I was reading Peter Hessler’s book when the Russians invaded the Republic of Georgia. Senator John McCain, trying to show what a tough guy he was up against the Russians, demanded they withdraw or the U.S. would invade … or something. In coverage I saw the Georgians seemed to have overestimated the amount of support they’d be receiving from America.
Apparently in the mid 90s Jesse Helms pushed for a Uighur language broadcast from Voice of America. “A scholar of Central Asian studies told me,” says Hessler, “that the RFA Uighur broadcasts were far more radical than anything on the Mandarin or Tibetan services … He was … concerned that the Uighurs overestimated the support of leaders like Senator Helms. In Central Asia that was an old story: A common United States tactic had been to encourage ethnic or religious groups that resisted bigger powers like the Russians or the Chinese. Once the geopolitics shifted, the support ended, and the resistance groups were forgotten.” Forgotten, defunded, at the mercy of the stronger power the U.S. had been hoping to antagonize.
source: Oracle Bones: a journey between China’s past and present by Peter Hessler