Members of the Trump administration launched its highly anticipated Central Asia Strategy at The Heritage Foundation on Feb. 5. The Central Asian region consists of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The new strategy lists areas in which the United States will seek to work with these governments.
“The fact that they chose to release the strategy at Heritage is testament to the great work we do on the region,” said Luke Coffey, director of Heritage’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy.
Many themes of Heritage research can be found in the new plan. Two of those are promoting sovereignty and economic growth, both of which are heavily emphasized in Coffey’s 2019 report on the region, “Time for a U.S. Strategy in the Caspian.”
Economic growth in the region can be tracked via The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. The Index of Economic Freedom allows both policy officials and the public to analyze how the economies of certain countries and regions stack up against the rest of the world.
Heritage experts have also advocated that Central Asia should play a role in Afghanistan’s peace process, an integral part of the administration's new plan.
Speakers at the event included Lisa Curtis, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump and senior director for South and Central Asia on the National Security Council; Ambassador Alice Wells, acting assistant secretary for South and Central Asia at the U.S. State Department; and Gloria Steele, acting assistant administrator of the Bureau for Asia at USAID. Curtis previously worked at The Heritage Foundation as a senior research fellow.
The event was widely attended with more than 200 people in the Heritage’s Allison Auditorium and included influential officials such as Javlon Vakhabov, Uzbekistan ambassador to the United States.