Actually Uzbekistan has left CSTO though it has stated about temporary suspension of membership. So far, no more or less grounded opinion on the reason of Tashkent’s step has been stated. Basically, reasons like its wish to ensure opportunities to maneuver in the foreign policy are brought.
Perhaps, this is true in a more general context. But, in the result of this policy Uzbekistan still can conduct a multi-vector policy since turning to the U.S. and NATO will question prospects in the direction of China, Russia and Iran, as well as to Islamic movements in Afghanistan. It is meant that with time Uzbekistan will go back to the CSTO, like it happened in its foreign policy for the last 20 years. It is also possible.
Such a big country on which much depends in Central Asia may afford such a bumpy foreign policy, as well as various geopolitical experiments. The wish to receive security guarantees from the U.S. with withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan is also clear. Anyway, deeper goals are hidden under such aspirations.
If we bear in mind that withdrawal from the Collective Security Treaty Organization is a very dubious step, taking into account security problems, as well as part of political maneuvering, the given explanations are not enough, and generally they do not look consistent. Uzbekistan with its current borders and proximity to not so friendly countries simply cannot ensure not only its own security but also territorial integrity.
Uzbekistan is certainly interested in correcting or even cardinally changing the geopolitical situation in Central Asia, which would allow it solving communication, water and ethnic and territorial issues. Uzbekistan has more complicated issues with Tajikistan, and the idea fix of the Uzbek elite is the union of both countries. This idea has existed since the independence of Central Asian states. However, this does not mean that there are no issues with other regional countries.
Perhaps, Uzbekistan hopes to fulfill its regional plans supported by the U.S. policies, since it understands that it is unable to solve all those issue alone. The U.S. will hardly boost radical change of borders but it could support Uzbekistan’s modernization and enlargement of influence, and perhaps it is interested in this issue.
One way or another, a more fundamental and stable geopolitical situation is emerging in Central Asia. Kazakhstan will certainly stay on the orbit of the Russian policy. Kirgizstan, despite different aspirations of the current regime, will also remain Russia’s partner. From the point of view of Russian interests Tajikistan has already chosen its foreign political vector – it is more associated with Iran and the Iranian world. Turkmenistan’s role is becoming clearer, and it expects close partnership with the U.S. and the European Union.
The U.S. bet on Uzbekistan as their main partner in the region, and they will try to influence the region through it. We should understand that the Afghan campaign was the first stage of development of the U.S. policy within the context of China’s global repression. The second stage will deal with closer integration within Central Asia to confront China’s economic and political expansion.
Along with this, relating to further presence of the U.S. in the Central Asia are not yet solved.
At the same time, questions on the future U.S. presence in Central Asia are not entirely resolved. In general and in regard to specific problems it is a very expensive project, and it is necessary to remember that for 20 years the U.S. has tried at least three times to strengthen its foothold in Central Asia. Most probably, “containment” will remain “containment”, i.e., in the region, the existing balance of powers – China, Russia, the United States – will be retained. But this is for the next 10-15 years (maximum).
In the given situation, hardly some place will be found for Turkey which is simultaneously pushed by the U.S. towards Central Asia, limiting its influence in the region. In this regard, Uzbekistan has never been interested in increasing influence of Turkey in the region.