CENTRAL ASIA: GEOPOLITICS, SECURITY, AND DEVELOPMENT SCENARIOS
Eldar Gabdullin, Ph.D. (Philos.), Expert at the Center for Contemporary Policy (CECOP) (Almaty, Kazakhstan)
As global power and influence move progressively eastward, all the main international actors have their sights set on playing a leading role in Asia. The world nations are trying to build new relations and form advantageous balances of power with the developing Asian countries, where the soil is already fertile for both expanding cooperation and intensifying competition.
In all likelihood, present-day Asia, where most of the world’s population lives and significant achievements in industrial development have been made, will largely determine the future vectors of globalization. The region’s countries are also characterized by rampant military spending, fierce competition over resources, and smoldering seats of conflict.
Central Asia, a small energy-rich area, occupies a special place in the Asian architecture. This region determines the flows of energy resources to every corner of the earth, and also neighbors on unstable Afghanistan. The interests of the largest global players are concentrated precisely on Central Asia; in some sense, the region holds the key to the geopolitical future and stability of the entire Asian continent.
This article presents the author’s view of the situation in Central Asia, conducts an analysis of the risks and challenges the region’s countries are encountering, and determines the possible paths of development in the context of internal problems and external influence.
Central Asia Today
Central Asia continues to retain its international importance thanks to its advantageous geopolitical location close to Russia, China, Iran, and the Caucasus, its high energy and natural resource potential, its transportation and transit capabilities, and its proximity to the hotbeds of armed conflicts (Afghanistan and Pakistan), which have a strong impact on international security.
In this respect, the region will remain an area where the interests and strategies of the CA states themselves and many external geopolitical players, mainly Russia, the U.S., China, the European Union (EU), Iran, and Turkey, intercept. Defining the development prospects for Central Asia largely depends on the assessments of current policy toward the region, as well as the strategies of foreign countries that are having a crucial influence on the situation and security in the Central Asian region.
Central Asia is a young region that is still building its institutional structure and system of international organizations, as well as searching for its cultural and political identity. The region is characterized by many different cultural practices and identities, as well as by a wide range of interpretations of historical heritage.
It should also be noted that the Central Asian region is developing in the context of the diverse, frequently contradictory, integration projects that are……………