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Central Asia: Russia Grapples with a Security Dilemma

As US forces pull out of Afghanistan, Russia is seeking to forge a bond between NATO and CSTO to maintain stability in the region. (Photo: US Army/Staff Sgt. Adam Mancini)

When it comes to dealing with the United States and NATO on security issues in Central Asia, Russia is acting tough while operating from a position of increasing weakness.

Of late, Russia has tried to bolster the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in the hopes that it will be able to pick up any slack, in terms of heightened security risks, arising out of the US and NATO drawdown in Afghanistan. The phased withdrawal is scheduled to conclude in 2014. To date, NATO has kept the CSTO at arm’s length, rejecting the latter's requests to work jointly in handling regional security threats. Getting NATO to change its mind has proven difficult for Russia, and it is a problem that’s clearly vexing the Kremlin.

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Joshua Kucera is a Washington, DC,-based writer who specializes in security issues in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East. He is the editor of EurasiaNet's Bug Pit blog.

Central Asia: Russia Grapples with a Security Dilemma

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