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Ethnic Conflict and CENTCOM Policy for the Central Asian Republics

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This paper identifies a possible shortfall in US military planning, the experience of CENTCOM planners in dealing with the Central Asian States. Their emphasis is understandably focused on Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan. This paper will develop for these planners the most likely threat to stability in CENTCOMs AOR ethnic conflict caused by spillover from neighboring countries. This paper will also attempt to counter critics in the JanuaryFebruary 2000 Foreign Affairs who maintain that our obtuse military ties are not sensible nor sustainable. They describe our current activities as a manner reminiscent of ill-advised US activities in Latin America in the 1970s. All of these condemnations from Jaffe and Manning, although most unfounded, are perceptions that senior economists and political scientists hold. This paper will help CENTCOM fire for effect in developing and implementing a dynamic engagement strategy in this important region. The paper develops the theoretical framework of ethnic conflict, generated both internally and from spillover. Then this framework is applied to Central Asia, illustrating it as a complex region of numerous ethnic groups in a bad neighborhood with some powerful bad neighbors. These neighbors, as well as the United States have vital interests in engaging in this region. Those interests, derived from the NSS, revolve around vital, important, and tertiary interests including humanitarian issues. WMD proliferation and transnational drug smuggling are major threats while Central Asian resources and US influence and credibility are major goals of US and CENTCOM involvement here. This involvement has been seemingly disjointed and even at odds with other governmental agencies. CENTCOM activities, currently limited to only three of the five republics is rated on effect and analyzed into general courses of action.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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