What about C5 + 1? Sorry, does not work…

Central Asia today is a platform where hidden wars for influence between the United States, Russia, China and even Europe are taking place. Moreover, one of the parties already has its own plan to expand its influence. This plan is called C5 +1.

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C5+1 Format is a multilateral forum incepted in November 2015 in Samarkand by foreign ministers of the five Central Asian nations and USA with the aim of enhancing intraregional and Central Asia-USA cooperation along the three lines: Economy and Regional Connectivity, Environment, and Security. Ministers thereafter met for the second time in August 2016 in Washington and agreed to work on five joint projects in the above mentioned fields thereby straddling both high-politics and low-politics issues and counting heavily on non-state actors as facilitators. A proposed budget is 15 million USD allocated from Washington for the remainder of 2016.

Using the C5 + 1 format, Washington intends to strengthen its influence in the region by displacing the interests of the European Union, Russia and China. According to political analysts in Central Asia, Moscow still reigns, but not only the United States, but also China, is trying to force Russia out of the region. However, if Washington plays singing songs about future aid and political support, then China is increasing direct investment.

Returning to the American project C5 + 1, it should be noted that, probably, it will remain just a plan, whose implementation is doomed to failure. Why? The fact is that the C5 + 1 format is completely one-sided and does not take into account political, economic and social factors that are significant for the countries of Central Asia. In addition, C5 + 1 is deprived of a truly working and efficient mechanisms for solving urgent problems of the region.

The format of the C5 + 1 collaboration will continue to exist for a while, but the results will be modest. Such an assumption was expressed by ex-adviser to US President George W. Bush on Russia and Eurasia, director of Kissinger Associates, Thomas Graham.

The United States has another problem in Central Asia that challenges the future of the C5 + 1. The fact is that the strategy for inter-Afghan settlement announced by US President Donald Trump has not been implemented – neither the United States nor the Government of Afghanistan, which are unable to reach agreement with the Taliban. Under current conditions, only Russia and, to some extent, Uzbekistan are taking effective measures aimed at encouraging the parties to the conflict to engage in direct negotiations. Washington’s desire to include the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the C5 + 1 leads to a dead end and will not solve the problem of an inter-Afghan settlement.

Moreover, some experts believe that Washington is the initiator of the infiltration of militants from the Middle East from the Middle East into the countries of the European Union and the countries of Central Asia. US actions contribute to, among other things, an increase in migration flows from combat zones in the EU.

Mikhal Berg

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