(The National Interest) (Co-author: Scott Radnitz) While U.S. foreign-policy makers are currently preoccupied with the Middle East—chaos in Egypt, raging civil war in Syria and ongoing violence in Libya—military strategists are drawing up plans to deal with a region that many see as the next hotbed of instability: Central Asia. Long seen as a powder keg, according to the current thinking, the region is susceptible to extremism, violence, and instability emanating from Afghanistan and spilling across the border to the north.
It is of course important for government agencies to prepare for any eventuality, including the most dire. Yet we believe the alarmism in this case is based on faulty assumptions.
U.S. strategists have long imagined that chaos might spread from Afghanistan into Central Asia. In the 1980s, during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the CIA in fact tried to facilitate the spread of insurgency from the mujahedeen it was supporting to infect the Washington’s ideological rival to the north. Yet they found the majority of Soviet Central Asians unsympathetic to the Afghan cause. […]
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