Today, I had the honor of hosting Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister, H.E. Mr. Karim Massimov, and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel for a round table discussion on U.S. foreign relations and national security. The American Security Project was an ideal site for the meeting, as Secretary Hagel was one of our founders, and ASP has long had an interest in the energy security and economics of Central Asia.
Following my introduction of ASP to the Prime Minister, Secretary Hagel commenced a dialogue that literally covered the world. All the hotspots were discussed in depth, with particular attention paid to the Middle East. Secretary Hagel went into detail about the situation in Syria and Iraq, stressing the difficulty of countering ISIL and the complexities of the Iraqi government. He expressed his support for the Iran deal and discussed the ramifications should it not be approved. He also covered the Yemen crisis and Saudi Arabia’s response, and later spoke on Ukraine and Putin’s aggression. He finished with a candid assessment of China’s ambitions and problems.
The Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for the meeting and thanked Secretary Hagel for his work and support for positive relations with Kazakhstan. He stressed that they have a border over 7,000 KM long with Russia, hence the necessity of having cordial, solid relations with them as well as with their other major neighbor, China. He voiced his concern that many here in the US have no conception of the strategic importance Kazakhstan plays in the region and the world, and hoped that more could be done to inform Americans about Kazakhstan’s relationship with the U.S..
I came away with a deep appreciation of the geopolitics and the role Kazakhstan plays not just in the important Central Asia region, but the world. Kazakhstan will no doubt be a vital partner to the United States going forward, and it will be key to have mutual understanding of each others roles, values and interests and create a true strategic relationship.
It was a superb opportunity for ASP and Secretary Hagel to reinforce our strong feelings for Kazakhstan and the Prime Minister.
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