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The Great Game
Running head: The Great game in Central Asia
The Great game in Central Asia
Medeu Aigerim, ID 20084482
Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research
all die, only then will end
the Great Game. Not before”
Rudyard Kipling. »Kim" (1901)
The transitory periods of the beginning of the 1990-s have transformed the character of international relations dramatically. The Soviet Union collapsed. Along with it the bipolar system of the world will be no more. For the first time after the Britain Empire had been dominating, the US became the only world hegemony with the other states taking second, third and other places. Such kind of the security challenges in the face of terrorism, separatism and extremism have been emerged.
All of these characteristics pull wires on the circumstances of the Central Asia. It has remained a unique terra-incognita for a long time. On the one hand, with the Soviet Union dissolution and getting independence, Central Asian region was associated as an unlighted desert area, which is a long-distance from the developed West. Probably such kind of understanding has been provoked by the Iron Curtain. In the other hand, potential interest to the Central Asian region was existed. Earlier in 1919 Winston Churchill argued that “Central Asia is a milk cow, which is waiting for its crocodile”.
In the mid of XX and XXI centuries Central Asia as in second part of XX century became an arena of the “Great game”- but if earlier it was between the Great Britain and Russian Empire, in present day the list of competitors have been grown markedly with including Russia, the US, China, European Union, Iran, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Arab World as the main actors.
After the Soviet Union collapse and creation on its place 15 newly independent states all of the before-mentioned actors started propulsion of its national interests. Moreover, the most part of the world was not ready to cracked change in this region, first of all because of Central Asia being obscured and distant from the Western countries. In this regard, Russia, despite of its cracked position and its internal issues, viewed this region as the area of its national interests. The US had been limited by the aims of threat minimization after the dissolution of the “Evil Empire”. Chinese had been investigated in the rigorous manner simultaneously eventuated realities after the immediate collapse of the USSR. Turkey without any overture tried to promote a goal of knocking together Turkic bloc under the Turkey headship. Iran was a passive first of all because of total isolation, which was initiated by the US. Other figurants, namely, India, Pakistan and Arab World apart from declarative actions, took a waiting attitude.
And only soon after evolution of the international relations in the center of the Central Asia and clarification of the internal and external orientation each of the state; their interests toward this region have been altered essentially. How it was happened we should try to consider in instance. In this paper we are going to consider the main actors in the Central Asian region, namely the US, Russia, China and as well as EU.
lost its superpower status, Russia
nevertheless remains an important player in world politics. With the
changing contours of the regional dynamics of Moscow, where he
highlighted the growing influence of the United States and China, as
well as the creeping of the European Union in the Caucasus and
Central Asia, it is obvious that Russia can not remain a bystander in
a changing strategic and military balance of power in their
Following the recent announcement of the revitalization of NATO in the Caucasus and Central Asia, Moscow's leaders such as Konstantin Kosachev, the influential head of Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs, argue that Russia should use its influence in the region to promote democracy, demonstrating the local leaders that Kremlin does not want to rebuild the economic and military dominance in the region to the Soviet style. Kosachev said that Russia's influence on political processes in these countries should be used to build truly democratic states.
It is important to note that Russia has traditionally considered the region a strategic buffer against external threats, and many strategic interests compel Russia to keep Central Asia as its sphere of influence.
The main aims and interests of Moscow:
1. to help transform the Central Asian republics (CARs) in a politically and economically viable state, conducting a friendly Russia policy.
2. Strengthen the role of Russia in the system of intergovernmental political and economic relations.
3. Expand and formalize the integration of CIS countries.
4. Ensure the economic interests of Russia in the region.
5. Save Russia's control over regional energy resources, in addition to ways of transporting Caspian oil to be beneficial for Russia.
6. Confront the threats of religious extremism, helping to prevent drug trafficking and weapons smuggling.
7. Ensure environmental security in Central Asia, in particular paying attention to the environmental disaster of the Aral and Caspian Seas.
8. Protect the rights of Russian living in the region.
Protecting economic interests of Russia is a one of the major goals of the Moscow policy in the CARs. To protect its interests, Russia retains tight control over countries that are considered most important, for example, in Kazakhstan. For Russia, Kazakhstan is politically and economically important state. Here are the Soviet military and industrial facilities, including the Baikonur and testing ground for nuclear weapons.
