Central Asian Regimes: Stability and Reform
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.