July respectively. Quite clearly, those two CAR’s leaderships don’t share their Russian counterpart’s strategic assessment of their brief domestic crises otherwise they presumably wouldn’t have taken part in these ongoing US-sponsored drills. This observation, however, shouldn’t be interpreted as implying any rifts between them since it’s natural for partners to disagree.

Therein lies the relevance of the multipolar worldview, which respects a diversity of opinions about whatever it may be without imposing any particular one onto others like America’s unipolar worldview always attempts to do. Furthermore, the very fact that three of Russia’s CSTO military allies – one of whom Patrushev just claimed had survived a US-backed Colour Revolution plot – are participating in multilateral military drills in the part of the world that the US-led West misleadingly describes as Moscow’s “sphere of influence” discredits the Mainstream Media’s (MSM) emerging information warfare narrative alleging that this Eurasian Great Power is colonialist, hegemonic, and imperialist.

Nevertheless, it must also be said that Russia’s recently expressed concerns about these drills are legitimate and therefore shouldn’t be ignored by its partners. That doesn’t in and of itself mean that they shouldn’t ever again participate in US-sponsored multilateral military drills, but just that they should be aware of how uncomfortable this makes Moscow, especially since it’s a mutual defence ally of three of those countries that are taking part in the ongoing exercises. Neither Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, nor Tajikistan can host any foreign forces without the consensual approval of all CSTO members per a decision made by their heads of state over a decade ago, but the others have no such legal obligation.

Returning to Patrushev’s assessment that the US is seeking “to persuade Afghanistan’s neighbouring states to create a supposedly temporary infrastructure for counterterrorist operations” in the region, which was also reported by TASS in the hyperlinked news source in the first paragraph of this analysis, it can therefore be surmised that Russia is most concerned about the possibility of non-CSTO-members Pakistan and Uzbekistan possibly hosting such forces in the future. It’s already widely suspected that the American drone employed for allegedly assassinating the Al Qaeda chief in Afghanistan earlier this month at the very least transited through Pakistani airspace, which if true, would be troubling for Russia.

Even though this wouldn’t as directly impact its most immediate security interests such as in the unlikely scenario that Uzbekistan decided to militarily cooperate with the US in secret on the pretext of supporting “counterterrorist operations” in Afghanistan and thus ended up letting that declining unipolar hegemon base some forces on its territory, it still carries with it the credible risk of indirectly harming those same interests. That’s because Pakistan’s “passive facilitation” of American drone strikes there could inadvertently result in destabilizing the situation by creating strategic opportunities for ISIS to expand exactly as Russia’s Ambassador to Afghanistan warned might happen after the latest strike.

With this understanding of those complex military-strategic processes in mind, observers can have a better appreciation of Russia’s relevant concerns connected to the ongoing US-sponsored multilateral military drills in Tajikistan that involve six SCO members. They all have the right to participate in them, but so too does Russia have the right to share its suspicions about the US’ ulterior motives, particularly with respect to scoping out the region and continuing to plot the clandestine deployment of its forces there on a “counterterrorism” pretext. Even if the worst that happens is that Pakistan continues “passively facilitating” the US’ strikes in Afghanistan, that’s still reason enough to be concerned.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Voice of East.

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Categories: Geopolitics, International Affairs

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