America's Soft Power in Kazakhstan

By The Monitor's View | The Christian Science Monitor, December 9, 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

America's Soft Power in Kazakhstan


The Monitor's View, The Christian Science Monitor


Something smells when a president pulls off reelection with 91 percent of the vote. That happened Sunday in Central Asia's largest country, Kazakhstan. Election monitors dubbed the poll flawed. Yet the US reacted with surprising softness. Why?

If any nation in this dangerous and strategically vital neighborhood ought to be rigorously held to international election standards, it's Kazakhstan.

The most prosperous and stable nation in Central Asia, a Muslim - majority country that practices religious tolerance and free-market principles, this oil gusher is a potential democratic model in the region.

But it's precisely for these attributes that Washington is choosing to see a glass half full in this election, instead of emptying it out with a barrage of criticism. US diplomats acknowledge the vote's shortcomings, but point to this multiethnic giant bordering Russia and China as a democratic work in progress. That long-view emphasis is a wise one.

Sixteen years ago, when Kazakhstan gained independence from the Soviet Union, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev inherited a dirt- poor dumping ground for Soviet populations, gulag camps, and harmful nuclear tests.

Now, it's producing 1.3 million barrels of oil a day (the Kashagan field is bigger than Alaska's North Slope), and is expected to become a top-10 oil exporter within a decade. It's reduced its poverty rate to 12 percent (the regional rate is 44 percent). By sending young people to study in the West, Russia, and China, it's cultivated a talented civil service. And it's one of the best performers in nuclear nonproliferation.

Mr. Nazarbayev is popular. Reliable surveys showed 60-70 percent support for him before the election, and the same range in exit polling.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

America's Soft Power in Kazakhstan
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?