Energy Strategy And U.S. Support Of Authoritarian Regimes
Voice of Russia
August 29, 2012
US and support of authoritarian regimes
The United States has repeatedly touted its mission of spreading democracy across the world. In reality, it is the United States that remains the main source of support for authoritarian rulers, among them Washington’s friends and foes. Here, it is worth quoting one of the US presidents, Franklin Roosevelt, as saying that “he [Nicaraguan dictator Somoza] is, of course, a son-of-a-bitch, but he is our son-of-a-bitch”.
At present, authoritarianism on post-Soviet space is mainly financed and backed by the West and the United States. Washington is boosting relations with the Turkmen authorities and is involved in a complicated political game with Kazakhstan. Also, the United States supports authoritarian methods by the Georgian president and develops cooperation with Azerbaijan. US authorities hail the authoritarian regimes of these countries, which are closely intertwined in terms of the development of the oil and gas sector.
For example, during recent talks between members of the Turkmen delegation and chief executives of the leading US oil and gas companies, including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and ConocoPhillips, in Washington, representative of US business circles signaled their readiness to help Turkmenistan fulfill a strategy of diversification of its energy exports to the international market.
The US business people also indicated the intent to take an active part in rendering services and implementing a host of projects to construct new trans-national pipelines and new facilities related to the oil and gas sector. During the talks, the sides also discussed the US businessmen’s possible participation in a variety of projects in Turkmenistan, such as the development of new technologies and investments. Also, Washington said that “the United States appreciates Turkmen’s role in maintaining good neighborly relations with neighboring countries”, in particular when it comes to dealing with a raft of issues related to Afghanistan.
As for US-Kazakh relations, they are based on a strategic partnership which is characterized by a wide spectrum and a deep degree of interaction. Bilateral relations rest on a solid international treaty framework. Annual US-Kazakh political consultations add significantly to bolstering bilateral ties.
In 2012, a decision was made to upgrade bilateral political consultations to the Kazakh-US Commission for Strategic Partnership. During the first session of the consultations in September 2010, the US State Department touted Kazakhstan as “the only Central Asian country with which the United States has such a comprehensive and detailed bilateral cooperation agenda”. The United States remains one of Kazakhstan’s largest trade partners. In 2011, the two countries’ trade turnover amounted to 2,743 billion dollars, a 26-percent increase as compared to 2010, when the figure stood at 2,181 billion dollars. In addition, the United States has repeatedly endorsed Kazakhstan’s drive to join the WTO before the end of 2012.
It is common knowledge that US authorities support the policy pursued by Mikheil Saakashvili. The United States backs Tbilisi’s push for entering NATO as Georgia currently takes part in an array of NATO operations in Afghanistan. Speaking during the opening of the Georgian-US Commission for Strategic Partnership in Batumi in June 2012, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that “Georgia makes its own contribution to ensuring global security by taking part in NATO operations in Afghanistan, where it will soon be the first contributor among non-NATO members. We welcome and appreciate this”.
As for Azerbaijan, it has long been a supporter of the United States in post-Soviet space and a main entity to implement the Greater Caspian strategy. Back in September 1994, the United States and Azerbaijan signed what was billed as a “contract of the century” – an agreement on dividing production related to the development of the Azeri Chirag and Guneshi oil fields over thirty years.
In 2006, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline in the Caspian region was put into operation. The pipeline began to deliver oil supplies bypassing Russia. Despite the fact that the project’s economic feasibility was never confirmed because of false information about the real natural resources of Azerbaijan, the United States signaled its readiness to render financial assistance to the project, if necessary.
Also, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline was constructed in the South Caucasus. In this vein, Azerbaijan’s participation was seen by the United States as the first step in implementing the Greater Caspian strategy. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum gas pipeline were to become a link to be used to create unified systems of main oil and gas transportation pipelines which are designed to deliver Kazakh oil and Turkmen gas.
Aside from supporting authoritarian regimes on post-Soviet space, the United States also backs South Sudan’s authoritarian regime in its war with Sudan despite the fact that South Sudan’s actions were condemned by the United Nations. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit holds a hard-line position because he is constantly supported by the United States, which helped South Sudan deal with “a dictatorship regime in Khartoum”.
Speculation is rife that a US military base will soon be stationed on the territory of the new state. It is already touted as the US’ largest base in Africa. Also, US companies are lobbying for the construction of an oil pipeline which will link South Sudan’s deposits with the Kenyan port of Lamu on the Indian Ocean coast.