CENTRAL ASIA AS A SECURITY COMPLEX:
THEORY AND PRACTICE
Inomjon Bobokulov, D.Sc. (Law), Assistant Professor, University of World Economy and Diplomacy (Tashkent, Uzbekistan)
The academic community is aware of three hypostases of Central Asia—(1) a geographical region; (2) a political entity; and (3) a civilizational expanse—each with its own limits. As a geographical region, Central Asia is limited by “natural borders” (mountains, rivers, the steppe, and the sea); as a political entity, it is contained within the state borders of the new political units; and as a civilizational expanse, it is described as the local peoples’ cultural and/or ethnolinguistic community, that is, by civilizational factors.
The idea of Central Asia as the space in which four post-Soviet Central Asian republics and Kazakhstan are situated is the region’s most frequently used, not to say dominating, political description. Central Asia as a political entity is a target of academic studies in its own right and an inalienable part of the foreign policy strategies of the key members of the international community.
An analysis of the dynamics of regional security reveals the complete inconsistency of the “three hypostases” scheme. In the case of Central Asia, security (or the problems of security) is the most acceptable criterion of a region, the cornerstone of the Regional Security Complexes (RSC) idea described as “regions as seen through the lens of security.” The regional security complex is a “very specific, functionally defined type of region, which may or may not coincide with more general understandings of region.” This means that the region’s functional factors describe Central Asia as an RSC.
The Theory of Regional Security Complexes:
Barry Buzan was the first to formulate the idea of the Regional Security Complexes, further developed by Ole Wæver and the Copenhagen School (International Relations); not infrequently, therefore, the Theory of Regional Security Complexes (TRSC) is described as “part of the Copenhagen School’s collective theoretical approach to security.” Highly structuralized, the Buzan-Wæver theory, which offers a ramified system of criteria, models, and types of regional complexes, has been universally accepted as the most effective analytical instrument applied to regional security dynamics.
At first, in 1983, the RSC was defined as “a group of states whose primary security concerns link together sufficiently closely that their national securities cannot reasonably be considered apart from one another.” This definition was mainly applied to the dynamics of the political and military security sectors dominated by the state.
It was revised when it became clear that the range of participants in the security sphere was expanding, while the state-oriented approach to security lost some of its former significance. In 2003, it was defined as “a set of units whose major processes of securitization, desecuritization, or both are so interlinked that their security problems cannot reasonably be analyzed or……………