A stepping-stone in exploring the narrative about the “Silk Road” in Central Asia. Book review - Timur Dadabaev, Transcontinental Silk Road Strategies: Comparing China, Japan and South Korea in Uzbekistan. Abingdon, Oxon, UK: Routledge, 2019; 180 pp., ISBN 9780367206734. £120.00
Central Asia, despite being referred to as a single region, represent five countries with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds and different ways in which political and economic transformation took place in the last twenty five years since independence from the Soviet Union. Within these countries, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have relatively advanced in market reforms, while Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan still have not completed their transition to a market economy and Tajikistan represents a middle case.
In many respects, historical legacy of the 20th century and unique geographical and geopolitical location did not help Central Asian countries in their efforts for economic development and integration.
After experiencing more than a decade of growth based on hydrocarbon boom, Central Asian countries are faced with increasing challenges resulting from declining commodity prices, trade and migrant remittances. The main policy challenge is to move away from commodity-based growth strategies to macro-oriented diversification and adoption of a broad spectrum of economic, institutional and political reforms. However, structural diversification is easier said than done.
Major obstacles to the political reform and economic diversification efforts in the five Central Asian economies are posed by internal and external geopolitical factors and deeply embedded institutional weaknesses within countries, particularly in areas where economic management interacts with authoritarian political systems and legal institutions. Our analysis suggests five key policy lessons that could serve as points of departure as these countries move ahead.
In the multipolar world regional powers play an increasingly important role, as they strive to become leaders and shape the regional order. It is a common situation, when in one region several powers compete to become a sole leader, however, other types of interaction also exist for example, asymmetric leadership. Asymmetric leadership denotes a situation when one power does not strive to become a sole leader in one region in all spheres, but the scope and type of its involvement in addressing common problems in the region varies. This paper explores the phenomenon of asymmetric leadership using the PRC policy in Central Asia as an empirical case. The theoretical part of the paper outlines the major points of the leadership theory in international relations, which are later used to evaluate China’s policy in Central Asia. In the empirical part we explore institutions, regional focus, goals and resources of the Chinese initiatives, as well as analyze factors that influence regional strategy of a rising power. In Central Asia the PRC has expressed leadership ambitions in several issue areas, such as non-traditional security, economic cooperation and development assistance, financial governance, and environmental cooperation. However, its strategy has varied from sphere to sphere in terms of institutionalization, overall regional focus, involvement of other regional power, etc. For example, in the sphere of non-traditional security and financial governance, the PRC has initiated the establishment of special institutions, which are absent in other spheres. The case of Central Asia, which has traditionally been Russian sphere of influence, allows us to investigate the possible responses of one regional power to leadership projects of another. Russia plays different roles in Chinese projects in Central Asia: a co-leader in counter-terrorism sphere, a follower in financial governance, a competitor in economic cooperation, and an observer in environmental protection sphere. The role of Russia is determined by the available resources in each area and its own leadership ambitions, as well as the desire of the PRC to maintain friendly relations with Moscow.
The five Central Asian states, emerging from the failed Soviet Union, chose different ways to become successful in an increasingly globalized world. They have traveled a long way in the 25 years of independence. However, they still hardly have a clue or even properly reflect on a few security-related dilemmas, which shape their economic and foreign policies. From the early days of independence Central Asian states had three aspirations: internal stability, regional egoism, and international cooperation. All three naturally emerged as reactions to regional and international realities existing in conditions of the Soviet Union’s collapse. These natural inclinations had a lot of influence on Central Asians’ policies, ultimately underlying three dilemmas—namely, reforms versus internal security, regional cooperation versus securitization and international diversification versus external security. Within these dilemmas, internal reforms and regional and external cooperation were bound by security considerations. This chapter will demonstrate how the three dilemmas were sustained and managed through shifting regional and international conditions over more than two decades. In the last decade, two more dilemmas emerged, namely globalization versus regionalization and economic development versus geopolitics. While the foundations for these dilemmas are already in place they remain low-key so far.
This article is devoted to the analysis of the growing importance of the Eurasian direction in Japan's foreign policy, the causes and consequences of the duality and inconsistency of this policy, the infl uence of internal political reasons on Japan's alignment with its policy towards the Central Asian states. The process of building up a new system of Japan’s foreign policy behavior in Central Asia in this case has developed in a reactive as opposed to a proactive manner. Eurasian direction of Japan’s diplomacy demanded a serious revision because by the new project «One Belt, One Road», which is an unprecedented regional initiative of Beijing – the primary foreign policy opponent for Tokyo. The regional agenda of Tokyo is also infl uenced by the new approaches of Donald Trump’s administration to the multilateral cooperation’s forms. Tokyo’s attempts to pursue its relations with the Central Asian states as a whole region and the Japan’s experience of using the dialogue «Central Asia plus Japan» as a promising model for the cooperation between non-regional actors and its Central Asia’s partners, are also of interest. In addition, the article deals with the preconditions for coordinating actions in the Eurasian direction between Japan and its friendly states, including Turkey and India, and the process of diversifying the economic partners of the Central Asian region as a whole. Since the reasons for the interest of the Central Asian states in the implementation of economic and other forms of cooperation with Tokyo have not lost their relevance, Russia could be of signifi cant value to Tokyo.
The article deals with the processes of building the information society and security in the CIS in accordance with modern conditions. The main objective is to review existing mechanisms for the formation of a common information space in the Eurasian region, regarded as one of the essential aspects of international integration. The theoretical significance of the work is to determine the main controls of the regional information infrastructure, improved by the development of communication features in a rapid process.The practical component consists in determining the future policies of the region under consideration in building the information society. The study authors used historical-descriptive approach and factual analysis of events having to do with drawing the contours of today's global information society in the regional refraction.
The main result is the fact that the development of information and communication technologies, and network resources leads to increased threats of destabilization of the socio-political situation in view of the emergence of multiple centers that generate the ideological and psychological background. Keeping focused information policy can not be conceived without the collective participation of States in the first place, members of the group leaders of integration - Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Currently, only produced a comprehensive approach to security in the information field in the Eurasian region, but the events in the world, largely thanks to modern technology, make the search for an exit strategy with a much higher speed. The article contributes to the science of international relations, engaging in interdisciplinary thinking that is associated with a transition period in the development of society. A study of current conditions in their relation to the current socio-political patterns of the authors leads to conclusions about the need for cooperation with the network centers of power in the modern information environment, the formation of alternative models of networking, especially in innovation and scientific and technical areas of information policy, and expanding the integration of the field in this region on the information content.
This special publication for the 2012 New Delhi Summit is a collection of articles by government officials from BRICS countries, representatives of international organizations, businessmen and leading researchers.
The list of Russian contributors includes Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, Maxim Medvedkov, Director of the Trade Negotiations Department of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, Vladimir Dmitriev, Vnesheconombank Chairman, Alexander Bedritsky, advisor to the Russian President, VadimLukov, Ambassador-at-large of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry, and representatives of the academic community.
The publication also features articles by the President of Kazakhstan NursultanNazarbayev and internationally respected economist Jim O’Neil, who coined the term “BRIC”. In his article Jim O’Neil speculates about the future of the BRICS countries and the institution as a whole.
The publication addresses important issues of the global agenda, the priorities of BRICS and the Indian Presidency, the policies and competitive advantages of the participants, as well as BRICS institutionalization, enhancing efficiency and accountability of the forum.