Why Trump’s meeting with the President of Kazakhstan was so important

The White House welcomed Nursultan Nazarbayev, president of Kazakhstan, for a meeting with US President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

It was the second time they met, the first time it took place in Saudi Arabia during Trump's visit there last May. This was the first working visit of the head of state of a Central Asian republic to the White House since the inauguration of Trump almost a year ago.

Nazarbayev's visit was timely and offered Trump the opportunity to demonstrate geopolitical security, security, and economic interests in Central Asia. I know. UU They have developed good relations with Kazakhstan since the 1990s. These ties are still strong, but more can be done.

Central Asia is a region often ignored by lawmakers in the United States until it is too late. At the beginning of the decade of 1990, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the EE. UU They began to seek relationships with these newly independent republics. But after a few years, that initial enthusiasm for commitment in the region disappeared.

This quickly changed, however, after the tragic events of September 11. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, the United States had to struggle to rebuild relations with the region. For several years, Central Asia acquired vital importance for the US antiterrorist operations. UU In Afghanistan.

But when President Barack Obama put an end to US-led combat operations in Afghanistan, the US commitment UU With Central Asia it declined.

What's next? for the USA UU in Central Asia

USA UU You need to show a more lasting and strategic commitment to the region and Nazarbayev's visit to the White House is a great place to start.

Central Asia has sat on a crucial political crossroads for the Eurasian landmbad for centuries. Kazakhstan is located in the heart of Eurasia and is a regional leader in issues of economy, security, counterterrorism and energy.

It is in the interest of the United States to have good relations with the countries of the region, especially Kazakhstan, which is the natural allied country there.

Kazakhstan is a country with a Muslim majority, but maintains a commitment to secularism in its political life. He is also a leader in the non-proliferation movement, having been one of the few countries in the world to renounce the nuclear weapons he had inherited from the Soviet Union.

Although Kazakhstan has not participated in the Astana process, a series of talks aimed at finding a political settlement for the fighting in Syria, did a good job hosting these one-year talks trying to end the bloodshed .

Kazakhstan is currently halfway through its two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and has been an important ally on the council in addressing the deadly nuclear aspirations of North Korea.

Nazarbayev came to Washington in search of clarity about the policy of the United States towards China as well.

Due to its geographical location and history, Kazakhstan a balance power. Kazakhstan has to balance its foreign and regional relations between Russia, the United States and China, without antagonizing any of these great powers.

After a year in power, it is clear how the Trump administration is going with Russia. He seems to take a difficult position against Russian badertiveness in Europe and Russia's involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.

However, there are still many questions with China. Until Washington becomes clearer, especially about the position of the United States on issues such as China's Belt and Road Initiative, a plan to create a modern version of the old Silk Road trade routes, it will be more difficult for Kazakhstan to manage its relations. 19659002] The situation becomes even more complicated when the role of secondary actors such as Syria, Iran and North Korea in the formulation of US policy is taken into account. UU Towards Russia and China.

It's not about taking sides. Kazakhstan is in a complicated region of the world, and it is in the interest of the United States to maintain cordial relations with all its neighbors.

Nazarbayev's visit also comes after the newly launched national security strategy. According to the strategy, EE. UU "It will look for Central Asian states that are resistant to the domination of rival powers, that resist becoming jihadist refuges and prioritize reforms."

But to achieve these goals, the United States must show that it is a serious player in the region, not through words, but through actions.

Another aspect of the national security strategy worthy of mention is that Central Asia is recognized as important for the military mission in Afghanistan once again. [19659002] A key point of the administration's Afghan strategy is to pressure Pakistan to end its support for the Taliban and badociated groups. A consequence of this approach with Islamabad could be that the land and air refuelings that transit through Pakistani territory could be cut or paralyzed all together. If this happens, Central Asia would once again be vital to the military effort in Afghanistan.

As the national security strategy says:

We will insist that Pakistan take decisive action against the militant and terrorist groups that operate from its territory. We will work with the Central Asian states to guarantee access to the region to support our anti-terrorist efforts.

Kazakhstan is at the heart of a region where many of the United States' global challenges are facing, be it energy security, nuclear non-proliferation or greater China, a resurgent Russia, Afghanistan on the edge, or the growing threat of extremism.

If the United States wants to be a serious player in Eurasia, where it has so many interests, then it can not ignore Kazakhstan.

The best way for the United States to move forward through these challenges is to have a strong bilateral relationship with Kazakhstan. This is the reason why Nazarbayev's visit is so important.

No president of the United States. UU In service he has visited a republic of Central Asia since they gained independence in 1991. The president must correspond to Nazarbayev's visit in the near future.

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