Kazakhstan - the second after Russia's largest oil producer in the former Soviet Union. Control over its energy resources and means of transportation gives Russia the most important strategic and economic leverage. Russia also has huge companies that depend on imports of cotton from Uzbekistan. In general, the economic sector, there is a huge number of links between Russia and the CARs.
Russia has vital interests in oil and gas sector in Central Asia. The region has huge reserves, and Moscow has here its economic benefits. At the same time, he plays a strategic role in ensuring Russia's control over the production and transportation of oil and gas in the near abroad. Moreover, Russia seeks to avoid economic isolation by building new pipelines on its territory. Activities of Russian oil companies intensified in Kazakhstan, which already started the struggle for control over oil exports. To a lesser extent this is true also in respect of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Russian political analysts tend to consider the status of their country in Central Asia, unchanged, which prefers a gradual transformation, making the choice between rapid transitions to democracy and maintaining stability. They prefer a gradual process of transformation attempts to impose Western democratic models, are alien to these states.
Alarmed by growing U.S. and Chinese influence in the region, Russia, given its strategic interests, seeks to expand, consolidate and further strengthen its relations with the CARs. Under President Putin, Russia has sought to take strong positions in the region, with an emphasis on strengthening cooperation in energy and military spheres; evidenced by a number of bilateral and multilateral agreements recently concluded by Russia.
After refusing to help U.S. President Islam Karimov for his human rights abuses by the Russian government seized the opportunity to formalize economic and military agreements with Uzbekistan, which will strengthen its position not only in Uzbekistan but throughout Central Asia. Under the agreement, the two countries will develop a large-scale security system, which includes the Ministry of Defense, Foreign Affairs and Interior, as well as the Security Council. Stated objectives of partnership are the fight against terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, drug trafficking and organized crime.
This was followed by a breakthrough in relations with Tajikistan. The recent bilateral agreement concerns the establishment of Russian military bases and border cooperation, under which Russia would help Tajikistan in the development of its border structures and provide military assistance. In addition, the Russian Security Council will establish a working group to coordinate partnerships and assistance to Tajikistan for border protection. At the signing ceremony in Dushanbe, Putin stressed that Russia's military presence in Tajikistan, Russian investment and guarantee stability in the region.
Another direction of Russian strategy was a formal accession of Russia to Central Asian Cooperation Organization (CACO) October 18, 2004. CACO was established in 1994 as an economic organization, is now transformed into a regional structure, the agenda of which includes the problem of politics, economy and combating terrorism. This step is regarded by many as a tool to deter the American and Chinese move into the region. (Zhumali, 2006)
As mentioned earlier, Russia has a broad economic and political ties with Kazakhstan, has renewed the lease agreement Baikonur space center for 50 years.1 It is negotiating the export of Kazakh gas to Europe via Gazprom. Russia established a strong military and economic ties with Kazakhstan, opened a military base in Kant.
In addition to economic and military bilateral relations, Russia is strengthening its position through the Collective Security Treaty (CST) transformed into the Organization of Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which makes Russia a key player in this structure and it is seeking to involve CARs in military cooperation without Chinese participation, particularly trying to decrease influence of China. Russia strengthened ties with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), to contain Chinese influence. As part of strengthening security cooperation, Russia promised to hold in Tajikistan, the biggest military exercises of the CSTO in first half 2005.
On the energy front, despite the efforts the U.S. and China moves to control the routes of transportation, Russia has an advantage. Many Central Asian pipelines go through Russian territory. Currently, Russia accounted for almost 15% oil shipped in the U.S. According to Russian Minister for Economic Development and Trade Herman Gref, Russia can not compete with the Arab states in supplying oil to the U.S. market.
The approach of Russia to increase its influence in the CAR is concentrated around the fundamental principles. Territorial dominance in the CIS no longer plays a significant role in Russia's strategy. Moscow seeks to use stability as a basic principle of foreign policy, in which Russian interests are best served to use economic and military levers of influence. Factor stability can convince the ethnic Russian to remain in the region, rather than to immigrate to Russia. Russian Diaspora in Central Asia is considered as an important asset in attempts to tie the regional economy to the Russian.
