CENTRAL ASIA: A REGION OF ECONOMIC RIVALRY AMONG RUSSIA, CHINA, THE U.S., AND THE EU

Maksim BRATERSKY, Andrei SUZDALTSEV


Maksim Bratersky, D.Sc. (Politics), professor at the Chair of World Economics, Department of World Economics and World Politics, State University-Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia)

Andrei Suzdaltsev, Ph.D. (Hist.), associate professor at the Chair of World Economics, Department of World Economics and World Politics, State University-Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia)


Introduction

Over the past 15 years, since about 1993, Central Asia has been a primary topic in foreign political analytical publications. There were times in these years when publications on the Central Asian problems appeared more frequently, in 1993-1997, as Americas search for new opportunities invigorated its interest in the region, and in 2005-2008, when the rise in world prices for raw materials generated greater interest among foreign states in these resources.

There were times when less was written about the prospects of foreign nations cooperating with the Central Asian states. As a rule, this happened when the world economic and political situation pushed other priorities to the forefront, for example, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Latin American countries.

A look at the domestic and foreign literature on Central Asia reveals two main themes. First, experts have been concentrating their attention on regional security problems and the regional influence of the rivalry among the foreign playersRussia, China, the U.S., and the Europeans in the form of the EU and NATO.

Another topic that constantly attracts the attention of specialists in geopolitics and energy is control over the production and especially the transportation of the Caspians energy resources. Many articles and specialized works have been written on this topic in which the authors mainly analyze the ways foreign players can create and control new routes for exporting energy resources to the world markets, as well as the political, economic, and geopolitical consequences of specific projects. A significant part of the analysis is focused on the rivalry among the main players (Russia, the U.S., the EU, and the PRC).

Without denying the primary importance of international and energy security in Central Asia, both for the countries of the region itself and for Russia, it should be noted that the main foreign players have broader economic interests in this part of the world. These interests pale in comparison to main elements of their regional policies, but they do exist, and in the long run could be just as important as the security and energy spheres. This aspect of the policy of the..


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