Central Asia as the economic and geopolitical tension nexus: Some implications for the world futures
During the last millennium the world economic and geopolitical conflicts were to a great extent connected: different crises in the World System's evolution stimulated geopolitical shifts and vice versa. This article argues that in the 15th century different geopolitical events and conflicts in Central Asia initiated the fall of the previous World System and the rise of the new one. This transformation resulted in the fall of overland and river trade routes, including the Great Silk Route, which passed through Central Asia. World trade shifted to sea and ocean routes, and European countries became the center of the new World System. Now, in the beginning of the 21st century a new transformation of the World System is underway. The center of economic and political development is migrating gradually to the East: this is why the geopolitical role of the Central Asian states is increasing. Central Asian states are a very important part of the New Silk Route; this route is to connect Eastern Asia with Europe and the Middle East. The United States, China, Russia, and other states are ardently competing to control the New Silk Route. Hence, different geopolitical, social, and military conflicts are probable in Central Asia. So economic and political integration in Eurasia between Russia, China, the United States and Central Asian states is very important for the geopolitical stabilization of the region. The article evaluates the main scenarios of geopolitical changes in Central Asia.