Recently, reports in the media can be encountered more frequently about the active measures taken by the United States to develop relations with Uzbekistan. For example, in just the first few days of November, the US Trade Representation (USTR) announced that the process had been completed of verifying Uzbekistan’s compliance with the criteria outlined in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), to help ensure workers’ rights – something which had been going on since 2008 – and after that it announced that Uzbekistan would keep enjoying the right to deliver goods to the United States exempt from import duties. On November 1, the Joint Statement from the United States and Uzbekistan on Women, Peace, and Security was published.
Is this unusual activity on the part of the US in regard to Uzbekistan random? To answer this question, it is worth recalling how the forecasts for 2019 by the American geopolitical intelligence platform STRATFOR, and a number of other reports, have repeatedly noted that the United States is taking a course to strengthen ties with countries along the former Soviet periphery, where it will deploy its forces against Russia; to use American military terminology, “a multi-domain geopolitical war in the political, economic, energy, and military spheres”. As far as this Central Asian region that is strategic for Washington, is concerned, STRATFOR emphasizes that here the US is most interested in Uzbekistan as “a key player among the entire former Soviet Central Asian five”. STRATFOR experts consider one of the important aspects of the confrontation with Russia to be a qualitative change in the military component inherent in the US relations with this Central Asian state, with a special focus on cooperating in Afghanistan.
Military cooperation between Uzbekistan and the United States reached a particularly high level after the terrorist attacks that were committed on September 11, 2001: then the United States even deployed its own military base in the republic, which was used to support operations in Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan became one of the key US allies in Central Asia. However, after the “Andijan events” in 2005, which elicited criticism from Washington directed toward the Uzbek authorities, the situation changed, relations between the two countries deteriorated, and against this backdrop the Uzbek authorities advocated expelling American forces from the republic.