Trump Administration to Cut Aid to the Caspian Region Dramatically
The requested US 2018 budget for foreign assistance to the Caspian region reveals that US aid to the region will be dramatically cut. In fact, overall, regional aid and country aid to Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan will be cut by 22%. However, the reduction in aid is much more severe in some countries, such as Turkmenistan (90% reduction), Azerbaijan (90% reduction), Kazakhstan (78% reduction), Armenia (67% reduction), or Kyrgyzstan (62% reduction). Part of the reason for the lower average reduction in aid is due to the inclusion of Afghanistan, which receives much more US aid than other countries in this region and will only see an 11% reduction in that aid. Indeed, without including Afghanistan in the analysis, there is overall a 56% reduction in aid to the Caspian region. The areas that will see the most reduction in aid are Humanitarian Assistance (100% reduction) and Peace/Security (44% reduction).
Additionally, there will also be sharp reductions in aid in specific areas for certain countries. In Armenia, there will be a 100% reduction in Governing Justly and Democratically aid and Investing in People aid. In Azerbaijan, there will be a 100% reduction in Governing Justly and Democratically aid, Economic Growth aid, and Program Support aid, with the only remaining aid going to Peace/Security, which will also see a 67% reduction. Georgia will have a 90% reduction in Investing in People aid and a 78% percent reduction in Peace/Security aid. Kazakhstan will see a reduction of 100% in Economic Growth aid, Investing in People aid, Governing Justly and Democratically aid, and Program Support aid. Furthermore, in Tajikistan, there will be a 70% reduction in Governing Justly and Democratically aid and a 71% reduction in Economic Growth aid. Turkmenistan will have a 100% reduction in Governing Justly and Democratically aid, Investing in People aid, Economic Growth aid, and Program Support aid. Therefore, aid to specific areas in some countries will be even more deeply reduced than overall cuts would imply.
However, aid will not be dramatically reduced for all countries in the Caspian region. In fact, US aid to Turkey is remaining about the same, with a decrease of only 1% and US aid to Uzbekistan is increasing by 5%. Indeed, for Uzbekistan, there will be a 20% increase in Peace/Security aid, 41% increase in Governing Justly and Democratically aid, and 31% increase in Economic Growth aid, with the only aid reduction being in Investing in People aid (30% reduction).
Furthermore, there are specific areas in which the US will increase its aid for individual countries. For Armenia and Georgia, there will be an increase in Infrastructure aid, a subset of Economic Growth aid (73% for Armenia and an increase from $0 to $266,000 for Georgia). Kyrgyzstan will see an increase from $0 to $200,000 in Transnational Crime aid and Tajikistan will see a 196% increase in Counter-Narcotics aid, both of which are under Peace/Security aid.
Therefore, while some countries or sectors of aid may not feel a large impact from this budget, many countries in the Caspian region will be confronted with dramatic reductions in US aid over many different areas.
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