(PatriotWise.com)- Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that during their June 16 summit in Geneva, Russian President Vladimir Putin scoffed at President Biden’s plan to establish a military presence in the Central Asian countries bordering Afghanistan.
As part of the Biden administration’s bungling withdraw of US forces within Afghanistan, the President had hoped to establish a counter-terrorism network of drone and surveillance capabilities within these countries that border Afghanistan.
Putin also reportedly told Biden during their Geneva meeting that China would also reject any US military presence in the region.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Wall Street Journal that Russia did not see how any US military presence in the region would enhance the security of the countries involved or the security of their neighbors. Ryabkov contended that a US presence would definitely NOT be in the best interest of the Russian Federation.
In light of the unfolding debacle in Afghanistan, Ryabkov told the Journal that Russia’s position on a US presence has not changed in the least.
Of course not.
Russia, like China, see Biden’s weak and feckless withdrawal from Afghanistan as an opportunity to radically alter hegemony in Central Asia. Which is why, when US and NATO countries scrambled to close down their embassies and evacuate Afghanistan, Russia and China kept their embassies open.
If Russia and China get their way and the US is refused access to Afghanistan’s neighbors Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan, the US military would be forced to operate out of bases in Qatar and other Arab Gulf states or from Navy aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean.
According to one former senior military official, this would mean US drones would spend as much as sixty percent of their missing simply flying to and from Afghanistan which would limit the time for reconnaissance or carrying out airstrikes.
During the early years of the Afghanistan war, the US had bases in both Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. However, those were phased out as US relations with Russia soured, and both Russia and China began pressuring those countries to stop working with the US military.
In July, US officials began making overtures to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan with both Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meeting with their foreign ministers in Washington.
The problem is Russia has a great deal of influence in both countries. What’s more, given the disastrous drawdown in Afghanistan, the United States’ influence in the region may be too weak to counter Russia’s.