UZBEKISTAN: A REGIONAL POWER IN CENTRAL ASIA? REALITY OR DILEMMA?

Rasoul Rezae FARAMANI, Heydar MORADI


Rasoul Resae Faramani, M.A., Political Science, ECO College, Allameh Tabatabai University (Kermanshah, Iran)

Heydar Moradi, M.A., Political Science, Young Research and Elites Club, Sanandaj Branch, Islamic Azad University (Sanandaj, Iran)


ABSTRACT

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Central Asian states became independent and tried to pursue their foreign policy free from Russian control. Uzbekistan is the only Central Asian state to pursue a proactive and independent foreign policy. Uzbekistan has higher regional power ambitions than the other Central Asian states.

So what is preventing Uzbekistan from fulfilling its dream? It has the necessary subjective and objective prerequisites for this: military potential, a large and fairly homogeneous population, natural resources, favorable geographic location, U.S. support of its secular state, and the willingness of the latter to recognize its regional hegemony. However, the country continues to face several limitations that hinder its leading role. Despite its capabilities, it is not engaging wholeheartedly in regional integration and is hampered by its geographic location, water shortages, structural economic constraints, political problems, and fundamentalism issues.

Keywords: Uzbekistan, regional power, Central Asia, regional cooperation.

Introduction

Uzbekistan gained its independence at the end of 1991 with the breakup of the Soviet Union. The landlocked country is a potential Central Asian regional power by virtue of its population, the largest in the region, its substantial energy and other resources, and its location at the heart of regional trade and transport networks.

The chief objective of Uzbekistans foreign policy since the country gained its independence has been to preserve internal stability for


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