Despite the relatively good relations with the U.S., Russia is suspicious of long-term consequences of U.S. presence and influence throughout the region. She did not want the region served the interests of the West. The military and economic ties, including energy, are important for national security interests of Russia. This is reflected in the statement of Russian General Valery Manilov as saying that "if in Washington try to establish a permanent military base in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, in formulating a common political strategy of the Kremlin's new situation will be considered in the context of an integrated system." But this does not mean that Russia wants confrontation with the United States. Interestingly, in recent years Russia has tightened its approach to China. In October 2004 meeting of the SCO vetoed the proposal by China to establish a free trade area, approved other members of the organization. It seems that Russia is concerned about the growing military and economic influence of Beijing, which could harm its interests, given the growing economic power of China. (Vincen, 2004)
Protecting the interests of Russia in the field of economy and security in its area of influence is one of the long-term goals of the Russian Federation. In terms of bilateral and multilateral relations of its recent efforts appear to reassert it, and use it as a tool for the formation of a regional strategy. It is also important to prevent the usurpation of strategic space of the Central Asian players such as China and the U.S. In this context, the efforts of Russia should be seen as an attempt to maintain a strategic position in the region, which it considers its buffer zone. This is achieved by strengthening the bilateral relations on the principle "stability" rather than "democracy."
that led to the disintegration of the Soviet Union without a doubt
off a firestorm of enthusiasm in the U.S., but at the same time,
caught by surprise. Neither the White House nor the State Department
failed to adequately assess and react to new trends. Former inertia
prevailed; the US after the Soviet Union collapse chose the
fence.Exceptions to the rules were really that efforts to dismantle
weapons of mass destruction inherited from the USSR. In Washington,
the threat seriously concerned with the fourth power of nuclear
capabilities of Kazakhstan, in consequence of what was developed for
the Nunn-Lugar program, the U.S. Congress allocated respectable
amount of money.2
On the doctrinal level of U.S. policy in 1991-1994 can be summarized as follows: we will not be fixed in the region, but will not allow others to do so. The "doctrine Talbott" (Strobe Talbott, the U.S. President's Advisor for Russia and CIS countries, Deputy Secretary of State) were as follows: "Do not allow to return to Russia, to stop escalation of Islamic radicalism and fundamentalism; complete nuclear disarmament in Kazakhstan and to control the spread of weapons of mass destruction, lay the foundations for the future control of Caspian oil and stabilize the region by influencing the local government.» 3 Step by step the degree of direct involvement in affairs of Central Asian states have been escalated, which was reinforced by the military-political, economic, trade and investment components of the interaction.Since filing the U.S. steadily growing list of overseas companies in the region, particularly in the energy field, for the purpose of fitting the local republics to Western standards and generally bespeaking their sympathies run a range of assistance programs. Their total volume of 1995 was: 523 Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic-306 Tajikistan-152, Turkmenistan-140, Uzbekistan, 99 million dollars. Since 1997, soldiers and officers of the U.S. Army took part in the exercises Central Asia peacekeeping battalion in the units Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. In the field of geopolitics, the U.S. priority was to ensure the maximum distance itself from Russia conduct two largest republics of the region, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Subsequently, after 9/11 events there was rejection of “Talbott doctrine” in the US foreign policy.
Its essence recall amounted to this: America is not going to put up a flag in the region, will not allow anyone else to do it. U.S. suit this situation, in which Central Asia would remain as if no man's land. Now in fact the U.S. got used to the image of "security sheriff". Before the terrorists attack in 9/11 Washington had not interested in Central Asia because of first of all its being distant and has been on the other side of the moon. After immediate collapse of the Soviet Union the US conceptualized the Central Asia as an unstable, undemocratic landlocked, poor, peripheral, fearful, defenseless part with the Islam religion which could be perceived as a real threat. However, after terrorist attack in 9/11, the Central Asia region became of a crucial importance; in particular the threat caused by the Afghanistan should required American military presence in Central Asian states, namely Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. (Chi-Lin Yang, 2008)
Applications of the Pentagon, in the prospects of the Kyrgyz Manas
airport could be transformed into a springboard for long-term
military presence of the US in the region. Similar calculations were
connected with the Tajik "Kulyab", which could be confirmed
impressive American investment. Modernization of each of the airbases
cost almost 200-250 million dollars. With regard to Uzbek Khanabad,
which is leased for 25 years, in favor of the choice is appropriate
to quote Brzezinski “Uzbekistan is a major obstacle to the
resumption of Russian control over the region”.The most populous
country in Central Asia became a favorite of American foreign policy
in a region. (Brzezinski, 1999)
Thus, since 1991, the American strategy in the region can be classified: the first half of 1990's nuclear disarmament, democratization, since 1995, the Caspian resources, and since 2001, the fight against international terrorism and strategic consolidation in the region.
