Dear CircassianWorld.com visitors,
CircassianWorld.com launches a series of interviews with specialists and researchers of Caucasus and, particularly, Circassian related issues. First interview was made with Professor Paul Goble. Interviews will continue with different names in the near future. Circassianworld.com acknowledges with thanks the insights Mr. Goble has shared with us.
Questions for Mr. Paul Goble
CIRCASSIAN WORLD: What level in the US administration is the Circassian issue located, so to speak, and what kind of support could be forthcoming to the Circassians considering different future options ranging from the maintenance of the status quo at one extreme and a drive to independence at the other extreme and (negative) modifications in the current ethnic federalism model being in the middle of the prediction scale?
PAUL GOBLE: Circassian issue is not an orphan in Washington, but its various aspects mean that it is sometimes the focus of senior people and sometimes of more junior ones who have responsibilities for other issues. Because Circassians live in many countries and form significant groups in American allies like Turkey and Jordan, they are a major concern, but as a community in the North Caucasus, they probably don’t have any one person in the US government focusing exclusively on them. Instead, as in my time 20 years ago, they are probably followed somewhat eradically by the person responsibility for “religion, nationalities and dissent.” Your can imagine which aspect of that gets the most attention.
CW: What kind of analogies can you draw between the policies of the 19th century British Empire and 21th century USA regarding the Circassians and other North Caucasians?
GOBLE: The British were an imperial power; the United States is not. On the one hand, that means that the US is less supportive of existing arrangements than the British tended to be,something that could work in favor of the Circassians. On the other, the British were far more attentive to ethnic and religious minorities than the US tends to be, recognizing their significance as players in the great game of international politics.
CW: What can the Circassians do to make sure that Moscow does not make another attempt to undo any of the Circassian republics? What about the transitory stage of uniting all the Circassian republics into a region?
GOBLE: Moscow has only itself to blame for its current problems. It was Putin after all who opened the door to combining all the Circassian peoples in a single republic, something Stalin had made sure would not happen. That does not mean that the Circassians will achieve their goals. Some in Moscow understand how significant and thus dangerous that community could be. And they will do what they can, including the use of force, to prevent it. But that does mean Moscow will be able to stop the Circassian peoples from coming together.