U.S. Dollar Can’t Buy “Yellow Revolution”
— “American-Style Democracy” Suffers a Setback in Kyrgyzstan
Source: Xinhuanet, March 17, 2005
On February 27 and March 13, the result of the Kyrgyzstani parliamentary election concluded with 71 out of 75 parliament members elected after two rounds of intensive debates. According to local political observers, 30 of the elected parliamentary members support the existing government and fewer than 8 support the opposition. Apparently, U.S. scheme to replace the current government and promote “American-Style democracy” in this small Central Asia country has failed.
Prior to this, the United States had already launched a series of “revolutions” in some of the Commonwealth of Independent States ( CIS) countries such as “Rose Revolution” in Georgia and “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine. Through these so-called revolutions, the United States managed to help its local pro-American political groups oust the former governments.
The United States has exhausted all kinds of methods to put Kyrgyzstan opponent in power. The local media reports revealed that the opponent media supported by the United States has spread rumors about the president having connections with the heads of Islam radicals and the current first lady accepting bribes and her intention to participate in the presidential election in the next term and so on. The purpose is to ruin the reputation of these leaders. The United States also sent delegations of experts to Kyrgyzstan to advocate and promote “American-style Democracy” and to provide expertise to the oppositions in the election. It has also provided large amount of funding to the oppositions for them to gain power. In the report to the U.S. Congress about the Kyrgyzstani parliament election, Steven Young, the U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, stated that the United States has provided Kyrgyzstan with at least 30 million dollars.
Then, why didn’t the United States get what it wanted after putting so much effort in Kyrgyzstan?
Some critics pointed out that firstly, seeing how the countries like Georgia and Ukraine suffered from chaos and damages during political crisis, Kyrgyzstan gained better understanding of the essence of the “American-style Democracy” promoted by the United States. The poll indicated two thirds of ordinary Kyrgyz people want social stability and oppose any forms of “color revolution.” Majority of the people find it disgusting what the United States has done on democracy and human rights. When people were offered money to go on the street and hold large-scale demonstrations, few responded. Some refused to accept the offer and even refuted to the bribers, ” If I sold myself to the United States for $10 today, we will not have our country tomorrow.”
Secondly, the Kyrgyz government’s vigorous propaganda plays a positive role in guiding the public opinion. For example, Kyrgyz Foreign Affairs Ministry issued two statements in February alone, strongly criticizing the U.S. policy in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz Prime Minister Tanaev and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Atimatov reiterated that there would not be any revolutions in Kyrgyzstan and there were no “premises” for revolutions in the country. Kyrgyz President Akayev published an “Open Letter to the People” calling the public to refuse any “color revolution” and to elect the most outstanding citizens into the parliament through fairness and honesty.
Kyrgyz media also repeatedly broadcast some propaganda programs to ensure a peaceful election and oppose the disturbance of social order. For example, footage in a TV program shows that a group of demonstrators in yellow clothes walked down the street with loudspeakers in their hands. A three- or four-year-old child who was playing nearby, was frightened and started to cry. Her parent ran over to hug and watched the chaos in fear. The demonstrators walked toward the farms. An elderly farmer stopped to sigh. A woman milking a cow was so flustered that she overturned the barrel full of milk. The real situation is just like that. At the end of February, when the demonstrators blocked a national highway in the northern region, many freight trucks carrying potatoes were stopped on the road, which brought many complaints from the farmers. Without doubt, the propaganda has created major impact among voters.
Thirdly, over the ten years of its independence, the Kyrgyz government has been working hard to develop its economy. Especially in recent years, the economy has seen significant growth. The living standards of the people have improved steadily. People are relatively satisfied with the current government.
This Kyrgyz parliament election has attracted attention worldwide. Several hundreds of international Special Rapporteurs observed the election on site. Even the most critical observers from OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) acknowledged that there are no large-scale irregularities in the election process. Although there are still demonstrations of supporters to some candidates who lost in the election, Kyrgyzstan will form the new Kyrgyz parliament with the majority of members supporting the current government.
Kyrgyz Political Crisis and U.S. Strategy in Central Asia
Source: Xinhuanet, March 25, 2005
The political battle initiated by the Kyrgyz parliamentary election has recently evolved into the changing of government in this country. Although the crisis has its internal reasons, some external factors cannot be overlooked. The United States has especially used various means to interfere with the Russian strategic territory, and has played a role in the eruption and fermentation of its political crisis in recent years.
Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are geographically called the Five Central Asian Countries. They used to be part of the former U.S.S.R., and now Russia refers to them as its “backyard,” and the domain of “traditional forces.” Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan are the three member countries of CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) led by Russia, and possess close ties with Russia. However, they share one common characteristic—with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, they have looked to the United States, to some degree, for more economic benefits. The United States had been coveting Central Asia for years, with little achieved. Now the situation has given the United States a chance to implement its schemes.
After “9.11” Central Asia has become increasingly important in the strategic checkerboard of the United States, and has become the frontline in the Afghan war initiated by the United States to destroy the Al-Qaida terrorist faction led by Bin Laden. In the name of international anti-terrorism, the United States successfully convinced Central Asian countries, such as Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to allow the United States to use their local military bases. The United States has even reached a military agreement with Uzbekistan, in the name of “friendly cooperation” to train the Uzbek Special Forces, to construct a military base and to supply military equipment. The media has described Uzbekistan as “the more reliable ally of the United States in Central Asia.” According to The New York Times, the United States and Uzbekistan had in fact begun military cooperation, as early as a few years prior to “9.11.”
Even though the United States swore to have the troops in the region temporarily, three years after the Afghan war ended, the U.S. troops unexpectedly still stayed in Central Asia. No mentioning of going home, the U.S. troops seem to have become the “honored permanent guest” in the region.
Some analysts believe that the U.S. military presence in Central Asia was not just for the Afghan war, but was also for seeking further achievements, so that some day the whole Central Asia would be under the control of the United States. In other words, if the initial reason for the United States to be involved in Central Asia was for anti-terrorism, now what the White House talks about most is promoting “American-style democracy” overseas. In reality, it’s evident that the United States uses the excuse of “anti-terrorism” to bring its military troops into Central Asia, not only to gain a foothold in Central Asia, but also to fulfill its dream of promoting “freedom and democracy worldwide.”
Central Asia is an important part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which is led by Russia. Meddling with Central Asia, the Unites States is not just to interfere with Russia, but more importantly, to win and control related countries through economic and military penetration. The Bush Administration appeared to be neutral at the onset of the political crisis in Kyrgyzstan, and even condemned the “looting” behaviors of some forces. However, the United States has a military base in the country; “observing the fight between tigers without taking any actions” in and of itself is to acquiesce and support opposition.
The United States’ piecemeal policy in Central Asia carefully fortifies every step. It will naturally cause concerns and worries in the neighboring Russia. It is expected that due to their respective strategic interests, the United States and Russia will inevitably launch a series of new contests, overtly or covertly, in Central Asia.