the U.S., has so far been in their position in relation to Central
Asia intertwined as pragmatic policy and the specific
military-strategic interests, and certain ideological motives. On the
one hand, the U.S., apparently, have not abandoned the concept of
"color revolutions" and will continue the political line of
changing post-Soviet regimes, especially those who are not inclined
to compromise and to actively oppose the U.S. presence in the region.
the other hand, it is clear that the U.S. is embarking on economic
reintegration of the region under its auspices. And
this direction is the new regional geopolitical project of the United
States. Speech on the proposed director of the Institute of Central
Asia and Caucasus F. Starr, the summer of 2005 a new concept in the
region "Great Central Asia" , which was later with the
participation of U.S. State Department was transformed into the
concept of "Big South Asia;.(Starr F., 2005)
The essence and the one and the other concept is to tie into a single military-strategic and geopolitical whole of Central Asia and Afghanistan, and then the Big Central Asia "with the so-called" Great Middle East ", which in future should, in apparently controlled by the West. Another project goal is the separation of this expanded region and the output from the influence of other great powers - Russia and China. The third objective - to lead Afghanistan out of the destabilizing influence of neighbors like Pakistan and Iran, and bind this country to a more stable region of Central Asia. In the case of the project to the United States will be able to tear off Central Asia from the Eurasian space, a natural part of it is, and thus isolating the region from Russia and the CIS as a whole, as well as to construct a cordon between the region and China. Merger of Central Asia into a single vessel with the archaic Afghanistan can change the European vector of development in the Central Asia and Kazakhstan that is to interrupt the process of modernization, which is the very least goes intermittently for many decades. In other words, the project "Big South Asia," aims to create the "southern" the energy and transport corridor linking Central Asia with South Asia, resulting in "locked" in Central Asia will be able to get another outlet to world markets. In this regard, this project is similar to "western" energy and transport corridor passing through the states of the Caucasus and linking Central Asia and the Caucasus to Turkey and Europe.
The main reason that prompted the State Department to propose a new concept, it seems, are the geopolitical changes in Central Asia, which led to the weakening of the U.S. in this region. Realizing that they not only lose the geopolitical game in Russia and China, but their actions in Afghanistan skeptical European allies, the U.S. has decided to offer something that would help them solve a three-pronged challenge:
attract additional resources to address the problems of Afghanistan;
direct the flow of hydrocarbons of the Caspian Sea to the south, bypassing Russia and China;
to obtain regional support India and Pakistan.
In addition, after the economic innovation, which involves the implementation of the concept of "Great South Asia," he could put the task of implementation in the region of U.S. democratic values and in case of refusal from them, under the guise of protecting American economic interests in the region have for the Central Asian political, economic and military pressure.
The fact that the US are preoccupied with these problems, no doubt. In any case, senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation Ariel Cohen writes about this with complete frankness. Here are his recommendations to the Council of National Security and U.S. Department of State Policy in the Central Asian region :
(1) continue to encourage the governments of India, China and Pakistan to create an alternative to Russia's transit monopoly, creating new transit routes (pipelines, shipping lines and railways) to the west, and in some cases, to the east and south;
(2) to encourage multinational corporations to diversify transit routes of energy transit to reduce the risk that the common interest of the U.S., EU and China;
(3) to develop closer ties with Central Asian States, drawing their attention to the mutual profit from Western investment, military presence and security cooperation, and above all: to assist in the implementation of economic and legislative reforms to attract and protect foreign investors and promoting economic growth;
(4) to develop closer relations in the military, security, combating terrorism and in law enforcement, strengthening developing institutions of democracy and civil society through programs administered by National Endowment of Democracy and non-governmental organizations;
(5) a cautious and thoughtful approach to the states, whose leaders are not inclined to cooperate with the United States, particularly Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, while above all: to emphasize the common interests in security, particularly in combating Islamist terrorism, and promote military cooperation there where there is American interests.
initial period of entry, and indeed, for the return of China to the
Central Asia can be dated in the interval 1992-1995. Opening of the
"bamboo curtain" from the East was accompanied by a stream
of shuttle traders, bringing consumer goods from China. And already
in their footsteps came senior officials and representatives of big
business. Then the official Beijing emphasized two levels: political,
designed to quietus and convince Central Asian states of good
intentions in China's foreign policy, and to dispel uncertainties of
aggressiveness or plans to take the seat of a "guardian" of
young republics. This
would be a great help in achieving the objectives long-term plan.
