Why the US cares about what happens in Kazakhstan

Violent unrest in Kazakhstan sparked by rising gas prices led the central Asian nation’s leader to impose a severe crackdown and call in Russian troops to quell protests – moves that have led to concern from Western countries, including the US.

Responding to the deaths of scores of civilians, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to rescind the “shoot-to-kill” order he gave to police and security forces. He also warned that recent history showed that it can be “very difficult” getting Russian troops to leave.

But why should the US be concerned about these events in the former Soviet country? To find out, The Conversation interviewed Larry Napper, who served as ambassador to Kazakhstan from 2001 to 2004, is a former director of the State Department’s Office of Soviet Union Affairs and is now a professor at Texas A&M University.

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