aimed on the one hand at winning a promising market for their
products, on the other, to the extent possible, to redirect the local
economy on the Chinese direction. It is necessary to pay tribute to
the realism and sagacity of the Chinese strategy. The calculations
were quick to justify themselves after a few years. It was possible
to consolidate a climate of trust and create the conditions for a
peaceful settlement of border disputes with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan
and Tajikistan, to give impetus to trade, economic and cultural
cooperation. By 1995, there has been differentiated approach to
Beijing's regional neighbors. ( Zhumali,2006).First
places took Astana and Bishkek. Less intensely moving case with other
partners, this had its own reasons. Tashkent isolated in itself,
being guided in its policy towards the West, namely towards US, which
was may be provoked by the binding and lack of common borders with
was experiencing an acute crisis in domestic policy after the Tajik
war, which was seasoned by Afghan proximity factor. In these
circumstances, the priorities of Dushanbe were directed exclusively
on the Kremlin. In
addition to the vital economic power, such a choice is motivated by
Russia's 201 divisions, which covered the Tajik-Afghan border.4
Turkmenistan on its foreign policy rested on Russia, however all the
republics of Central Asia, united by a desire to establish good
neighborly relations with China. Blessed with a charge given to
political level, it positively influenced the entire spectrum of
cooperation, including the decision to problematic situations. Focus
was primarily on the border issue and the issue of Transboundary
Rivers. Meanwhile, since 1998 at the forefront of cooperation between
China and Central Asia, former have been put forward the energy
aspect, when it was confirmed detection of huge reserves on the
Caspian shelf. (Swanstrom
The energy resources of Central Asia are of particular significance for China. Of course, in the foreseeable future, Beijing has no plans to alter the main routes of oil supply in the country. Nevertheless, the leadership of China has aimed to diversify its supplies, transportation modes and options for the purchase of hydrocarbons. This is due to the fact that the major energy suppliers in China are state of the politically unstable region, as well as that from 70 to 80% of oil supplies to China passes through the Malacca strait, controlled by the U.S. Navy. Transportation from Central Asian countries is relatively safe, short and carried the onshore pipelines. Moreover, in the longer term, China has the opportunity to expand its Central Asian land route to northern Iran and beyond to the Middle East. 5
In this regard, China is actively developing market hydrocarbon Central Asian region. In 2007, the Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC) has become the second largest controlled oil production in Kazakhstan. In general, the amount of oil controlled by Chinese companies in Kazakhstan amount to 20 million tones, of which the actual percentage of Chinese is not bound to supply to other areas, is 13 million tons. The growth of oil transportation through the Atasu-Alashankou in 2007 was 122% (4,8 million tons). The main source of raw material supply in the pipeline is Kumkol, which developed the Kazakh-Chinese joint venture PetroKazakhstan Kumkol Resources, supplies from other fields involving the Chinese company is currently impossible because of poor transport infrastructure. (Petroyse, 2009)
In this area a key partner of China in Central Asia, is a Kazakhstan, but today China is actively searching for forms of cooperation with Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan for gas as well as with Kyrgyzstan in the field of hydropower. So now it has worked out several major projects as: Pipeline from Turkmenistan to China. After the death of Turkmenbashi Niyazov in the success of this project have some concerns, especially given the vigorous action of the Russian "Gazprom" in Turkmenistan. However, in late July 2007 Berdymukhammedov visited Beijing on his first visit and, together with Hu Jintao signed between the State Agency for Hydrocarbon Resources of Turkmenistan and CNPC production sharing agreement on gas field Bagtyyarlyk (total estimated resources are estimated at 1.3 trillion. cub. m) on the right bank of Amu Darya, which will be a source of raw materials for the construction of the pipeline. In addition, CNPC signed an agreement with Turkmengaz 30-year contract to supply 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually, starting in 2009 when it issued the Beijing Ashgabat soft loan, which will go to the purchase of Chinese drilling rigs.6
Also, China and Turkmenistan have agreed to conduct joint work on the exploration and development for the smooth supply of raw materials of this pipeline.
In August 2007, during his state visit to Kazakhstan President Hu Jintao signed an agreement to build a gas pipeline from Kazakhstan - China. It will be implemented in two phases. The first phase is planned to extend the pipeline from Turkmenistan to China, he will pass through Shymkent to Khorgos, and will have a capacity of 40 billion cubic meters per year. The second phase is planned to construct a gas pipeline Beyneu-Bozoi-Kyzylorda-Shymkent (1480 km, capacity - 10 billion cubic meters), which provide an opportunity to feed into the main trunk gas produced offshore in Aktobe region or Kumkol group of fields. ( Jackson, 2009)
China's apparent desire is to become a leader in the CAR. Beijing
virtually launched its essentially active-aggressive policies
designed to further penetration in the region. The proposed model of
China's economic development, looks attractive because it is enabled
China even amid the global financial crisis has considerably
strengthened its economy. This
way of development, in our view, can attract attention of the
leadership of Central Asia. After all, it allows developing its
national economy at an accelerated pace, which will undoubtedly
affect the growth of welfare. On
the other hand, he remains in the hands of local elites of
authoritarian rule and not compelling them to immediate
implementation of the reforms that they are satisfied. In this
connection one can not rule out soon spread in CAR is not only
pro-Chinese sentiments, but also the emergence of pro-Chinese lobby.
In the medium term implementation of the new Chinese strategy will only increase. Beijing intends, apparently, to use for this, not only bilateral relations but also the framework and the possibility of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). (Siroezhkin, 2001)
One can also assume that in the future Beijing would seek to oust from the region other power centers, and gradually identified strategic objectives. Currently, there is already a profound transformation of China's foreign policy strategy, which likely will detail and step by step, to be implemented. Most likely, this strategy will become a multi-level nature.
For successful implementation of its policy on Central Asia towards the Chinese leadership at one time acted as one of the initiators of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, whose work focuses primarily on pre-emption "uncertainty factor" in Central Asia and, of course, to strengthen its western borders. Given that "uncertainty" covers different areas of activity, the SCO is transformed into "multi" interstate merger, although security issues today have a special place in its activities. Moreover, China being one oа the profounder of this organization, now is trying to transform it from political one to the economic with future creation of free market zone. But this idea was not supported by the Asian states, which sights such kind of intentions as a real threat to be absorbed by the giant Chinese increasing economics. Central Asian states, particularly Kazakhstan in the framework of the SCO will have more risks and threats rather than benefits, first of all because of disproportion within organization-huge giants in the face of China and Russia and less developed CAR. It is a risk for CARs to be a sort of supplier of natural resources for China and a challenge to be dependant economically from it.7 Nevertheless, China’s leadership has aimed to diversify its supplies and options for the purchase of hydrocarbons. Kazakhstan, which is neighboring with China has a risk to become a raw material appendage for the last.
Another important component of Beijing's new strategy in the CAR is called Chinese "investment" ideological character. It is difficult to say how they will take root in Central Asia, predominantly Muslim nations, but this factor should objectively consider and evaluate.
Beijing will strive to be more profitable, possibly dominant position in Central Asia, gradually displacing the region of other players, in particular Russia, which also defines this region as domain of its national interests and the US, which also trying to imbed it interests, spreading democracy. In general, China's policy toward Central Asia is inherently long-term strategic and multi-pronged. The role of Beijing in the region will naturally increase.
But interest in the CAR, in addition to China, as has been said, often "traditional country influence" and power centers. In modern conditions, when the fore the issue of energy security, coupled with the gradual development of non-renewable hydrocarbon resources and the lack of sufficient alternative energy sources, the positions of each player in the region will depend on the establishment of control over fuel and energy resources and their means of transportation . China’s foreign policy towards CARs can be summarized as a achievement of strong economic position, ensuring a reliable energy supplies for Chinese economics, security in border areas (especially Xingjian region), the maintenance of stability in the region, to ensure friendly relations withcountries in the region to China, preventing contact with the CAR under the control of states hostile to China, and the establishment of military alliances directed against it.
Asia is quite a long time was presented no interest to
which was taken by "integration" of Eastern Europe in its
can explain such a keen interest now?
It is known that EU dependence on energy resources, a threefold increase in their prices and gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine have led to his attention that the EU has concentrated on finding new ways to provide alternative energy sources. Lack of energy has led to this market from the sphere of private business interests moved into the sphere of public interest and public policy of the EU.
That is why Brussels was chosen as the nomination of a series of policy initiatives in relation to Central Asia. These initiatives combine the motives of economic and political nature. But, as recent events show(Kazakhstan's presidency in 2010 in the OSCE, the EU strategy, the proposed reform of the EU energy system, support for the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline), the economic component outweighs the political.
The EU adopted in June 2007 by the European Council a new strategy towards Central Asia for the period from 2007 to 2013 despite the fact that the strategy is short-term, yet it is a political document. The political sphere - human rights, reforming the political system, are not in first place in the adopted strategy, while energy policy and energy security are the priority. Thus, the economic interests in the region are expressed clearly; the main emphasis is on the extraction and transportation of energy resources.
Such an approach is explained by the fact that Europeans, above all, "frightening" instability and unpredictability of the political processes in the region. In this regard, the EU takes softer stance on the political situation in Central Asian countries. Berlin, as the developer of the Strategy, the stringent requirements and critical statements do not contribute to the democratization process and further reform the political system in Central Asia.
Rather, they believe it is more "push" them to work closely with China, the Islamic world and Russia. Furthermore, a change the course of political development towards authoritarianism and totalitarianism that eventually will expand the zone of instability. Therefore, according to the position, above all, the German Government, it is better to support those small, but the hopefuls to reform, pulses, while avoiding harsh statements. 8
Approval for the OSCE chairmanship in 2010, Kazakhstan is also further proof that the value aspect of EU foreign policy at present is not dominant. As we know, energy remains one of the biggest challenges for Europe, so their own requirements relating to energy security, proved decisive for the EU in shaping foreign policy.
In this regard, the OSCE chairmanship can be considered as shown by the loyalty of Kazakhstan to energy projects, which lobbied or will lobby the West in the future. However, one should not exclude that an agreement might be reached in exchange for the waiver Kazakhstan's support of Russia's position in questions of reforming the OSCE. The imbalance in the ratio of political and economic components of foreign policy in Brussels is obvious. The EU is well aware that energy export routes may be more effective levers of influence in the region, rather than political. EU will have to compete at a fairly intense energy markets with large countries like USA, Russia, and India, and China. Therefore, the tactics of the EU in Central Asia in the energy sector would include: 1. Active participation in the process of production of the Caspian Sea, 2. the use of existing pipelines 3. Participation in the construction of new alternative oil and gas pipelines. In particular, the European Union in early December approved the construction of the Trans-Caspian pipeline bypassing Russia and Iran, an alternative to the Caspian Sea, initiated by Russia.
According to representatives of the EU, "trans-Caspian pipeline is economically rational. It is designed to transport gas from Central Asia under the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan and from there to Georgia and Turkey, and then in the European Union. «The pipeline is scheduled for completion by 2010 ( Matveeva A. 2006)
This pipeline, if implemented, coupled with initiatives to reform the energy system in Europe is able to resolve one of the important strategic task - to reduce dependence on Russia, in particular, the goal is not only to build a pipeline bypassing Russia and Iran but also to restrict access Gazprom to European markets. It is possible that these measures are also aimed at preventing the recurrence of the situation with Russia - to limit the possibility of monopolization of the gas market by one entity.
Specifically, the proposed package of legislative initiatives aimed at changing the role and influence of the monopoly gas companies. This is expected to be achieved by prohibiting the companies that produce resources, hold any shares in the ownership of gas transmission companies in Europe. Manufacturing companies can remain co-owners of transmission infrastructure, but transfer the management of independent operators.
Thus, proposing to divide production, transportation and marketing, the EU is trying to reduce the influence of monopolies, increase competition and lower prices for consumers, as well as close any investment in gas transportation infrastructure in the EU. And, most likely, the EU is trying to narrow the possibilities of expanding the presence of Gazprom into European markets, decreasing, thus, his political influence.9
Based on the fact that the energy issue is an important competitive field, any statement is a major market player in it big changes. Therefore, the EU statement on the feasibility of building the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, which is part of the Eurasian energy corridor, the U.S. initiated and proposed by Brussels reforms in this area are aimed at making changes to the evolving situation.
Indeed, from registration to the project must address a number of problems, not including financial - the unresolved status of the Caspian Sea pipeline route passes through many states, it is a disputed oil fields, population density in the pipelines.
Considerable importance has shown by the activity of other major players - China in Central Asia, as well as cooperation in Central Asia with China within the SCO. However, the EU considers the U.S. mistakes in building relations with the republics of Central Asia. In particular, we offer flexible - both meetings at the regional level, countries in the EU-Central Asia, and bilateral negotiations format. In addition, the EU aims to "equal" to cooperate with all the republics, given the specificity of each republic. Such an approach to building relations with the republics - trade-offs - the interests and needs of partners in solving their own problems, is more efficient than the choice of a republic, as "chief." 10
Thus, one can note that on the EU agenda again had the problem of energy security. In this connection, the EU is trying to solve, problems encountered, both by finding alternative ways of ensuring energy supplies and protecting their market, producing a common energy policy. In this context, Central Asia serves the object of attention in Europe, which can serve as a solution strategically important tasks.
After the end era of the USSR and the collapse of the bipolar system of international relations have changed geopolitical realities of present day. On the Eurasian continent was formed a number of new independent states, to whom faced the task of constructing its international relations.
For the Central Asian countries feature was that they started this task, relying on the Russian Federation, as initially it was Moscow's position was dominating in the region. However, this does not dispel them with responsibility for shaping its own foreign policy. The Central Asian States were to independently develop and make foreign policy decisions, the nature of which depended on many factors. This is the geographical position of the state, and the presence of military and economic power, cultural, historical traditions, and this type of political system and social structure of society, the individual characteristics of political leaders - in short, the whole complex geopolitical factors peculiar to a particular State and historical period.
The Central Asia became the place of interest confrontation among the key actor in the world community in the face of Russia, the US, China and European Union, where each of these states pursuing its own vital interests. First of all, main goals are to return the former Soviet Asian republics in Russian geopolitclaspace, weaken the invasion offoreign non-Russian capital in the region’s economy. Russian goals in this region are viewed as displacement of US influence and non-admission of Chinese domination.
carries out long-term program for economic growth and modernization
of the country by mid-XXI, consistently pursues the development of
good neighborly relations with all countries with which it borders,
including with Central Asian. Chinese main objectives in the Central
Asian region are security and economic activity. The following
threats to Chinese national security are Uighur separatism in China,
religious extremism and terrorism both domestically and in the region
in general, drug trafficking, and American military presence in
Separate block is the question the presence of American military bases in Central Asia; pose a serious problem for China's geostrategic and geopolitical terms. Moreover, the prospect of further long-term presence in no way satisfied with the official Beijing. The government of China will use any methods to persuade the leaders of Central Asian countries to change the size and shape of the American military presence within their countries and the region as a whole. China is also pursuing a long-term regional economic objective. China currently ranked the third place in the world in terms of energy consumption after the US and Japan.
Moreover, the projected ten years later the number of consumed energy, China will overtake Japan. In these circumstances, the role of Central Asia is increasing dramatically.
The main purposes of the US in the Central Asia are energy interests (development projects in the Caspian Sea, the construction of alternative pipelines, ensuring stability of supply of hydrocarbons to world markets), containment of Russia’s desire to restore the empire (In this context support of sovereignty in the region, regional integration, links with outside world, the implementation of international projects. preventing the expansion of China in the region (transition of excessive economic power in the political, an anti-western Beijing's policies in Central Asia, the establishment of cooperation with Russia Sino-Russian dictatorship in the region);human rights (support for democratic change, the introduction of Western normative values and etc.);the struggle against Islamic extremism and international terrorism (continued anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan, deterring Iran and its ambition in the region, combating drug trafficking, support for secular institutions in the region).
European huge interest in CA region is viewed in natural resources (energy), primarily in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, the transit entry opportunity in the Asian Pacific Region and the strengthening of EU security.
Great Game" between the centers of geopolitical power for influence in Central Asia has increased. Moreover, the positions of its members have become tougher. And in some major geopolitical actors - Russia, China and the U.S. - has fundamentally changed its approach to the region as a whole and for individual States that are, in particular, within its territory. Now it's not only competition for natural resources but also for political influence. Confrontation in the triangle of the United States - Russia - China continues to grow. How hard can it be, is difficult to predict, but it is clear that the lack of consensus on these three major geopolitical players in a region will always give rise to a lot of problems.
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1 Zhumali R. (2006). Geopolitics of Central Asia
2 Oliker O., Shlapak A (2003). U.S. Interests in Central Asia : Policy Priorities and Military Roles
3 Независимый обозреватель Стран Содружества.02.06.2004
4 Swanstrom N. (2010) China and Greater Central Asia: Economic Opportunities and Security Concerns
5 S.(2009). Central Asia's growing partnership with China
6 Burles M (1999).Chinese policy towards Russia and Central Asian republics”
7 Laumulin M. (2006). SCO as “Geopolitical bluff”. A view from Astana
8 Council of the European Union (2007), The EU and Central Asia: Strategy for a New Partnership, Document 10113/07, Brussels, 31 May (endorsed by the EU Council Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council, 21-22 June 2007).
9 Matveeva A.(2006).EU stakes in Central Asia
10 Norling N (2008). EU Central Asian policy
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